“I think you can be inspired by anything.” George Morris has been writing music since he was in high school, first in a style known as “bedroom pop.” Why? Well, he would write and record it all in his bedroom, all on his own. “Everyday interactions, books,” George says. He pulls inspiration from everything around him. He jokes “even romantic comedies. You just have to keep your eyes open.”
George spent a year playing solo performances at local venues around Metro Detroit, with only his piano – one of the keys to his unique sound – but, after deciding the shows were too “low energy,” he put together a band. Today, the foursome now fancies themselves as “George Morris and the Gypsy Chorus” and only a few months in, they’ve already left their stamp on the music scene here in Detroit – recently playing live on TedxDetroit. As for their sound now? Well, they’re anything but low energy.
George, who writes all of the music (though he’s quick to add that each one of his new band members puts “their own spin on it”), does the arty thump-rock of The White Stripes, but his music has a darker, poppy edge to it, much like the Smashing Pumpkins. It’s the vintage, grit rock you love from Jack White, while at the same time occupying the glimmering, stadium rock of the Smashing Pumpkins’ best albums. It’s biting and cynical, with a minimal poppy and elegant art rock twist.
“I always want to be writing. When I’m not, I feel bad about myself. So I guess I’m always thinking about it,” George said of what his song-writing process is like. He goes on to say, “But I can’t really force it. It’s kind of a waiting game.” He says that the Metro Detroit area is somewhat of an inspiration to him, “I like this area. I think it has a lot of character. I think the people are what make it inspiring though. There are so many interesting and talented people.”
In between fuzzed-out synths and groovy bass lines, you’ve got George’s own effective stage persona – a sort of lilting snarl that soars above the music. It’s a unique combination that is, at times, as ethereal as it is danceable. The whole band, really, is clearly having as much fun playing the music as the crowd is listening.
“I believe you should put on a show for people. They paid money to come see you. They could have stayed home and listened to you. The bottom line is you’re an entertainer, so entertain,” George said, and the four definitely won’t let you down while on stage. True rock stars, you can say – and it’s definitely a treat for the audience.
So, who is the Gypsy Chorus, you ask? There’s Aaron Nelson on bass, who George tells us, “He’s my favorite bass player on the planet.” Helena Kirby plays keyboards. George says of Helena, “I met Helena through Aaron. They’re in love. She’s the one that covers all the things I don’t know how to play live.” And Zach Pliska’s on drums. “Zach played in an awesome band called Fur. I’ve been a fan of his for a while so he was definitely my first choice on drums when I was putting together the band,” George says, “I’m really happy with this group; I think we have a good dynamic.”
“I like to play wherever people go,” George said of his favorite places to play in Metro Detroit. “That changes over time. I think The Loving Touch has done a good job recently. I think it’s a proper venue now. I have a lot of fond memories of the [PJ’s] Lager House as well.”
George Morris and the Gypsy Chorus’ next shows are Saturday, October 12th at the New Dodge Lounge’s Fallout Fest; Saturday, October 19th at the Old Miami; and then they’re opening up for another Detroit-native, Jessica Hernandez & The Deltas on November 27th at St. Andrews Hall.
George is also hard at work on the band’s next record, he tells us. He adds, “I just want to be able to do this every day and sustain myself.” We think you’re on the right path, George. Listen to George Morris and the Gypsy Chorus on their Bandcamp page here, and check out their Facebook page here for more show dates and information!