Billy Morrison is one of the few rockers who can truly say he made it all the way to the top from the very bottom. 20 years ago, Billy was homeless and close to death. Today he is on the road with Billy Idol in support of the new Idol album (on which he co-wrote a number of tracks with Idol and Stevens) “Kings and Queens of the Underground,” and able to share his ultimate success story of overcoming addiction and becoming one of the world’s top rhythm guitar players. From playing guitar in the Los Angeles-based celebrity supergroups Camp Freddy and Royal Machines to joining rock band The Cult on their 2001 reunion to writing and recording with his own bands Stimulator, Doheny, Circus Diablo, releasing his own solo material, and playing guitar for Billy Idol since 2009, Billy makes music at all levels. With Royal Machines, Billy has shared the stage with some of the top names in music, including Ozzy Osbourne, Steven Tyler, Slash, Robbie Williams, Lou Reed, Ronnie Wood, Jerry Cantrell, and Dave Navarro. His solo albums “God Shaped Hole” and “Stimulator” are available on iTunes and Amazon worldwide.
ART: In recent years, to further push the ‘multimedia’ tag he wears so well, Morrison picked up paint and canvas and proceeded to paint prolifically. He has now not only amassed a body of work worthy of his forthcoming show, but has also found a customer base that appreciates his darker introspective imagery. When asked about his new creative outlet and the subject matter, Billy simply replied..”I just paint what lives inside my head. Sometimes that’s skulls, hand grenades and naked chicks. Other times its a statement on something I see in the world that I want to comment on or draw attention to..”
Morrison has been a long time collector of contemporary art, owning pieces by Andy Warhol, Jamie Reid, Shepard Fairey, Banksy, Risk, and many more. He considers himself fortunate to be able to express himself creatively on canvas, as well as through his music. His provocative and thought-inspiring statements embrace concepts of duality and mixed metaphors, and his use of color and mixed media has been embraced by both the music and art worlds and pieces are owned by Shepard Fairey, Sharon Osbourne, Craig Susser, Sydney Holland and other influential collectors. Morrison has a piece from his Butterfly series hanging in the US Capitol in Washington, D.C.
Billy says, “The creative experience is insane for me. It feels like learning the chords to ‘Anarchy in the U.K.’ by the Sex Pistols for the first time. When I put brush to canvas it’s like unleashing demons and angels at the same time. It’s the same as music. I can’t help but play a guitar and have a certain amount of Mick Ronson or Steve Jones or Billy Duffy in my fingers, because they were integral to me when I was learning to play. So when I pick up a paintbrush, what comes out is very solid, powerful imagery rooted in my many influences. I love the use of striking single iconic images.”
Billy Morrison is proof that art manifests in many different forms…he just happens to create works in most of them.