Nicky Reviews Rock Christmas Special: Martin Morris and “The Best Christmas”

WELCOME TO …
Nicky Reviews Rock’s Christmas Special!!
Everyone is increasingly feeling infected by the festive spirit, and I am no exception.  Imagine my delight at discovering a unique opportunity to feature someone who’s a bit of a local legend in my part of the world… Somebody who’s just gone out and recorded a serious contender for this year’s Christmas No. 1 … Somebody who has faith, and drive, and conviction, not to mention a fabulous tune and a great voice.

I’m talking about none other than Martin Morris and his amazing Christmas single, “The Best Christmas”!  In this feature, find an audio of the song, a profile of the singer, and an interview as well.  Woohoo!

HAVE A LISTEN TO “THE BEST CHRISTMAS” AND LET YOURSELF BE BLOWN AWAY…

First things first. You might not have heard about the phenomenon that is Martin Morris and his Christmas single, so let me introduce you to it.  Here, have a listen:

Like what you hear?  You can download this single from iTunes or Amazon and help it on its way to becoming a Christmas No. 1!  Go and do it now… and you will help shape Christmas No. 1 history.

INTRODUCING THE MAN BEHIND THE MUSIC:
MEET MARTIN MORRIS!

Martin told Nicky Reviews Rock that he is the third out of five children brought up in a council house in Southmead, Bristol. He was introduced to live music before he can even remember. His elder brother Bob is a drummer and was something of a celebrity on the estate when Martin was young.  Bob went on to record nine albums and do two European tours with his band, The Brilliant Corners.  Martin says that this was probably what influenced him most, as he was often kidnapped by the band and taken away for weeks at a time to sell their T-shirts (even though he was only 15!) .

When Martin was 17, he formed his first band, The Comfortable Field. The line-up included his little brother Mike, who has gone on to be a very well-respected guitarist in his own right, and Mark Stokes (drummer) who is now Martin’s brother-in-law. In 1994, The Comfortable Field changed its name to Aerola and went on to tour England, even appearing on some TV music shows. The band finally split in 1999, after which Martin formed Tenderhook with his brothers Bob and Mike, and, though short-lived, Tenderhook performed what is still one of Martin’s favourite gigs to date at the Bristol Thekla.

Since Tenderhook, Martin has been playing in  cover band Hooper with Bob, Mike, and friend Boo. They have gained an excellent reputation and a huge following. Throughout his time in the various bands, Martin was always the writer, and for every song he submitted there were five he kept back! So Martin has enough songs in the bank for a lot of albums.  He’s still writing today!

What an amazing bio!  You discover someone like Martin, with drive and determination, and then you realise he’s got a lifetime of experience and practice behind him.  It’s no miracle, then, that “The Best Christmas” should be such a catchy, well-performed and professional piece.  Wow!  You can join Martin on his Facebook group to keep in touch with developments and news.

THE INTERVIEW:  OF COURSE, NICKY REVIEWS ROCK HAD SOME QUESTIONS FOR MARTIN, WHICH HE ANSWERED VERY PATIENTLY INDEED.  YOU ROCK, MARTIN….

NRR:  Tell us the story behind “The Best Christmas?”  What inspired you?  Did you write the song alone?  Tell us more about the band playing with you?
I wrote “The Best Christmas” about three years ago, on my own, in about ten minutes. It was one of those songs that just flowed out of me (doesn’t happen very often)  and was really an experiment. I was thinking that nobody had released a great Christmas song for years and years (I think the last great Christmas tune was The Pogue’s “Fairytale of New York”) and thought I’d have a go. I realised straight away that I had something special. So I recorded a demo that sat on the shelf until this year, when I decided that the country deserved better than the  guaranteed No.1 tripe that the X-factor rams down our throats. (NRR:  Hear, hear!)
I recorded the released version with the help of former
Aerola drummer and brother-in-law, Mark Stokes, my brother Mike, and Hooper bass player Boo. I asked a friend who had a decent video camera to help make a video and he turned up with professional film maker Jenny Haggerty (she had faith in the song so wanted to help). It was filmed on a beautiful summer’s evening with friends and family in our local pub!

NRR:  What bands or musicians influence or inspire you?
I’ve never been a loyal fan to anyone, but I do have favourite albums by certain people, for example “Hunky Dory” by David Bowie, The Stone Roses’ first album, Lou Reed’s “Transformer”, The House Martins’  “The People Who Grinned Themselves to Death” and The Brilliant Corners, “Hooked.”

NRR:  How does it feel to be a budding music legend?  You’ve done radio interviews galore–did you enjoy the experience?
I must say the thought of having a hit single excites me a lot. It’s not just what happens now, but what could happen after, and I love the attention, so radio interviews are great. I feel very at home talking to people about music, so talking about my music is a bonus.

NRR:  What are your plans going forward?
For now I have to see how the single goes. It could change my life and take me in a whole new direction, or it could fizzle out, in which case I have a great life anyway so I’ve nothing to lose.  (NRR:  You’ve just got to love this man!)

NRR:  Can we see you (and your band) play live somewhere, some time soon?
As this is a solo effort I can’t see us playing live, but I will continue with Hooper and should the single take off, I do have something up my sleeve that would involve all the people I have already mentioned.

NRR:  How do you typically celebrate Christmas?
Typically, I like to go away with my wife and three kids. No visiting and no visitors. I don’t often relax but at Christmas I do (although it’s still complete mayhem). We’re a lively lot!!

NRR:  Apart from “The Best Christmas”, of course, which is your favourite Christmas rock/pop song in the world… ever?
My favourite Christmas pop song is Slade, “Merry Christmas Everybody” but I do love a choir singing “Silent Night”!

NRR:  In my rock star romance, “Sophie’s Turn“, lead singer Dan assures Sophie that ‘what goes on tour, stays on tour.’  Now I won’t ask you to kiss and tell (although I’d love to, really, hee-hee) but could you tell us about the funniest, weirdest or most bizarre thing that ever happened to you while on stage or on tour?
We were playing a gig in The Manchester Broadwalk, and there was a girl there who had (in the past) been quite friendly with each of  the band, but was now becoming a pain in the ass. She was at the front of the stage all night trying to get my attention but then disappeared. I knew something was up!  Suddenly she came running towards me from the side of the stage. I remember thinking, “this is gonna be bloody embarrassing if she gets hold of me!”  But the stage was soaked with beer, so she went skidding past me, her legs went up in the air and her head came smashing down onto the stage knocking herself clean out!! I now feel a little mean that I carried on as if nothing had happened apart from laughing myself through the rest of the song!  As she was being carried away, I did call out to her saying “Its ok, I don’t think anyone noticed!!”  We never saw her again.

NRR:  Wow, that’s quite a story, thanks for sharing!  And finally… just before I let you go, would you give your immediate reaction to the following conundrums:

Turkey or Beef for Christmas lunch?  Turkey.
Sprouts–love them or hate them? Hate sprouts!
Gaudy or stylish for the Christmas tree?  I like stylish, but get bored quickly so the front looks good!
Chocolate orange or after-dinner-mints? Neither, alcohol!
Brandy butter or brandy sauce with your Christmas pud?  Don’t like Xmas pud. Don’t really like pud!
Presents before or after breakfast? Bit of both.
Aldi or Harrods for your Christmas crackers? Aldi, so you can have loads!
Angel or star to top the Christmas tree? Angel, it looks rude!
Home or away? Away in a manger… or a nice lodge!!

Amazing responses, Martin!  I’m glad I’m not the only one who doesn’t like Christmas pud!  Thanks so much, for stopping by here today, it is an honour and a privilege.  Nicky Reviews Rock wishes you every success with STORMING THOSE CHARTS…

MARTIN MORRIS FOR CHRISTMAS NO. 1, IS WHAT I SAY!  WISHING YOU EVERY SUCCESS AND, OF COURSE, A MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Here are those links again:  You can download “The Best Christmas” from iTunes or Amazon and help it on its way to becoming a Christmas No. 1!

All photos courtesy of Martin Morris, and used with Martin Morris’ permission.

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4 responses to “Nicky Reviews Rock Christmas Special: Martin Morris and “The Best Christmas”

  1. Ha Ha. Love it!.
    Nice one nicky, thanks for asking me to do it. You never know what the future holds so I might be asking you to review an album one day! All the best and thanks again. Martin.xx

    • You are so welcome, I’m proud to have you here. Hope you sell lots and lots of copies! When (note: when, not if!) you’ve got your album, you know where to come for your first review. Hee-hee! X Take care, and happy Xmas. :-)

  2. The girl skidding across the stage and knocking herself out – that so made me laugh! You’ll have to ‘borrow’ that Nicky. Great interview.

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