10 Oct 2011
'Jack Spade and the Dusty Souls'. From Left to Right: Hong An, Sebastian Warren, Jimi Alright, Jack Spade, Doug Stewart and Jono Cummings (Photo courtesy of Stevie Morris).
CPIT Jazz School student Michael Morris is learning that the rock star life isn’t all fans and fun. It’s a full time job but he is “loving every minute of it”.
Prompted by the opportunity to work on an original project for his final year in a Bachelor of Musical Arts, Morris has adopted a new persona; ‘Jack Spade’, his alter-ego and frontman for band ‘Jack Spade and the Dusty Souls’.
Born out of original songs crafted by Morris over years at jam sessions, ‘The Dusty Souls’ is a band where every member brings something distinctive to the mix. Made up of frontman Jack Spade on lead guitar, Doug (Dante’Slam) Stewart on bass, drummer Jimi Alright, guitarist Sebastian Warren, Hong An on the piano and vocalist Jono Cummings, the band produces a combined sound that “could be seen to bridge the gap between Guns and Roses and Bob Dylan”, Morris said.
In the space of only a year, Morris has spearheaded a thirteen track album ‘Destination Down’ and a South Island tour for his Major in Performance through CPIT’s Jazz School. He has organised every little detail from the recording time to accommodation and tour dates with support from his tutors. The experience has been invaluable for Morris. “As a musician you have to make things happen yourself and that is exactly what I have aimed for this year. It has set me up for the real-world,” he said.
The most challenging part has been getting gigs in place for a band that only formed at the beginning of the year and is yet to play their first show. Morris has found Facebook to be an invaluable tool for showing industry professionals what the band offers. “Once you show them something well considered and professional, they are almost always keen to take you on,” he said. Securing the gigs has made Morris confident in presenting himself as a professional musician. “It has been the best learning experience of my life. You’re really doing it, not just sitting in a classroom hearing about it,” he said.
Venues have welcomed the band who have secured seven dates around the South Island, kicking off at 'The Venue Music-Bar’ in Hornby this Friday 14 October. They are excited about building a name for themselves and have been rehearsing hard for their debut performance. “I went into this thing intentionally biting off more than I thought I could chew, putting myself in a position where I would just have to chew it.” Morris said. “It has all come together awesomely.”
Jack Spade and the Dusty Souls has become his life. “It’s a lot of hard work but I am continuously inspired to keep going,” he said. The experience has given him even more of a hunger to be a part of the New Zealand music industry but Morris isn’t focused on fame and fortune. “As long as I am doing what I love the rest doesn’t matter. What happens, happens, I just want to make music man,” he said.
You can read more about the band and listen to their music here.