Here is the latest single from Luke Morley, guitarist and songwriter from acclaimed UK rock act Thunder. Earlier this year, Morley released an album of solo material, ‘Songs from The Blue Room’, which achieved the number three spot on the Official Americana Charts, two in the Official Record Store Chart, and was placed number one on the official Indie Breaker Albums Chart. Genre-wise, the new material was a surprise for Thunder fans but proved to be a triumph of songcraft from a superb writer. The artfully-shot video for ‘Errol Flynn’ finds Morley in a reflective mood. His characterful vocal is very much the focus throughout the song and his delivery is outstanding; over beautifully bright guitar, Morley’s voice weaves its way through a memorable melody. The song uses Errol Flynn to represent the inevitable passing of time, the aging process and its impact on the male ego. It’s a theme many of us can associate with, addressed thoughtfully through Morley’s words.
Morley explains further: “Errol Flynn is all about the male condition, how we deal with the ageing process, our vanity and how the opposite sex looks at us as we get older. I think it’s a little bit about my late Father and slightly about me as well I guess. I wanted it to feel like a Country song with a hint of dark humour thrown in. This was one of the first songs I wrote for SFTBR and it opened my mind to the possibility of making an album that was different to the kind of music I’m usually associated with. I’m really looking forward to playing this tune on my UK tour in January.” For more insights from Morley, check out the exclusive Q & A below.
That tour mentioned by Morley should be something to look forward to from such a fine singer-songwriter – details and tickets are available here. Morley says of the upcoming shows: “I hadn’t originally intended to tour as I don’t really see myself as a solo act but the response to the album was so positive, I had to give it some serious consideration. My only proviso was making sure the musicians I wanted to play with were all available and up for it and fortunately they were. Once I’d established that, I really couldn’t say no!” He’ll be sharing the stage with a formidable set of musicians, including Thunder bassist Chris Childs, Dean Howard on guitar (Cats In Space, T’Pau), Sam Tanner (keyboard player on Thunder’s most recent UK tour) and Dave McCluskey on drums (The Union, The Quireboys). You can stream the song, and a special acoustic version, here. Enjoy.
Exclusive Q & A with Luke Morley
It has been 20 years since your last solo album. Why now?
Lockdown created a gap that allowed me to write a lot more than usual. It was a case of ‘I
can either sit in the back garden drinking beer or I can use the time’. I’d written ‘Killed By
Cobain’ and ‘Errol Flynn’ already and put them to one side as I didn’t think they were really
Thunder songs so using them as a basis I started to write more and before you knew it I had
an album’s worth of tunes.
‘Songs From The Blue Room’ is written, played and produced by yourself. How easy was it to
create what you wanted without collaboration with others?
Having a small studio in my house meant that I wasn’t under any time pressure and that
allowed me to experiment with different textures and sounds. To be honest I didn’t really
have much choice as lockdown dictated that I couldn’t get together with other musicians so
really I had to do it myself!
How did you feel about stepping up to lead vocals on record?
I’ve been extremely fortunate to work with great singers throughout my career so singing
wasn’t something I’ve ever really had to worry about. Having said that I’ve always sung on
demos of Thunder songs (sometimes with hilarious results as Danny’s range is so huge) but
it means I’m always singing so it wasn’t an entirely new experience. As much as I love big,
powerful voices I also love people like Hendrix or Dylan or Lou Reed because for me singing
is like a conversation; you have to communicate and reach the listener on an emotional level
or it doesn’t have any meaning.
The new album is far more in the Americana territory than the hard rock sound of Thunder.
Are you becoming more mellow over the years, both musically and personally?
I still love rock music and I always will but the nice thing about being where I am in life is
that I don’t care too much what anybody else thinks so having that freedom means I can go
wherever I want musically. I grew up with The Beatles, Zeppelin, The Who & The Stones but I
always loved American music too like Tom Petty, The Eagles, Nils Lofgren & Steely Dan
because it felt so different and sophisticated compared with the rawness of British music. I
think to be honest I’ve always had a mellow aspect to my musical taste and maybe the solo
album has given me an opportunity to demonstrate that.
I see you have tour dates in January. What can your fans expect to hear?
It’ll be a very large chunk of ‘Songs From The Blue Room’, some of ‘El Gringo Retro’ and a
maybe a couple of surprises. No more than that can I say!!
Tell me the meaning and inspiration behind your new single ‘Errol Flynn’?
It’s a song about the male condition, getting older, how we perceive ourselves and the way
others perceive us. It was inspired by my late Father who lived I think it’s fair to say a full life!
It’s also a little bit about me probably!
How does writing for yourself differ to writing for Thunder?
The most obvious difference is that I’m writing for my voice, not Danny’s. With my own stuff
there’s only myself to consider so that means I can go anywhere I want. Thunder is a rock
band and when we all get in the same room we make a certain kind of noise. Everyone in the
band has a very strong personality musically and there’s not really much room for
compromise so that’s what gives it it’s strength. It’s not necessarily better, just different and
both are challenging in different ways.
The artwork and cover for Songs From The Blue Room is amazing. Tell me how that came to
Thank you. I can take no credit for it at all! I’m fortunate to have a really good mate called
Jason Joyce who is an excellent photographer and over the years we’ve collaborated on
many album sleeves and videos. This one though was all his idea. The building where we
shot the cover images is called Muralla Roja in Calpe, Spain. Jason had been looking for an
excuse to shoot there for a while so when I told him the album title he said “I’ve got it!”
It’s a very odd looking building that’s essentially a council run block of flats and a large part
of it is painted red but some of it is blue which suited our purpose. Funnily enough the
building was the inspiration behind the sets on the Netflix series ‘Squid Game’. The images
where very nicely put together by Cliff Evans at Conquest Music.
Will it be another 20 years before your next solo album?
If I’m still alive you never know!
If you could give one bit of advice to young musicians and songwriters, what would it be?
The industry is completely different to the one I entered 40 years ago. It’s way harder to get
a foothold now and even if you do manage to shine a light over what you do there’s no
guarantee you’ll be able to make a decent living. For all those reasons you need to be 100%
sure it’s what you want to do or it’s something you absolutely need to do. Prepare yourself
for colossal disappointment because it’s inevitable you’ll have to deal with that at some
stage and if you’re still there after that then you might stand a chance. Basically, do it
because you love it and enjoy it and any good fortune that comes your way along the road is
Name three old albums and three new albums that you are enjoying right now?
If I’m really honest I don’t get the chance to listen to a great deal of new music so unless I
hear something on the radio that really leaps out or someone sends me an interesting
demo, my intake of new stuff isn’t what it should be thus there only being one new album
on my list! Must try harder!
Doobie Brothers – The Captain And Me
David Bowie – Hunky Dory
Led Zeppelin – Physical Graffiti
Larkin Poe – Blood Harmony