Billy Morrison has, in some ways, been a part of my inspiration for the spirit behind BandWeblogs.com. The idea of reading blogs written by musicians who are so open about their musical and sometimes personal lives is intriguing. To then combine rock music and all the goings on – which is easily accessible via Billy Morrison’s blog along with his video blogs, band updates, swimming with sharks adventures, photos and more, for me is the perfect recipe for getting to know the musician behind the music – without the sometimes biased “middle man”.
Circus Diablo and Camp Freddy are Billy’s current bands – each with a line-up of musicians who most rock fans would be familiar with. Circus Diablo recently released their video for “Loaded” – which at one point landed at #1 music video on YouTube. Their next gig is opening up at the Velvet Revolver and Alice In Chains show on October 26th, 2007 at the Verizon Amphitheater in Irvine, CA.
Billy Morrison has been busy – he’s toured with The Cult, has been acting in movies, playing in bands, songwriting, DJing and of course keeping an active blog and podcast.
He’s now in the hot seat, for an interview with BandWeblogs.com
By: Jenny May
Jenny May: The Circus Diablo “Loaded” video made number one music video on YouTube, which is great to see with a rock band. When will you be filming your next video? Will there be another uncensored version like with “Loaded”?
Billy Morrison: Actually there are some plans right now to finish a solo song that has been around for a while now and do a video for it in conjunction with the movie I just finished, called Basement Jack. And yes, it would be a similar ‘Adult’ and ‘PG’ version scenario. The movie was so much fun, and the director asked if I would do a video for a song that was going to be in the movie. So it just kinda came on to my radar like that. Should be shooting that one soon. Fans of my work in my last band, Doheny, will recognize the song!!
What was it like being on the road for Ozzfest with Circus Diablo? How did it go?
Ozzfest was fantastic fun. The whole ‘free’ thing brought a new element to an already established festival and it was, as always, a family affair. BBQ’s in the parking lot when all the fans had left. Bands getting drunk and partying together. Charles, our drummer, knew EVERYONE on the second stage within a day!! He’s the social animal and we would be hosting poker games outside our bus whenever we didn’t have to leave the venue straight away!! The gigs were great and Diablo was welcomed with open arms everywhere. A great experience. Thanks Sharon and Ozzy for having us be a part of it!!
Was LA the first place that you moved to in the States from England? How did you adjust to your new surroundings?
Yes. Los Angeles has always felt like home to me anyway, and by the time I really moved here for good, I had been coming here for so long that I knew the city like the back of my hand anyway. Since then, of course, I have pretty much been all over the States – I have visited nearly every state now. Alaska may be the only state I haven’t seen yet.
What have been some of your favorite gigs to attend – either in the US or England?
Attending shows is a good pastime if you love the band. If they suck, I can’t stand being at a show!! I’ll leave after three songs even if I dig the band! So its gotta be pretty good for me to stay the whole set. I don’t mean that in an arrogant way, but between attending shows, and playing shows as part of my job, I must have seen thousands of gigs!! So the really special ones are the ones that stand out. Nine Inch Nails in Las Vegas AND Nine Inch Nails at Universal Amphitheater with Janes Addiction opening. The Sex Pistols at Finsbury Park. The Wildhearts in London. Oasis at Wembley Stadium ……my list is long and varied!
My first and one of my best live music experiences was at a Guns N’ Roses concert. Occasionally, Slash will sit in with Camp Freddy. What is the best thing about playing music with Slash?
Slash is a modern day icon of the guitar. Anyone who gets to watch him up close is experiencing a true guitar hero at work. Getting to stand next to him on stage and play with him is kinda like the ultimate guitar jam – its f**ing amazing! I have been lucky enough to jam covers with him, AND participate in a bunch of Guns And Roses songs with him as well. You kinda stress when thats going down cos you REALLY don’t wanna f**k that up when he’s right next to you!! But thinking about it, Slash is SO loud onstage that he wouldn’t hear the mistakes anyway!!
Camp Freddy has had numerous guest musicians sit in with them. Who would you really want to play live music with, as a guest with Camp Freddy that hasn’t yet?
As always (and I get asked this a lot!!), my choices would be Iggy Pop, David Bowie and Madonna.
It’s interesting that both you and your fellow Camp Freddy band-mate Dave Navarro (Director: Broken) are involved in movie projects. Your most recent film, a horror, is Evilution. What was it like on the set?
My most recent film was actually Basement Jack!! But with that said, being on set is like being backstage at a show. LOTS of waiting around, getting ready, doing make up, shooting the shit with all the crew etc. And then suddenly someone shouts “ACTION!!” and you turn yourself into someone else for a short time. Then you’re done and you go back to goofing around and drinking tons of coffee!! The set of Basement Jack was just such a cool place – real family atmosphere and all the actors and the crew were so nice and friendly. I was made to feel right at home from day one.
How many movies have you acted in and what were they? What were the genres?
I have done three feature length movies so far, Tripping Forward (a black comedy), Evilution (horror) and Basement Jack (a slasher/thriller).
Which genre do you prefer to act in?
I am still so new at all this, so I haven’t begun to experience all the genres ……. although I REALLY fancy doing a big blockbuster action film, with lots of stuff blowing up and running around like a kid shooting at shit!
Do you want to continue acting? Direct at some point?
I already have another movie lined up for January, and yes I would LOVE to direct at some point. I just know I have TONS more to learn first, so I just want to continue acting for now, and watching quietly at how movies are actually put together from that side of the camera. Eventually I’ll switch sides and see what kind of a mess I make at actually visualizing one myself!
What are your favorite horror films?
I am a big fan of the new breed of horror movie. The Rob Zombie films (House Of 1000 Corpses, Devils Rejects) – the SAW movies, Hostel…that kind of sick, twisted horror. Also the OG stuff like The Exorcist and The Texas Chainsaw will always excite. The Grudge was also a great movie.
What platforms has your music appeared on (like movies, video games etc.)? Any projects planned at the moment?
I am lucky enough to have had songs on many different platforms. Movies, TV, Radio……not sure about video games. But I do have plans to release a song and video that will tie in with the last movie I just made. The song is called Evergreen and the director of the movie will be directing the video.
How did you get into blogging?
I found it through being a general, all purpose fan of the internet. Dave Navarro has been a great inspiration to me as well. He has been at the cutting edge of web based entertainment for a long while, and is a driving force for me and many others. I find my blog to be an honest and open expression of whatever I want to talk about. No misquoting, no opinion except my own, no misrepresentation. Its a true personal vision and thats the purest form of creativity.
Have you found that having a blog has been helpful for your music career and your fans?
I can see the potential for the Blog to cross over as a marketing and promotional tool. I couldn’t be 100% sure if mine has made a difference as I don’t really look at it in that way. I honestly try to be open and honest about my life, my endeavors and my fears, my successes and my failures, so that others can feel connected if they choose. The reason I write music is to try and connect with other people. The blog is just an extension of that desire to connect.
Do you prefer to blog or podcast?
I actually like both but the power of the written word is very strong. Good descriptive text can often convey WAY more than audio or video. Having said that, my site is full of it all, so I would say its all about balance!
You’re a guitar player (Camp Freddy), bass player (toured with The Cult) and now the frontman/singer in Circus Diablo. Which do you like doing the most and why?
I enjoy every single day that I get to do ANY of the above instead of working in a store or selling tee shirts at Camden Market in London (BOTH of which I have done!). I am blessed to be able to get by and pay the bills by being creative, so quite frankly they all appeal to me! But fronting Circus Diablo has been a very cathartic and enjoyable position. I think that singing, writing lyrics and connecting in that ‘frontman’ capacity has been the most fulfilling.
Do you have any memories that you would like to share from your days when you toured with The Cult?
Touring with The Cult was a great time for me – and playing all those songs that are, quite simply, rock classics was a fantastic experience. I always say that doing the main stage at Reading Festival was a memory that will stay with me, and also the homecoming show at Brixton Academy was a huge one for me too. Shopping in Tokyo with Astbury was an amusing couple of days as well.
Any more tattoos planned? If so, what do you have in mind?
I don’t really plan the tattoos – they just seem to happen. I am sure that more ink is in my future although what and where, I have no idea!! My legs could do with some color so maybe I’ll start expanding around the japanese piece I have on my right leg. Or maybe I just start recoloring all my sleeves!! No idea, but I know that I’ll be sitting in that chair and hearing the familiar buzz soon.
You have an active blog, podcast, video blog, you DJ, write music, perform music, act. What next?!
Well, I cant say too much, but the term ‘writer/producer’ springs to mind. TV and Film are holding a special appeal with me at the moment so energy is being directed there. More Diablo shows as well (at the time of writing this, we are looking forward to opening for Velvet Revolver and Alice In Chains) and a solo song release with huge video attached to the movie I just finished, Basement Jack. And the Camp Freddy record is getting some much needed energy injected into it right now with plans to actually try to finish it!! More parties, more hosting, more more more (as Billy Idol once said!!).
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