Interview with Charlie Wayne Morrill

Musically, you go way back, how did you first get into music and who was your inspiration?

My Dad, Charlie Gail, started showing me chords and helped to teach me how to play … he was my inspiration as well as the Monkees and the Beatles.

So you came from a musical family?

Yes, my Dad played with Freddie Hart, Waylon Jennings, and Barbara Mandrell. I played a lot with my Dad and Grandpa at family get-togethers, so there was always a lot of music going on around me when I was growing up, so I guess it just kind of rubbed off on me.

As a musician, you cover two different types of music: Rock and Country, which is an unusual combination. Is this a reflection of your influences?

Yes it is! When you listen to so much music and have had so much music around you, it’s hard not to be influenced by everything that you hear. I’ve always enjoyed music and I pick up influences from the diverse music that I hear.

When you were growing up, what bands did you listen to?

I loved listening to The Monkees, The Beatles, Bachman Turner Overdrive, Kiss, Led Zeppelin.

Your latest album out is called The Metal Years 1985-2005, which covers a wide range of the projects that you have been involved in on your Rock side over the years. What material are you most proud of?

I think I’d have to say the Hawk and The Ticks material. I’m really pleased with how they turned out. I think the songs, the playing, and the sound on those are really great.

In one of your earlier bands, Hawk, you played with Scott Travis of Judas Priest and Lonnie Vincent of the Bulletboys. What happened to that band?

Doug Marks left the band to pursue other things! We carried on with Marc Torien on guitar. In those days, Marc was playing guitar with Ratt before we snagged him. He was like an Eddie Van Halen clone!

Are you still in touch with any of your former bandmates?

Absolutely! I talk with all the guys frequently. You go through so much together and grow really close … even when the band ends you stay friends, some of us go back a real long way.

What was your involvement in the Bulletboys?

I sang when Marc played guitar and then we regrouped with Lonnie Vincent and myself, Tommy Ninja, and Mike Edwards. We did the reunion tour, some shows as the BulletBoys, some shows using the name Straightjacket.

Also in the 80’s, you played in bands with members of Guns N’ Roses, Poison, King Kobra, and Keel. How close were you to being a full-blown member of G N’ R?

The closest I got to G N’ R was as the singer for Hollywood Rose after Axl left to form G N’ R as we know it! Axl and I were and still are good friends and fans of each other’s music!

By the mid 1990’s, you moved more into a Country direction. Why was this?

It was never really a Country thing, just me playing my acoustic guitar and singing songs that come from the heart! It wasn’t really a deliberate move, it was more like a reflection of what I was into at the time, and that came out in the music that I was making.

What projects did you do musically during this period?

In the 1990’s, I was mainly concentrating on the Charlie Wayne and Crawdad Creek projects.

By the turn of the millennium, Rock was obviously still in your blood as you formed the Charlie Wayne Band, releasing the Scarecrow album and subsequent live album, Unchained and Live. Were you now working in parallel with your Country career or did the Country side of things go on the back burner?

When I was doing the mellow music, that’s all that I was in involved in! It’s the same way when I was doing the Hard Rock/Metal thing! I was totally devoted to that!

Do you think that you have attracted Rock fans over to Country music and vice versa?

Yes. I have some very dedicated fans. It’s all about the songs more than anything else! I have hopefully helped to show people some other different types of music that they wouldn’t otherwise have got to hear. If I’ve managed to attract fans to a different type of music, then I’d be happy with that.

Last year you released an album by another of your Rock projects, The Ticks … who played with you on this. Did you take the band on the road?

Jon Bradford played drums and Randy Smith was on bass while I sang and played guitar. We did some touring with The Ticks, but not as much as we’d have liked. Hopefully, at some point, we could go back on the road, but we’ll have to wait and see.

Bringing your album right up to date is a track recorded with your long-time mate, Ron Keel. How far do you go back with Ron?

Ron and I go back more than 20 years. We had the same circle of friends back in the day and we were big fans of each other’s music, and to this day I think we are still each other’s biggest fan. Ron is my brother and I love the guy.

Ron, who is known in the Rock world for his work with Steeler and Keel, has also made a name for himself in Country music too. What is it about Country music that attracts a couple of Rockers like you?

Music is music! Neither of us like boundaries as far as music genres are concerned. We both just play what we love and sounds good. The music and lyrics come from the heart and that’s what is most important to both of us.

At the moment, you are playing as a duo under the name of Keel and Wayne. Can you talk about this?

We are a Hard Rockin’ Southern Duo that people love to see live! We played over 100 dates in the United States in 2005, and we had a blast. The fans came out in full force for our shows and were great.

You also have another project on the go called the Acoustic Outcasts, featuring a number of well-known names from the Rock world. Who is in the band at the moment and what sort of material can people expect to hear at your gigs?

We had an incredible group of musicians for those shows! We had Kelly Keeling (Baton Rouge, MSG), Terry Ilous (XYZ), JK Northrup (XYZ, King Kobra), Danny Vaughn (Tyketto,Waysted), Ron, and myself. We played the old hits that each of the artists had in their heyday, and did some new stuff, all performed acoustically. Man, that was a very cool tour.

Do you find it keeps you fresh having a foot in both Country and Rock camps?

Yes, definitely! I wouldn’t really want to play only one type of music as things would get boring after a while. There’s too much great music out there to stay restricted to playing one type only. The variety certainly keeps things interesting for me.

You have had a long and varied career. What does the remainder of 2006 hold for you?

I plan on releasing a new solo album sometime this year. I will also be releasing a brand new compilation album that will feature songs from myself, as well as songs from some of the artists that had been opening shows for me in February or March. I will also be singing on the 2006 Rock For Christmas album with Vince Neil, Ron Keel, Eddie Money, as well as other big name artists. The other thing you can count on is I will be out there playing live shows as much as possible.

Do you have any plans for any European shows?

I’m working on it! I would love to play in Europe again! The European fans have always been great to me. How about Metal Express Radio sending me tickets to come over there so I can shake hands personally.v I’ll even bring my guitar! Thanks for everything! YOU GUYS ROCK!


  • Mick Burgess

    Mick is a reviewer and photographer here at Metal Express Radio, based in the North-East of England. He first fell in love with music after hearing Jeff Wayne's spectacular The War of the Worlds in the cold winter of 1978. Then in the summer of '79 he discovered a copy of Kiss Alive II amongst his sister’s record collection, which literally blew him away! He then quickly found Van Halen I and Rainbow's Down To Earth, and he was well on the way to being rescued from Top 40 radio hell!   Over the ensuing years, he's enjoyed the Classic Rock music of Rush, Blue Oyster Cult, and Deep Purple; the AOR of Journey and Foreigner; the Pomp of Styx and Kansas; the Progressive Metal of Dream Theater, Queensrÿche, and Symphony X; the Goth Metal of Nightwish, Within Temptation, and Epica, and a whole host of other great bands that are too numerous to mention. When he's not listening to music, he watches Sunderland lose more football (soccer) matches than they win, and occasionally, if he has to, he goes to work as a property lawyer.

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