Steve Holt

BIOGRAPHY – Steve Morse

Steve Morse is best known as the guitar player for the band “Deep Purple” and is also the founder of the band “Dixie Dregs”. He also made his own band called “The Steve Morse Band” in the early 1980’s and played briefly with the rock band “Kansas” in the mid 80’s followed by the creation of the band “Living Loud” in 2003 with fellow musicians Don Airey, Jimmy Barnes, Bob Daisley and Lee Kerslake. Steve Morse is a famous American musician growing up mainly in Tennessee, Ypsilanti and then Michigan.

Steven J. Morse was born 28th July 1954. Morse became interested in guitar as a child while watching a man at a county fair finger picking a Dixie melody. He was also familiar with the piano and clarinet. Morse briefly worked with his brother Dave in a band called “The Plague”. In the late 60’s his family moved to Augusta, Georgia where Morse played with his brother in another band called “Three”. He was enrolled in the Academy of Richmond County where he met bassist Andy West. They used to play together until Morse was expelled from school in 10th grade for refusing to cut his hair, but which also lead him to his enrollment in the University of Miami School of Music. Andy West soon enrolled at the same university and they, together with drummer Bart Yarnall, keyboardist Frank Josephs and Violinist Allen Sloan rehearsed together and performed many of Morse’s compositions that gave him credibility at the university as a composer and guitarist. The group made a recording used for promotional efforts in 1975, which was later released as “The Great Spectacular” in 1997. Morse’s musical styles included: rock, funk, country, jazz, classical and fusion of these musical genres.

After graduation from university in 1975, he and Andy West officially named their group becoming “Dixie Dregs”. The band’s injured drummer was shortly after replaced by Rod Morgenstein. The band played on a regular basis gaining more recognition and a heavy work schedule that by 1976 they had landed a recording deal with Capricorn Records. By 1978 the band’s sound had matured greatly releasing the album “What If” which had a style of southern rock, classical, folk and country elements combined to form a multitude of passion and highly listenable music. “Dixie Dregs” had a good run up until about 1983 when the band members had enough of the constant gigging and disbanded. Morse then began to put together the band “The Steve Morse Band” with bassist Jerry Peek and drummer Doug Morgan (later replaced by Rod Morgenstein.) The group was signed up by Elektra Records and began touring in Germany in 1984. They toured with the band “Rush”, also a main opener on their Power Windows tour. In 1986 Morse joined the band “Kansas”. He played in two of their albums released – “Power” and “In the Spirit of Things”. Morse received a co-writing credit to one of the band’s songs “All I Wanted” which had reached the billboard top 20, the band’s last major hit song. He soon left the band afterwards and worked as a commercial airline co-pilot from 1987-1988. Since 1993 Morse has been in the band “Deep Purple” playing in four studio albums as well as seven of their live albums. Additionally to this band, Morse formed another band with four other excellent musicians called “Living Loud” in 2003. The produced a live DVD in 2004/2005 and one studio album, and it is reported that Morse and band co-member Bob Daisley have started work on their new studio album set to release in 2011.

Steve Morse has been well known through his career for using harmonics and improvising them in songs during live performances. He can play highly complex chord structures in classical sequences, as well as being able to play fast- alternate picked arpeggios.