West Country Wonder: JAS MORRIS!

Today's Elevenses Throws Eleven Quick Questions At 'West Country Wonder' Jas Morris!

Jas Morris has been called such things as ‘Future Guitar God’ by Wishbone Ash and ‘A Rock Legend of the Future’ by Planet Rock. He began playing guitar at 13 and now at 22, has built up a considerable live reputation in the South and West of the UK. He was also the ‘UK’s Guitarist Of The Year’ in 2003 and a finalist of the epic International ‘Guitar Idol competition 2008’.

So what’s your drink of choice at 11am in the morning?

It's either Orange Juice or Red Bull!! Normally at that time in the morning I’ve had a real late night gigging and to stay functional I have to have a can of Red Bull to keep me going!! On a morning that I haven’t had a gig before, Orange Juice does me good.

Which song/album really made you want to play guitar?

Well I’d have to say Argus by Wishbone Ash. The album flows so well and the guitar work by Andy Powell and Ted Turner just blew me away. It’s maybe not your typical ‘shred’ stuff but they have masses of feel and that is what has always attracted me to guitar the most; feel.

Who’s your favourite guitarist ‘at the moment’?

I’ve never really had one favourite guitarist but have always had many favourite guitarists if you know what I mean. So to answer this question, at the moment I’ve been listening a lot to Guthrie Govan. Such an incredible player with mind blowing technique and loads of feel on top, it was great to meet him at the Guitar Idol finals.

What’s the story behind your beautiful and atmospheric new CD ‘Inspired Thoughts’?

This album is a compilation of a few of my instrumental tracks from a selection of albums by my band - Morris Brothers Band. The earliest track recorded was done back in 2003 and the latest one was recorded a few months ago, so quite a few years between them all. It also features my Guitarist Of The Year 2003 track ‘the Hero’ which I performed at the NEC.
I called the album ‘Inspired Thoughts’ cause that’s what each track was written on, an inspired thought of some event in my life so far.
I’ve always felt there should be something more to guitar music than just sheer technical ability so I would write a song and then put what I could guitar wise over the top to suit the track as best I could. With a lot of the tracks the guitar just ‘played itself’ with regards to melody and stuff so being in the studio for me is one of my favourite things, that and of course live performance…!

So what are you up to at the moment?

I have just completed an album with my band entitled ‘Rescue’ which we will be promoting very shortly with a series of gigs throughout the country, see www.morrisbrothersband.com for updates. We have been getting very good feedback from it so if it all goes to plan everyone will be hearing of us in the not too distant future!.... At the moment I’m also in communication with Lick Library on a few projects which I’m quite excited about and some endorsement deals. However, it’s been a really busy year for me so far so I might have to just chill out for a little bit before I rock myself out cold!!

Tell us about the Morris Brothers Band?
Who would be in your dream line-up – past or present?

The Morris Brothers Band features my brother on Bass – Dan Morris with D Collings on Drums. We formed in 2001 and have been gigging intensely and have done more than 500 gigs since. We have 4 albums and 1 EP to date and have performed with such legendary artists as Johnny Winter, Walter Trout, Wishbone Ash, Chicken Shack and the Troggs as part of their UK tours.
We have done numerous headline shows around the South West in the past and have been fortunate enough to pretty much sell-out all of them. We’re slowly becoming more widely known but we aren’t signed yet so if there’s anyone out there who would like to snap us up please check out our website and get in contact!

We have been described as a blend of Modern, Classic and Progressive Rock mixed with melodic virtuoso Guitar playing.

Vocals: Paul Rodgers
Keyboards: Tony Banks
Drums: D Collings
Guitar 1: Jas Morris
Guitar 2: Steve Lukather
Bass Guitar: Dan Morris

How many guitars do your own and which one is ‘your precious’?

I own two guitars and they are both Musicman. The first one is a silver Silhouette Standard and the other, which I would definitely call my precious is a blue Silhouette Special. I used the blue one at the Guitar Idol show. The silver one was the first guitar I have ever bought followed by the Silhouette Special, but I just love them to bits, they play, feel and look great, everything I like in a guitar. I am having a custom guitar made for me by an awesome up and coming guitar builder – Seth Baccus, which I am really looking forward to. He has worked closely which Hugh and Andy Manson of Manson Guitars and tech’ied for Led Zeppelin.

So you’re stranded all alone on a desert island but amazingly there’s a bar, a stereo and some electricity – what 3 albums do you want to find on top of that stereo?

Ah, I was kinda hoping to find an iPod with my whole CD collection on it…or is this not allowed?? Ok, three albums, this is a hard one to answer but I’m gonna say Passion and Warfare by Steve Vai, its just a ground breaking album that made me want to learn every track! Argus by Wishbone Ash or Toto 4, just great songs with great guitar work; and finally the last CD would have to be between the Police’s Greatest hits (I feel that I could finally figure out how Sting was feeling when he sent out that bottle) and an audio book that could teach me how to survive on this desert island!!!

OK, if possible, put these six guitar players in order of preference – Steve Lukather, Vinnie Moore, Andy Timmons, Joe Satriani, Jeff Beck and Eric Johnson…

1.Jeff Beck (I think he’s earnt it)
2.Joe Satriani (I gotta give him credit, he’s always coming up with new stuff)
3.Eric Johnson (Manhattan is incredible)
4.Steve Lukather ( Toto are great, I think they‘ve just split up…shame)
5.Andy Timmons (Haven’t heard much of this guy but I’m gonna give him a listen)
6.Vinnie Moore

So what’s your drink of choice at 11pm in the evening?

At 11pm in the evening I have a bottle of Jack Daniels, 15 pints of Lager and 3 whiskey shots….only kidding, I don’t actually drink much so it’d probably be a pint of coke followed by a pint of lager and then a pint of water…obviously not all at once, I think I’d burst!!

www.jasmorris.com

www.myspace.com/jasmorris

www.morrisbrothersband.com

Interview - 1st August 2008