Whether playing in front of a sold-out crowd or jamming alone in his studio, Billy Morrison finds strength in strumming his guitar. Though the guitarist recently returned from performing on tour with Billy Idol, the creative soul, who also sings, acts, and most recently, DJs, is already back to work, focusing on new projects. And, much like any true talent, Morrison's attraction to the rock music scene started at an early age.
"When I was 11, I saw the Sex Pistols on TV in England, and I realized that there was a voice for the feelings and thoughts that I was having as a kid," Morrison says. "It was either music or motorcycles, so the Sex Pistols came along just in time."
Though he never took any formal lessons, the English guitarist was soon all over the music scene, joining The Cult for the ‘Beyond Good And Evil’ world tour, playing in his band, "Camp Freddy," with musicians Dave Navarro, Chris Chaney, Donovan Leitch, Jr. and Matt Sorum, and currently now alongside Steve Stevens and Billy Idol.
"I was on a plane the other day talking to another musician, and he said, 'Isn't it weird that 99 percent of the planet never gets the feeling that we get when we play a good show?'" Morrison says. "When some kid comes up to me and tells me he loves something I’ve done, it means the world to me. That's the reason I do this."
Though a professional guitar player, Morrison describes himself as an "amateur DJ." He credits his late friend DJ AM for his love of the craft, who taught him the basics, such as how to crossfade from one song to another, beatmatch and work the turntables and mixers. He frequently uses the Stanton SCS.4DJ USB Mixstation to mix his own custom loops for various recording projects in his home studio.
“Ninety percent of the planet thinks that DJs just play songs," Morrison says. "I can’t tell you how amazed I was when I saw what DJ AM was doing with his turntables. It was just like he was playing guitar or piano or any other musical instrument."
Once Morrison learned the basics, he immediately craved more and started to DJ at rock ‘n’roll gigs, renting Stanton turntables and mixers before eventually stumbling upon the SCS.4DJ. "I've been a Gibson endorsee for many years. I was at NAMM when Gibson introduced me to Stanton, and once I started looking at these self-contained units, my mind was like, 'Wow,'" he says. He particularly loves to use the SCS.4DJ when he DJs at parties, finding the system's portability enormously handy. "It’s so much like DJing on turntables that I don’t see why I would rent equipment when I can just show up with the SCS.4DJ and be ready," he says.
Morrison also hosts a two-hour hit radio show at TRadioV, Dirty Little Secrets, with recent guest stars including stars Kat Von D, Shepard Fairey and Eric Dane. And even though the uncensored show may get a bit crazy at times, "I don't think outrage is what we’re going for; we're going for truth," Morrison says.
So, what is his advice for teenagers looking to break into the music scene, searching for that same inspiration he once found in watching the Sex Pistols? "Do it because you love it, not because you think it's going to buy you a house," Morrison says. “When I first signed a major record deal with Geffen Records, I was still working at Camden Market in London. Pick a career that turns you on and makes you feel good about doing it every day. That's the right way to do it."