SEPTEMBER 2005 ISSUE

Music is a gift
Interview with Jeremy Morris (Sept 2005)
By Robert Pally


Intro:
Jeremy Morris (47) is not only a very nice guy; he is also very passionate about music and switches easily between Power Pop, Progrock and other styles. Beside that he runs a record label (Jam Recordings) and teaches music. In the interview he talks about the first band he liked that his parents didn't, instruments, god, his teen idol and his dreams and fears.

E.C.: What was your first contact with music?

Jeremy: My Dad, Bill Morris, is a jazz musician. He plays many instruments such as piano, trumpet, sax, vibes, trombone, and many other instruments. So when I was a child I was hearing him make music all the time in our house from the day I was born.

E.C.: Are there other musical people in your family?

Jeremy: My brother is a drummer. There was always lots of music in our home growing up. My Aunt (Audrey Morris) is a fairly well known jazz piano player and singer from Chicago. She was releasing records way back in the 1950's.

E.C.: What made you start music?

Jeremy: My first record was a Beatle album which my Dad bought for me when I was 5 years old. This is when I became very excited about music. I liked this Beatle music more than anything I had ever heard! Then my parents offered to me some piano lessons.

E.C.: What was the first instrument you picked up?

Jeremy: When I was 6 years old I began taking lessons and studying the piano. This was my foundational teaching in music and would be very helpful in the years to come as learned a lot more instruments.

E.C.: How many instruments do you play today?

Jeremy: I play guitars: (classical, 12 string, Lead, electric and acoustic). Keyboards: piano, organ, and synthesizers, also bass, banjo, mandolin, and drums and percussions. These are the main instruments that I play.

E.C.: What is your favourite instrument and why?

Jeremy: My favourite instrument is definitely the guitar. The reason is because you can create so many amazing and varied sounds from it...both electric and acoustic. My second favourite instrument would be the piano.

E.C.: Did your parents encourage you to make music?

Jeremy: Yes, my parents were very encouraging to me. They let me practice with my band in the basement of their home for many years. We made so much noise they couldn't hear the television when we were practicing, but they never really complained. They are great parents.

E.C.: What was the first band you liked that your parents didn't?

Jeremy: Black Sabbath and Alice Cooper. They said that the music was too depressing and negative. As I look back on it today, it's easy for me to see their perspective. But I still like some music from those bands.

E.C.: What was your first favourite song?

Jeremy: "Do you want to know a secret" by The Beatles. But this would soon be replaced by "Eight days a week".

E.C.: What was the first band you played in? What kind of music did they play?

Jeremy: My first band formed in 1973 was called FULL MOON. We played alot of heavy rock with some originals…but also heavy rock like Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Ten Years After, Jethro Tull, Cream, Mott the Hoople, Grand Funk, and Beatles, and Rolling Stones. It was a very good working band and we played alot and made some good money. I still have some unreleased recording sessions of originals from 1973 from this band. They have never been released.

E.C.: Who was your teen idol and why?

Jeremy: It was John Lennon. He was my favourite Beatle because I liked his singing style the most. I felt John sang with more passion and intensity then all the other Beatles. However, I was very disappointed with most of his solo career (with the exception of Imagine).

E.C.: What was the first band you saw live. What memories do you have about this concert?

Jeremy: My first concert was Spirit. They were terrible live because the only original member in 1972 was the drummer. I was very disappointed. It was a fake band without the real members. From there I went on to see in 1973 Chicago, Blue Oyster Cult , King Crimson, Strawbs, and many more bands in following years during the 70's like Yes, Genesis, Kansas, The Pretty Things, Jethro Tull, Peter Frampton, Reo Speedwagon, Doobie Brothers, Montrose, Spooky Tooth, Humble Pie, Seals and Crofts, Boston, Starcastle, Jackson Browne, Crosby and Nash, Marshall Tucker Band, Cheap Trick, Donovan, Eric Carman, Electric Light Orchestra, Rod Stewart, Chase, Grand Funk, , Todd Rundgren and many others.

E.C.: How much has your relation to music changed since you started to now?

Jeremy: I have come full circle and returned to early loves like the Beatles and classical music. I also still enjoy progressive rock, power pop, and even some electronic music. I never care for any rap or disco though.

E.C.: You have a passion for Progrock and Power Pop, two pretty different styles. How did that develop?

Jeremy: The best way I can describe this paradox is that I love both simple music and complex music. When I finished making an album of simple pop music, sometimes I need a refreshing by making a progressive album. This keeps me from getting in a rut and doing the same music all the time.

E.C.: How difficult is it for you to switch from one style to another?

Jeremy: It easy for me to switch styles. As a music teacher, I teach all styles of music.

E.C.: How conscious do you decide what kind of album you are making, Progrock or Power Pop?

Jeremy: Sometimes I just record a bunch of songs and then later decide what type of album it should go on. So I can make several albums all at once.

E.C.: How many solo albums have you released in total? How many are Progrock, how many Power-Pop, and how many other styles?

Jeremy: I have made now over 30 albums. About every other album will shift back and forth from Progrock to Power pop. Also, I make some albums that are like classical instrumentals for piano or guitar.

E.C.: On how many albums have you played with other people?

Jeremy: I think by now I have played on about 40 albums with other people. Some are compilations and some are bands I produced like Raquels Boys.

E.C.: In the last couple of years you have released several albums. How do you manage to do that?

Jeremy: I am usually working on about 5 different albums all at once. So this way I end up releasing alot more music. Once the album is finished it gets released . Also my music appears on alot of different labels like Astral in Spain , Mals in Russia, Musea in France, besides the JAM label here in the USA. So that makes its easier to do. For example, Bullseye records of Canada is planning to release a Jeremy box set next year. It will consist of the power pop music I have recorded from 1975 through 2005.

E.C.: From the business side this is not something one should do. Why do you do it anyway?

Jeremy: Because music is a gift and a very important one to be shared. Without music this world would be a much darker place. It's important that people continue to provide good music for the world to enjoy. I think music should not be done for the money. One must keep it pure and true. Everything can work out if one has faith and believes in what they are doing.

E.C.: How do you finance your albums?

Jeremy: From CD sales, giving music lessons in my home, and performing music.

E.C.: How many copies do you normally press from your albums?

Jeremy: Between 1000 to 5000 copies as an initial pressing. If the CD sells extra well, then I will press more.

E.C.: From what do you live?

Jeremy: Making music. This includes selling CDs, playing concerts, and teaching music lessons.

E.C.: How does a usual day at your home look like?

Jeremy: Teaching some music students, recording some in my home studio, and mailing out packages of CDs which I am selling from the website www.jamrecordings.com

E.C.: How do you manage with a family, a label and your own music?

Jeremy: It keeps me very busy. I usually get up early in the morning and work all day and into the night. Sometimes I don't get enough sleep but I am correcting that problem.

E.C.: How did you find god?

Jeremy: I found God when I was a little boy at age 7. I was watching a movie about Jesus being on the cross and dying for all the peoples sins. At that moment I knew that Jesus was The One for me and I asked him into my heart and to save me. It was a very real spiritual experience for me. I highly recommend it.

E.C.: How much is he the driving force behind what you musically?

Jeremy: He is always there. He is a great power for making good music. I think God is the driving force for all good music. But even the atheist may not know that the spirit of God is making music through him. Great artists don't always realise or know where their power is coming from. It's a gift both to the believer and to the unbeliever as well. I choose to use this gift for good, but not to abuse it.

E.C.: What are your dreams?

Jeremy: To make this world a better place for everyone in any good way that I can. That all would come to know God, Love, Peace and true Happiness! And that we can all happily live forever with him in heaven one day.

E.C.: What are your fears?

Jeremy: Not fulfilling all the I am meant to do while I am here on planet earth. There is much that needs to be done and so very little time. Life is short. I will make the most of this life.