by Ross CAT

by Ross CAT

Concert Preview: STEVE MORSE BAND (Interview)
                                The TRALF
                                Monday October 19th

     SOLO FLIGHT…..Guitarist STEVE MORSE has mastered his craft in numerous musical genres for well over three decades since co-founding the DIXIE DREGS in the mid-seventies.

     MORSE has been previously selected Best Overall Guitarist by Guitar Player Magazine for five consecutive years not to mention being a six-time Grammy nominee.

     Not surprisingly the Six-String aviator has his own signature guitar series with Music Man, affectionately known as the Frankenstein Telecastercheck out the MORSE gear page @

     The String Scholar may well be the most diverse guitarist on the planet, playing in some of the most influential bands in Rock & Roll including a stint with KANSAS; MORSE has spent the past sixteen years co-piloting stages across the globe with Ian Gillan, Roger Glover, Ian Paice & Don Airey best known as Hard Rock Icons DEEP PURPLE.

     The STEVE MORSE Band is in town in support ofOut Standing in Their Fieldwhich is set for U.S. release through Eagle on November 24th.


Ross CAT - Hi STEVE Thanks so much for taking time out from rehearsals for the Rock Rapport.
     We are delighted that the Tralf in downtown Buffalo made the tour schedule for the upcoming tour.

STEVE MORSE - No problem at all; yeah were looking forward to this stop it’s been a long time since I’ve played Buffalo.

Ross CAT - You’re out in support of the upcoming new instrumental  release “Out Standing in Their Field” which is due out next month but will be available at the shows.
     I like the tongue & cheek humor of the albums title which has a photo of the band “out standing in a field”.

STEVE MORSE - Yeah were kind of funny like that.

Ross CAT - Give us a little background on the musicians who will be taking the TRALF stage with you as part of the STEVE MORSE BAND?

STEVE MORSE - It will be the same cast of characters who’ve been touring with my solo band for quite a while.  Dave LaRue will be on bass he’s played with John Petrucci & Joe Satriani on the B3 Tours, just a great all around player.
    On percussion is Van Romaine who works with Enrique Iglesias, Vinnie Moore and also the German group called NENA, he’s just a fantastic percussionist.
     I’m also proud to say that one of the new tracks “Time Junction” features my son KEVIN which he co-wrote with me; it was really something special to get the chance to trade guitar solo’s with him on the record.

Ross CAT - Fans can get a taste of the eleven track disc Outstanding in Their Field” @; like your storied career the songs cover a significant amount of musical ground.
     The songJohn Deere Letterkicks up some country dust whileBarouque n’ Dreamsis an enchanting classical guitar piece.
     Another one of the stand out tunes on the record is Flight of the Osprey”; tell us about the instrumental Rocker?

STEVE MORSE - YEAH, glad that song caught your attention it’s a cool piece.  That actually was written years ago when I was touring military bases playing for servicemen around the world.
     It was an amazing experience, back in 1985 the Department of Defense enlisted a group of volunteer musicians from KANSAS, SANTANA, CHEAP TRICK, STREETS & CSN to tour, we were called the “First Airborne Rock & Roll Division”.
     We flew around the world in a C-130 performing on Aircraft Carriers out in the middle of the Indian Ocean & the Mediterranean.
     While on the USO tour I met an F-14 Pilot who later turned out to be a well respected author in Washington after getting out of the Navy.  He was doing a presentation for the Bell-Boeing V-22 aircraft called the OSPREY, he asked me if I would come up with some background music for it, naturally I said OH YEAH.
We worked on the idea and came up with “Flight of the Osprey”, it’s changed some since its inception, it was really a unique recording experience for me.

Ross CAT - Obviously SMB will be performing songs from the new album on the 19th at the Tralf, what else can fans expect at the show?

STEVE MORSE - We’ll probably tap into a few DREGS tunes & some of our older SMB material that we feel balances the setlist best along side the new songs.  We still haven’t nailed down the set quite yet but usually in the middle we’ll play a couple classical guitar & bass duets; in fact the song you referred to “Barougue n’ Dreams” is one of those tunes.
     We try to have a moment or two of ear rest during the set so that the assaults are spaced out a bit (Laughing).

Ross CAT - Lets talk about where it all began; you & Andy West founded the critically acclaimed group the DIXIE DREGS in 1975 immediately upon graduating from the University Of Miami’s Frost School Of Music.
How cool was that, starting out in the Music business fresh out of such a prestigious music program in South Florida?

STEVE MORSE - Yeah you’d think so right but not quite; there was literally no place for someone like myself who was listening & jamming to CREAM & LED ZEPPELIN.  At that time Rock hadn’t quite reared its ugly head in those part just yet; I ended up studying classical guitar & playing in the Jazz Department.
      Believe me from day one I was under intense scrutiny with my long hair; for my placement audition they gave me a piece that was even challenging for students coming from a Jazz background which I had zero training in. Luckily there were only a few guitarists in the program at the time so they kind of let me wander away from traditional Jazz to do my own thing style wise as long as I completed the required assignments.
      I wasn’t the most popular guy in the curriculum, fortunately guys like PAT METHENY & JACO PASTORIUS kind of opened the door allowing me and those who followed to slide some unique playing styles past the powers that be.

Ross CAT - In 1986 you joined Classic Rockers KANSAS, touring & recording for two albums including co-writing the bands last Top 20 hit All I Wanted, how did that come about?

STEVE MORSE - That opportunity arose very naturally as KANSAS was in the midst of putting the band back together after a hiatus. It was never their intent to try and replace Kerry Livgren, no one could, he was a powerful visionary for that band.
      At the same time the rest of the guys had sound ideas of what direction they wanted to take KANSAS which gave them a solid identity.
    I was sitting next to Phil Ehart at a Robert Plant concert when I asked him when they were getting back together; he told me that he and Steve Walsh were in the process of doing just that.
    I told him I’d love to get together and work on something; it wasn’t to long after that Phil called me to come by and work on some tunes together, before we knew it one song lead to an entire album’s worth of material.  What started out as a jam session evolved into a couple of albums & about five years on the road with KANSAS.

Ross CAT- You took the stage with KANSAS once again for a reunion of sorts earlier this year in their hometown of Topeka for a live performance captured on DVD, what was that experience like?

STEVE MORSE - It was really an amazing night of music, actually that was the first time that Kerry & I had hung out together we went out to his farm and did some recording which was pretty cool.
     All the guys playing together again with the local Symphony Orchestra was an excellent showcase of the KANSAS music.

Ross CAT - Lets get to DEEP PURPLE, hard to believe it’s been over sixteen years since you seamlessly stepped into the lead guitar spot vacated by the legendary Ritchie Blackmore.

STEVE MORSE - Actually I took over for JOE SATRIANI who filled in during the “Battle Rages On” tour following Ritchie’s departure.
The guys really made it very easy for me to come into the fold, they we’re looking for someone to step into the band on a permanent basis and to contribute on every level, fortunately for me I fit the criteria.
     They just basically handed me tapes of both Ritchie & Joe playing the PURPLE sets and said we’ll see you a couple of hours before the show.
     As far as playing the DEEP PURPLE catalog I would take tiny shreds from Ritchie; obviously with standards like “Smoke On The Water” & “Highway Star” you don’t want to venture to far off the path.
     There is really so much great material that it allows me to do my own thing; at the end of the day I just try to play the part that compliments the songs in the best way possible.

Ross CAT - What makes the feat of joining DEEP PURPLE even more impressive is the fact that you stepped away from music for a period of time to become an airplane pilot, even going as far as flying commercially.
     Tell us about that interesting stage in your life?

STEVE MORSE - Well yeah there was a little lapse of time there when I went through the process of getting my ratings all in order to become a pilot.  After applying to several airlines I finally landed a job, it was an extremely tough job market at the time.
    It was gratifying in the sense that I accomplished my goal, I actually worked for a commercial airline for about six months.  But at one point I just realized something was missing.
      I was living in Atlanta at the time when I got a call from Gary Rossington who happened to be playing in town, he invited me to come down to the Omni and sit in with the band. Next thing I know I’m changing out of my uniform into my street clothes and being pushed out on stage plugging in and playing “Give Me Back My Bullets”.
  The moment just hit me and I thought to myself this is amazing, this is what I should be doing.

Ross CAT - As a passenger that would be great to have the pilot come over the intercom with a little guitar solo before the announcements.
     I won’t ask you if you’re a member of the mile high club but are there any other good stories from the friendly skies?

STEVE MORSE - As a matter of fact I did fly an unnamed Vice President of a Record Company that I had been with in the past that yanked tour support out from under us when we were opening for RUSH so that was a little weird.

Ross CAT - You really could have had some fun on the flight. (Laughter)

STEVE MORSE - Yeah a couple of pretty funny thoughts crossed my mind at the time.  Something to the effect of “you may notice your oxygen supply dwindling much like our tour support dwindled during the RUSH tour”. (Laughter)

Ross CAT - Lastly STEVE following this Northeast trek with the SMB your right back at it with DEEP PURPLE in early November touring Europe through mid-December.
    What does the New Year have in store for the celebrated Rockers DEEP PURPLE; any chance there will be a follow up to the remarkable Rapture of the Deep record?

STEVE MORSE - Well Thanks we’re all pretty proud of that album.  We’re in discussions about recording in the New Year but it’s really all about timing.
    We’ve actually blocked out time to sit down and write & record on a few different occasions but then these world tours keep getting in the way; that’s certainly not a bad problem to have.
     Not to long ago we were literally driving away from what was supposed to be the last gig of a leg when our manager Spyder called and told us “By the way you might want to hold on; OASIS just broke up and the promoter was hoping DEEP PURPLE would close out the festival weekend in their place”.
     Things like that just keep popping up for the band so we just keep on rolling along.

     The Rock Rapport would like to Thank STEVE MORSE for taking time out for us.  Catch him if you can at or

     You can hear STEVE MORSE live in studio on Monday the 19th on 107.7 THE LAKE @ 3pm chatting it up with Lorne Hunter.

     Tickets for the show are available online @ or at the Tralf Box Office.


     SHAKIN’ THE BONEYARD…..While AEROSMITH has been grounded over the past few months due to ailing band members most notably frontman STEVEN TYLER; co-founding member, principal co-songwriter & guitar shredder JOE PERRY has been Shakin’ things up in the Boneyard Studios with the release of his fifth solo record Have Guitar, Will Travelwhich hit stores on October 6th.

     Musically the AEROSMITH Guitar Herocontinues his assault on his Blues based Rock & Roll roots while indirectly managing to implement technology to the making of the disc.

      Half of the records ten tracks features a German vocalist named HAGAN, found completely by chance on You Tube by JOE’S wife BILLIE; she also co-wrote Do You Wonder with Marti Fredrickson.  PERRY takes lead vocals on the other four songs while the stormy instrumental trackWooden Shipsrounds out the record.

      PERRY recalls his first attempt to make contact with the young singer; “I first called him from Cleveland when I went to perform at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Jam with JEFF BECK, JIMMY PAGE, RONNIE WOOD, FLEA & METALLICA”,  It took several minutes to convince him that it wasn’t a prank call."

     The first single, We’ve Got A Long Way To Go is a scorcher that showcases the vocal chops of HAGAN; PERRY personally debuted the song here in Buffalo last month on 97 Rock as part of the JOE PERRY bus tour.

    The second technologic advancement to find its way into the Boneyard Pit was Twitter.  The CD titleHave Guitar, Will Travelwas one of over two thousand tweeds submitted in a naming contest won by Joe Piscitelli.

     Be sure to check out for upcoming tour dates as the Rock & Roll Road Warrior plans on hitting the roadshort, fast & hard in support of the new record this winter.

Track Listing:  JOE PERRY “Have Guitar, Will Travel

1.     We’ve Got A Long Way to Go

2.     Slingshot

3.     Do You Wonder

4.     Somebody’s Gonna Get (Their Head Kicked In Tonite)

5.     Heaven and Hell

6.     No Surprise

7.     Wooden Ships

8.     Oh Lord (21 Grams)

9.     Scare the Cat

10.   Freedom

     Great news for AEROSMITH fans as PERRY & the band is set to heat things up again in Hawaii with two shows in Honolulu & Maui next week, these will be the bands first since STEVEN TYLER’S fall at Bike Week in Sturgis this past August.

     For more information out of the AEROSMITH camp click on to

     We would also like to THANK JOE PERRY for his generous donation of a signed guitar to the TUNES FOR TOYS foundation ( which will be held this year at the LAFAYETTE TAP ROOM ( Sunday December 6th.


     For more information please go to

***************PEACE & HARMONIES***************

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