Mark Morriss Answers Our Questions

The Bluetones - Photo Credit Paul Heartfield
The Bluetones – Photo Credit Paul Heartfield

The Bluetones are reuniting for an eight date UK tour to commemorate their 20th anniversary. The band who were a huge part of the ‘Brit Pop’ era, are best known for their hit singles, ‘Bluetonic’, ‘Slight Return’, ‘Marblehead Johnson’, ‘Solomon Bites the Worm’, ‘If’, and ‘Keep the Burning’. In short, The Bluetones were massive. You can find out details about their tour here

We caught up with lead singer, Mark Morriss.

EP: So the Bluetones are reuniting for a 20th anniversary tour after a 4 year hiatus. What can fans expect from the tour?

MM: For us it’s a chance to enjoy that chemistry once more after 4 years apart. So with that in mind, and with the knowledge that there will be actual people watching us, we’ve decided to tour the most uplifting and celebratory songs in our canon.

EP: Any plans for a new Bluetones record?

MM: At this stage, no. Like I say, these dates are more to do with the 4 of us just getting our groove on again. If something else happens, then it happens, but it’s not part of a master plan.

EP: What happens next? Is this a one off, or do you have more in the pipeline? Or are you taking it as it comes?

MM: Taking things as they come, I’d say. No grand plans, no ulterior motives.

EP: You’ve had some success as a solo artist both while in The Bluetones and since. Which do you prefer? Life in the band or under your own name?

MM: I enjoy the autonomy of doing things on my own, and the sense of standing or falling by my own choices, but nothing will ever replace the synergy of being part of a unit. Walking onstage with that sense of strength and trust. Sharing success and fighting adversity as one.

EP: You all still get on together, have you ever considered teaming up with one or some of them as a Bluetones Lite? Maybe you and Scott as The Morriss Brothers?

MM: Nope. Never. The Mummys and The Magical Sex Band gave us a chance to hang out last year, but playing these Bluetones songs is about something else completely. The four of us wrote all those old numbers together, so there will always be a different feel than when they are asked to come in at the end of the process and just recreate my songs live. The just is.

EP: Most of the other guys have gone into non-music careers – do you think they’d drop them if you did a Jake Blues and said, “we’re getting the band back together!” for more than just this tour?

MM: Nope. Besides, that wouldn’t really be my call to make.

EP: Your most recent album, ‘A Flash of Darkness’, was funded through Pledge Music. How was the Pledge experience? Would you recommend it?

MM: It was great. Completely empowering and very satisfying. I don’t think it’s the correct path for all artists but in my case, with an already established fan-base, it was ideal. It removed the need to go in pursuit of a record deal. In effect the labels came to me because I had a finished work to hand over which they could see for themselves would be something they could roll with.

EP: What’s your favourite track on ‘A Flash of Darkness’ and why? (I really like ‘This is The Lie’ – not sure why – the lightness of it? The guitar?)

MM: Ooh, that’s a tricky one… Uuuuum possibly ‘Low Company’. It was one of the first songs written musically speaking, but one of the last to be completed. I was always very precious about this particular song.

EP: Could you see any of these songs working as Bluetones songs? Will you perform any on tour?

MM: Not now. They’ve gained a different identity. There won’t be any on this tour, no. Nor any future prospective Bluetones tours.

EP: You told The Quietus back in 2011 that the Bluetones split because you’d reached a crossroads in your career. Do you feel that was the right decision back then to call it a day?

MM: Absolutely. We’d been fighting many fires behind the scenes, and it eventually took it’s toll on the group. We were in danger of falling out of love with our baby. Quitting at that time allowed us to walk away with our affection for the band intact.

EP: Any regrets?

MM: None. I think all 4 of us have enjoyed the new challenges we’ve faced since the band ended. I certainly have.

EP: You gig a LOT. Is it something you feel compelled to do? Like it’s in your blood?

MM: I am a musician in the old sense. Like a minstrel. It’s not so much a conscious choice as a compulsion. I have the wanderlust in me.

EP: So what’s your favourite venue to perform at and why?

MM: Far, far too many to be able to pick one. There are some wonderful venues of all sizes out there. Personally I enjoy the energy that a smaller room can generate, somewhere like Fibbers in York, but the Shepherds Bush Empire has a real buzz when you give it a shake.

EP: Top three songs/artists you’re listening to right now.

MM: C Duncan- Garden

         Chemical Brothers- Go

         Jane Weaver- Mission Desire

EP: What’s the one question you wish someone would ask you in an interview but nobody ever does?

Would you like to see some puppies?

About the author

Lisa has been writing for over 20 years, starting as the entertainment editor on her university newspaper. Since then she's written for Popwrapped, Maximum Pop, Celebmix, and ListenOnRepeat.

Lisa loves all good music, with particular fondness for Jedward and David Bowie. She's interviewed Edward Grimes (Jedward), Kevin Godley, Trevor Horn, Paul Young, Peter Cox (Go West), Brendan B Brown (Wheatus), Bruce Foxton (The Jam), among many many more. Lisa is also available for freelance writing - please email lisa@essentiallypop.com

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