Paul Dunton talks to indie legend and Tunbridge Wells resident Mark Morriss

Paul Dunton talks to indie legend and Tunbridge Wells resident Mark Morriss

So Mark after such a long hiatus of playing live what has it been like to get back to regular gigging?

Since things started to reopen in July I’ve found myself busier than ever. People’s hunger for live entertainment seems only to have increased after such a long time away, and there has been a noticeably greater sense of enthusiasm on the part of audiences up and down the country.

How do you find juggling your calendar for Mark Morriss the solo artist with touring with your band The Bluetones?

With The Bluetones we tend to plan tours quite a long way in advance, which means I’m able to plan my other projects with a clear sense of knowing when I’ll have gaps in the schedule. I’m lucky that I’m able to swap between roles, and work with a wide variety of musicians.

What’s coming up in the pipeline for both projects?

Any gigs or new releases happening? Next up for me is a tour with Nigel Clark (from Dodgy) and Chris Helme (from The Seahorses) throughout November and December, supporting Shed 7 on their UK tour. We’ve been writing songs together since late last year and there are plans afoot to record an album in 2022 and continue touring. Right now we’re playing as an acoustic three piece, which allows us to showcase the songs in quite a stripped down manner, but hopefully we’ll be taking a full band out in future.

And you’ve also been involved in with The Helicopter of The Holy Ghost project? How did this come about?

This year saw the release of the band’s first album, Afters. The Helicopter Of The Holy Ghost is a project that was started by two musicians called Billy Reeves and Crayola Lectern. The songs were recorded by a host of esteemed musicians from various bands, and I was asked to contribute vocals right at the end of the recording process. It really is a beautiful album, and I’m honoured to be on it. It was released by KScope Records in August and seems to be selling pretty well. We hope to do a series of live shows in 2022. Fingers crossed the stars align for us.

What was the most recent song you wrote and the inspiration behind it?

The last song I wrote is a silly little ditty called ‘Credit To The Cat’. And it’s about my cat. I’m not sure it’ll ever see the light of day, but it keeps me amused.

Is there a favourite song from your back catalogue you enjoying playing above all others?

I often open my solo sets with a song called ‘Rimini’ which helps me open my pipes up at the top of the show. I enjoy performing that one because it doesn’t require any warm up, and I can just launch right into it.

Could you share with us some of your most memorable moments onstage?

When we played the Reading/Leeds festival in 2000 we were billed to play in between Limp Bizkit and Foo Fighters. We knew they’d have some pyrotechnics with them, and that we would be foolish to try to compete, so instead of ending our set with a huge display of lights we dressed up our guitar tech to look like Richard Gere in An Officer And A Gentleman, and he came up on stage and swept me off into the wings! still get quite emotional when I think about it – which is a lot!

During the lockdowns you regularly performed live stream gigs which were very well supported and received, do you think you will continue to do those going forward?

The livestreams were really quite a lifeline for me throughout 2020. With no way of being able to play shows there was a danger of creative rust setting in. The virtual gigs gave me something to focus on and provide some structure around. They really were a great help to me throughout lockdown.

When can we next expect to see you perform in your home town of Tunbridge Wells?

I’ve been so busy throughout the second half of 2021, but I’ve managed to squeeze a hometown gig into the diary before the year is out. I’m playing an acoustic set with my pal Mike Wilton in the cosy environs of the Even Flow Coffee shop on December 30. I played a set there earlier this year, and it really is a great little gig.

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