Tuesday, September 4, 2012

For guitar rocker, DNC is about loosening up

Camp Freddy -- a rock super group that features Dave Navarro of Jane's Addiction -- played a party during the RNC in Tampa last week. Monday night, the band performed a late-night show at the NC Music Factory as the headline act for Spirits of Charlotte, a party hosted by the Distilled Spirits Council.

Lead guitarist Billy Morrison, an Englishman who also is a member of Billy Idol's band, says the guys agreed to play at both conventions in a show of bipartisanship. We interviewed him via e-mail Monday about politics, Camp Freddy, and whether the U.S. or the U.K. rocks harder.

Q. Any musician who shows up at a political convention is -- whether they intend to or not -- is making a statement of sorts. What kind of statement are you and Camp Freddy trying to make by being here this week?

If we are being forced to make any statement, it's that rock and roll transcends any political barriers and no matter what side of the fence you sit, you understand what we do. Every person at these conventions was 14 once. Every one of them sat listening to The Crue, or Billy Idol, or Bowie, or whoever, and Republican or Democrat, they all loosen their ties, take their jackets off, and rock out.

Q. On a scale of 1 to 10, how political are you, and what are your political views, particularly in terms of this year's presidential election/race?

I am personally around a 3 or 4 - I think that we are not fully informed to start with, that no one can turn a country around in four years, and that each side makes good and bad arguments. If I'd wanted to pay more attention in politics I would have graduated. But I found a loud guitar much more stimulating and found that I could say what I wanted to say far more effectively with music. I do, however, pay attention to certain topics and issues that are close to my heart, no matter what side is speaking. Homelessness, Healthcare, a few others.... these issues stir me as a human being at a social level, more than a political one.

Q. Do you have any concerns about how fans might view your politics, or do you not care about that kind of thing?

No matter what you do in this business, people have opinions. And if I had worried too much about what people thought, I wouldn't have dyed my hair blue when I was 15 and covered my body in tattoos and forged a career in the entertainment business. And we have been VERY clear that we have played BOTH conventions, that we are bi-partisan....that really the only thing we came here to do is rock out for these people that, quite frankly, need a night or two of unwinding and loosening up.

Q. What's it been like being a part of Camp Freddy these past several years, and how does it compare to your other experiences with other bands?

Camp Freddy is the antithesis of the real, career oriented bands that we are all in. We play purely for fun, a few times a year, and make sure that our guests, our audiences and ourselves go home smiling. We're not concerned with "shifting units" (because we haven't released anything) or "what markets" we should play..... this is simply reminding ourselves and the guest artists that play with us, what it felt like to be a kid, with a guitar, in your bedroom, and learning some of the greatest rock songs ever written.

Q. Lot of cool, exclusive concerts going on in Charlotte this week as part of the DNC. Are you planning to check out any of them?

I spent the week in Tampa after the last gig just hanging out, scuba diving, and working on this show. People don't realize quite how much hard work and logistics go into making a Camp Freddy show happen. So as much as I'm sure Charlotte is kicking all week, I'm looking forward to getting on a plane home to Los Angeles tomorrow.

Q. What's cooler, UK rock or American rock?

If the rock comes from the heart and soul, if it's real and believable, then I don't give a f@#k where the rock comes from.


Anonymous said...

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