Stephen Morris (musician)

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Stephen Morris
Morris performing live with New Order at Mechanics Bay, Auckland, New Zealand, in 2012
Morris performing live with New Order at Mechanics Bay, Auckland, New Zealand, in 2012
Background information
Birth nameStephen Paul David Morris
Born (1957-10-28) 28 October 1957 (age 63)
Macclesfield, Cheshire, England
Genres
Occupation(s)
  • Multi-instrumentalist
  • composer
  • record producer
  • music programmer
  • remixer
Instruments
  • Drums
  • percussion
  • keyboards
  • synthesizer
Years active1977–present
Labels
Associated acts

Stephen Paul David Morris (born 28 October 1957) is an English multi-instrumentalist, composer and record producer who is best known for his work with the rock band New Order and, previously, Joy Division. He also wrote and performed in The Other Two, a band consisting of Morris and his girlfriend and later wife, Gillian Gilbert. Morris also participated in the New Order spin-off band Bad Lieutenant. He is known for his precise drumming that seamlessly weaves with New Order's and Joy Division's drum machine sounds.

Career[edit]

Stephen Paul David Morris was born on 28 October 1957, in Macclesfield, Cheshire, England. His father was a travelling salesman who also put on dances. His uncle was a musician. When Morris told his father he wanted to be a drummer, he replied: "Drummers, Stephen. I’ve never met a sane one yet... They all end up taking morphine and drinking absinthe, rotting their brains. You don’t want to end up like that, do you?"[1] He attended the King's School, Macclesfield,[2] as did Joy Division singer Ian Curtis. After Joy Division (then called Warsaw)[3] tried three other drummers, they eventually recruited Morris, who responded to a wanted ad posted in a local music shop.[4]

Morris is noted for his "machine-like" skills as a drummer, which he credits to krautrock influences.[5] The drummers he named as musical inspiration, were Jaki Liebezeit of Can and Moe Tucker of the Velvet Underground because they "were the ones who kept it simple".[6] He also cited John French a.k.a. Drumbo of Captain Beefheart among his main influences. From 1977, he was interested by the music of Siouxsie and the Banshees because their "drummer Kenny Morris played mostly toms"; "hearing the sessions they'd done on John Peel's show and reading gigs write-ups", [...] inspired him.[6] During Joy Division recording sessions with Martin Hannett, Morris was asked to record his parts one drum at a time so that Hannett could have complete control over the production.[3] He also took an early interest in drum machines,[7] combining them with traditional drumming on many Joy Division and New Order releases.

Although he is primarily a percussionist, Morris also plays keyboards and synthesizer.[3]

Early on, Morris was a contender to become New Order's lead vocalist, and his vocals can be heard on some early live tracks. He also contributed musically to as-yet-unreleased demos by Quando Quango. He played drums for Echo & the Bunnymen on their rendition of the Doors' "Soul Kitchen", which they recorded at Amazon Studios in Liverpool in 1986.[8]

During a hiatus from New Order, Morris and Gilbert formed the side project The Other Two; together they have released two albums as well as various remixes and soundtrack work.[9] In 2007, Morris and Gilbert remixed two tracks for the Nine Inch Nails remix album Year Zero Remixed.

In June 2009, during New Order's second break-up, band members Bernard Sumner and Phil Cunningham, along with Jake Evans, formed a new band called Bad Lieutenant. Morris recorded drums on several songs with the band,[4] and joined their line-up for live gigs. Bad Lieutenant released their debut album Never Cry Another Tear in 2009 and toured from October 2009 to April 2010. They began work on a second album, but are presently on hiatus.

New Order reformed with a new line-up in September 2011, and Morris returned to playing with New Order.

In 2019 the book Record Play Pause, the first volume of his Confessions of a Post-Punk Percussionist, was published by Constable[10] and later by Little, Brown and Company.[11] On 2020 the second volume. Fast Forward, was published by Little, Brown and Company.[12][13]

Personal life[edit]

In 1979, Morris was questioned about the Yorkshire Ripper case. Joy Division's touring schedule happened to be similar to Peter Sutcliffe's movements which led to the police's suspicion. Following gigs in Halifax, Huddersfield, Leeds and Manchester, both Morris and bass player Peter Hook were questioned.[14]

Morris married fellow New Order member Gillian Gilbert in 1994. The couple live in Rainow, Cheshire, and have two daughters, Tilly and Grace.[15]

Morris is a fan of science fiction, particularly the TV series Doctor Who. He has a full-sized Dalek replica in his rehearsal room, which Sumner has called "the sixth member" of New Order.[16] He also owns several military vehicles including a Mark IV Ferret armoured reconnaissance vehicle and several tanks.[17][18][19]

Discography[edit]

With Joy Division
With New Order
With The Other Two

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Stephen Morris on Joy Division, depression and summoning the devil". HeraldScotland.
  2. ^ "Steve Morris at Speakers' Club". King's latest news. Archived from the original on 23 December 2015. Retrieved 24 January 2016.
  3. ^ a b c "STEPHEN MORRIS Interview | The Electricity Club". www.electricity-club.co.uk. Archived from the original on 26 August 2016. Retrieved 27 August 2016.
  4. ^ a b "DRUM!Magazine". www.drummagazine.com. Archived from the original on 30 January 2016. Retrieved 24 January 2016.
  5. ^ Telekom (28 June 2011). "Tanks for the Beats: An Interview with New Order's Stephen Morris". Retrieved 27 August 2016.
  6. ^ a b Morris, Stephen (2019). Record Play Pause: Confessions of a Post-Punk Percussionist: The Joy Division Years Volume I. Constable. ISBN 978-1472126207. It would be Siouxsie and the Banshees to whom I most felt some kind of affinity. [...] the bass-led rhythm, the way first drummer Kenny Morris played mostly toms. [...] The banshees had that [...] foreboding sound, sketching out the future from the dark of the past. [...] hearing the sessions they'd done on John Peel's show and reading gigs write-ups, [...] they sounded interesting.
  7. ^ "Stephen Morris on Joy Division and New Order: How the studio shaped the sound". www.thevinylfactory.com. 27 January 2016. Retrieved 27 August 2016.
  8. ^ "Echo & the Bunnymen - Echo & the Bunnymen [liner notes]". CD. Warner Strategic Marketing – 2564-61164-2. 2003.
  9. ^ "The Other Two | Biography | LTM Recordings". www.ltmrecordings.com. Retrieved 27 August 2016.
  10. ^ "Joy Division and New Order drummer Stephen Morris reveals his Confessions of a Post-Punk Percussionist in Manchester book launch". Visit Manchester. 11 May 2019.
  11. ^ Record Play Pause by Stephen Morris. www.littlebrown.co.uk. 5 February 2019. Retrieved 18 December 2019.
  12. ^ Fast Forward: Confessions of a Post-Punk Percussionist: Volume II. Little, Brown Book. 3 December 2020. ISBN 9781472132550.
  13. ^ Golden, Audrey J. (22 December 2020). "Stephen Morris Fast Forward: Confessions of a Post-Punk Percussionist".
  14. ^ "Peter Hook discusses being questioned during Yorkshire Ripper hunt". CMU. 12 December 2011. Retrieved 12 January 2012.
  15. ^ Sawyer, Miranda (27 September 2015). "New Order: 'There's no point in just staying together for the kids'". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 27 August 2016.
  16. ^ "Bernard Sumner Is Glad the Failed Marriage of New Order Is Over". Spinner. 7 April 2010. Retrieved 22 October 2011.
  17. ^ "Radio 4 – Saturday Live – Home Page". BBC. Retrieved 22 October 2011.
  18. ^ "Tanks For The Beats: An Interview With New Order's Stephen Morris". Telekom Electronic Beats. 28 June 2011.
  19. ^ Petrány, Máté (14 June 2018). "It's Not Unusual for Rock Stars To Collect Tanks". Road & Track.

External links[edit]