Q&A with Kevin Morris of Dr. Feelgood, one of the most popular and exciting live rhythm and blues acts in the world.

"One of the most important lessons I have learnt is to keep everything simple on and off the stage!"

Kevin Morris: Let The Dr. Feelgood Roll

Formed on Canvey Island in Essex in the early 1970s Dr. Feelgood remains one of the most popular and exciting live rhythm and blues acts in the world. The raw and uncompromising style of their performance resulted in the album Stupidity that immediately went to the number one position in the U.K. charts. Dr. Feelgood have also enjoyed global success with a string of hit singles including Roxette, Back in the Night, Milk and Alcohol, Down at the Doctors, She Does it Right, Going Back Home and See You Later Alligator - which gave the group their first gold record. The last album to feature Lee Brilleaux - Down at the Doctors, was recorded live at the Dr. Feelgood Music Bar on Canvey Island, (now the site of the Oysterfleet Hotel) just two months before he died.

The current lineup features the rhythm section Kevin Morris on drums and Phil Mitchell on bass (both 37 years), Steve Walwyn on guitar (30 years), and Robert Kane (formerly of the Animals) the most recent addition – joining in 1999. Julien Temple’s film Oil City Confidential released on 2nd February 2010 tells the story of the bands formative years featuring the Wilko Johnson era. May 2011 saw the digitally re – mastered re release of Chessmasters originally released in 2000 on EMI Records … the band’s tribute to the Chess label, home to many of the finest blues artists of the 20th century and the first Dr Feelgood album to feature Robert on vocals. The band continues to tour extensively throughout the World.

Interview by Michael Limnios

How has the Blues and Rock Counterculture influenced your views of the world and the journeys you’ve taken?

From a young age I have taken much from music and especially lyrics by some of our greatest songwriters which have helped me to understand the World we live in.

How do you describe Dr. Feelgood sound, music philosophy and songbook? Where does creative drive come from?

Dr Feelgood's style is very stripped down and basic, our influences come from Blues and Rock and Roll especially from the USA, we are lucky to have a varied songbook reflecting the band through all our stages of development.

Which meetings have been the most important experiences? What was the best advice anyone ever gave you?

I was very lucky to play with many great soul stars in the early 70's and learned a lot from them, I am especially indebted to Sam and Dave who were fantastic showmen and in Sam Moore had one of the great voices. They taught me a lot about the dynamics of a song and stage performance.                      (Dr. Feelgood, 1985/ Photo by Jane Hill)

"I love the simplicity of music from the past and worry that now all the artists use the same technology, sounds and producers in their endeavor for material success and therefore all end up sounding the same."

Are there any memories from gigs, jams, open acts and studio sessions which you’d like to share with us?

There are so many great memories of my career so far, I really don't know where to start. As I mentioned previously, I was lucky to play with many great artists from the USA and with Dr Feelgood have traveled the World. I think the first time I went to Japan was a real understanding of how different the culture was; however, they were a great audience and we have been back many times.

What do you miss most nowadays from the music of the past? What are your hopes and fears for the future of?

I love the simplicity of music from the past and worry that now all the artists use the same technology, sounds and producers in their endeavor for material success and therefore all end up sounding the same.

If you could change one thing in the musical world and it would become a reality, what would that be?

I would love to banish auto tune machines from all studios, then we could see who can really sing!!

What were the reasons that made the UK in 1970s to be the center of Pub Rock/Blues experiments?

Pub rock is a much misunderstood definition, it was just simply the only place that small unknown bands could play in and around London at a time when live music had become a place of big and extravagant productions.

"Dr Feelgood's style is very stripped down and basic, our influences come from Blues and Rock and Roll especially from the USA, we are lucky to have a varied songbook reflecting the band through all our stages of development." (Photo: Kevin Morris of Dr. Feelgood)

What are some of the most important lessons you have learned from your experience in the music paths?

One of the most important lessons I have learnt is to keep everything simple on and off the stage!

What is the impact of music on the socio-cultural implications? How do you want it to affect people?

Music plays a huge part of my life and I think it is one of the greatest things for all mankind, it means so much to so many.

Let’s take a trip with a time machine, so where and why would you really want to go for a whole day?

I would go into the future and see how my very young grandchildren turned into adults and see their children.

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