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|Labels||Geffen Records (1998–2001)
Koch Records (2007–present)
|Associated acts||Stimulator (1998–2001)
The Cult (2001–2002)
Camp Freddy (2002–present)
Circus Diablo (2006–present) Billy Idol (2010–present)
Billy Morrison is an English guitarist, singer and actor who plays guitar with Billy Idol and performs with the Los Angeles-based cover band Royal Machines (and previously with Camp Freddy). Morrison previously fronted the hard rock act Circus Diablo and has been a member of The Cult, Stimulator, Doheny and Into a Circle.
Morrison was born in the UK and is an only child. He was a member of the indie rock band Into a Circle; however, his consistent abuse of drugs led to a long period of inactivity until he cleaned up and formed Stimulator in 1995.
Stimulator signed to Geffen Records and recorded an album that was never released. However, in 2008, Morison released the album under his own name: "when I read about Tunecore, and when the business started to lend itself to home releases – the indie, DIY approach – I wanted to finally release it. All the hard copies sold out and it still does good business on iTunes. I would call that a success."
In 2001, at the request of Billy Duffy, Morrison joined The Cult as the band's new touring bass player. Although Morrison is primarily a rhythm guitar player, the idea of playing bass for such a seminal rock band was appealing to him. The Cult toured for over a year, visiting the UK and Japan, and partaking in an extensive US tour with Aerosmith.
During the following period of inactivity for The Cult, Morrison joined forces with Pitchshifter front man J.S. Clayden and formed Doheny. However, no material from the band has surfaced. In 2009, Morrison stated that the band "wrote some songs together, had a laugh and put a line-up together. But I think Doheny suffered from being over-rehearsed and under-funded! We played every note perfectly, and had no money to get out on the road and get out of L.A. That was it. But some great songs came out of those years. We should release them." At around this time, Morrison joined with Dave Navarro, Matt Sorum, Donovan Leitch and Scott Ford to form Camp Freddy. Alongside his performance duties in the band, Morrison also hosted a radio show, Camp Freddy Radio, on Los Angeles-based station Indie 103.1 for three years (with Dave Navarro and Donovan Leitch).
In 2006, Morrison formed Circus Diablo, with fellow Cult guitarist Billy Duffy and former Fuel frontman Brett Scallions, on bass guitar. The line-up was completed by former The Almighty frontman Ricky Warwick and Slunt drummer Charles Ruggiero. The band subsequently added former Korn guitarist Rob Patterson and singer-songwriter Patrick Cornell to their line-up. The album was released in July 2007 and the first single, "Loaded", reached number 29 on the Active Rock Chart. The video for the song was, for a period of time, the most viewed music video on YouTube with over 1,000,000 hits.
Morrison began acting in 2005 and delivered his first on-screen role in the independent movie Tripping Forward as drug dealer Sweaty Steve. Since then, he has made four more independent films: Evilution, Basement Jack, "The Perfect Age Of Rock N Roll" and "K-11" (directed by Jules Stewart). More film work is scheduled for Morrison later in 2014.
In March 2009, Morrison stated:
I have a couple of exciting things happening later in the year that will become apparent. So I intend to release some music around those things – either another Diablo album or some solo stuff, whatever. So writing and recording is on the menu for me. I also hope to close a couple of things in the TV and film worlds that I have been concentrating on – and, again, once things are real, I’ll dish the details. Camp Freddy has some shows lined up which we’ll announce nearer the time, and the band also has plans for some “extra curricular activities.” So I suppose you could say that 2009 holds a lot of diverse possibilities for me.
I Am Ozzy (2009)
Gibson Billy Morrison Signature Les Paul Guitar (2011)
The Billy Morrison Gibson Les Paul signature model guitar was released in January 2011 at the NAMM Show. The guitar was designed by Morrison and is one of the few Les Paul guitars to feature a white headstock. Morrison also contributes to the Gibson website with a video blog.
Joining Billy Idol (2010)
In March 2010, Morrison joined Billy Idol's band, stating:
|“||I am happy to finally be able to tell you that I will be touring in 2010 with Billy Idol. I joined the line up at the beginning of the year and have been deep in rehearsals for a few weeks now. The twin guitars of Steve Stevens and myself sound amazing on the Idol material and I am excited to get out there and start playing shows. My friend Jeremy Colson is behind the kit and the astute among you will remember that I have worked with Jeremy before in Circus Diablo.||”|
As well as spending most of 2010 on the road with Billy Idol, including shows in Russia, Greece, Switzerland, Germany, England and most of Eastern Europe, Morrison landed a guest-starring role in the Showtime television series Californication, which aired on 11 February 2011. The episode was entitled "Lawyers, Guns and Money" and Morrison plays a tattooist. Morrison is scheduled to tour with Billy Idol again in the summer and winter of 2014. He has developed a strong writing partnership with longtime Idol co-writer Steve Stevens, and the two guitarists continue to write together. He has co-written the majority of the new Billy Idol album with Stevens and Idol which will be released as Kings & Queens of the Underground in October 2014.
Royal Machines (2014)
In January 2014, Camp Freddy closed its doors after ten years and underwent a transformation in name and line-up – the new band, Royal Machines, was formed with drummer Josh Freese of Devo, The Vandals and A Perfect Circle, and Sugar Ray frontman Mark McGrath joining Morrison, Navarro, Chaney and Leitch. Morrison's website stated:
|“||Well – after ten years as Camp Freddy, it was time to move on, re-tool, and do it all over again! We're moving forward with Royal Machines – Myself, Dave Navarro, Donovan Leitch, Josh Freese, Mark McGrath and Chris Chaney – same fun shows, same great guest appearances, and hopefully another ten years of mad, crazy one-of-a-kind shows. We performed three songs at Bitesize TV last weekend and the result of that will be aired soon – yes, I'll post the broadcast details when we have them. But it was great to see some of you lot show up and join in the evening and it was a good feeling to play as Royal Machines for the first time. Obviously all the sites and social media will get up and running as time goes on, but you can follow us ON TWITTER and like our page ON FACEBOOK – the website will be up soon..||”|
- Massacre (2015)
- Len And Co (TBA 2014)
- K-11 (2012)
- The Necropolitan (TBA)
- Californication (2011) – Showtime. Episode "Lawyers, Guns and Money"
- The Heart is a Drum Machine (2009)
- The Perfect Age of Rock 'n' Roll (2009)
- Basement Jack (2008)
- Evilution (2008)
- Tripping Forward (2006)
- I Am Ozzy, Ozzy Osbourne w/ Chris Ayres, Grand Central Publishing, NY, 2009
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Billy Morrison.|
- Official Site
- Camp Freddy Site
- Billy Idol Site
- Royal Machines Site
- Gibson Guitars Site
- Sunset & Vine, Morrison's column on Modern Guitars
- Billy Morrison at the Internet Movie Database
- Billy Morrison on Motorcycles
- Gibson Video Interview
- Guitar International Interview
- Stereokill Interview: March 15th 2009
- Interview on Band Weblogs
- 2004 Interview on Modern Guitars
- Billy Morrison talks to SUBvert magazine about his career