A tribute to the late Billy Morley
Karl Tsigdinos tribute to Billy
Uncle Karl Tsigdonis tribute to the late great Billy Morley, this audio was first played on Karl's Saturday night radio show Shaking' Street.
Many thanks to Karl for supplying this audio of Billy playing with Revolver & The Teen Commandments. Images supplied by Kevin Helly, Patrick Brocklebank, Stephen Averill, Dave Moloney, In Dublin & Hot Press.
Phil Byrne Just back from Billy Morley's service. I'm grateful that I got to see him. It was a sad but great day. Story sharing with Dave Moloney Pete Holidai Karl Tsigdinos Steve Averill and Jonny B.
All the great tales about Billy the man who was not only my hero but a lot of peoples. I was fortunate and blessed to share a stage with and write songs with him for several years.
Billy you changed my life when I walked into the garage to audition for Revolver in '76 and the fact I made it in the music business is in a lot of ways down to you and the confidence you gave and are still giving me.
The fact that were several hundred people at the service is a testimony to his character and talent. Rita we are all here for you always.
RIP Billy my brother until we meet again.
I first met Billy when he and I worked for the Irish record chain Golden Discs. I immediately recruited him (and Pete Holidai) for a then-unnamed band. I didn't even know if either could play; they just looked cool. Billy and I remained close friends from that time on.
Subsequently, we worked together in an advertising agency. Billy was also a very talented illustrator and graphic designer, and he had a long career in RTE's graphics department,
He was, perhaps, the most underrated guitarist of his generation and was extremely modest about his talent, as well as being incredibly shy about performing on a stage – something that held him back from achieving his due. He had a real natural talent that all those who played with him recognised.
His career took him from pre-Radiators from Space rehearsals through to stints with Revolver, The Teen Commandments and The Defenders, as well as a return to the touring band of The Radiators following the release of Ghostown. Most recently, he had a stint with Lucky Bones.
He was always interested in music and that was a passion for him during his all too short life.
Billy was not without his demons and during his later years these resulted in ill-health. However he never lost his sense of humour and whenever we met or talked on the phone, I always finished the conversation with a smile and a laugh.
I will miss him greatly, as will his wife Rita, his family and friends.
A light has gone out. R.I.P.
1977 - 1979
Revolver were formed in late '76 or early '77 by Kevin, Billy & Johnny. Kevin & Johnny had been in a band called Chevrolet & Billy had been in Greta Garbage & The Trash Cans before they joined forces to become Revolver.
They took their name an musical style from the Beatles "Revolver" album. They would often been seen in "Beatles" style 60's jackets.
Revolver were the first of the "New Wave" bands to play the Celebrity Club. Kevin & Phil were passing the venue one day and the door was open so they went in side and talked the manger into giving Revolver a gig. For some reason he gave them the slot after "Stepaside" (an Irish showband). After playing only two numbers Revolver had managed to empty the venue, despite this the manager like their music and gave them a regular Friday night slot.
Although Revolver were one of the best bands around at the time and they had a large & loyal following, they never manage to sign a deal. They did record about 12 or 13 demo songs at the Lombard Studio in Dublin, including "You Won't Know What Hit You", "Resign", "One More Chance", "Man On Strife", "Bombscare Thoroughfare", "Stay Young Stay Free", "Cloak And Dagger". The last two tracks featured Mick McDonnagh on sax, Revolver hoped that this would be their second single. Phil took it to London with the hope of getting a record deal with a British Record company.
Revolver played all the main Dublin venues, Moran's Hotel (with The Radiators from Space), McGonagles, UCD & Trinity College. They were the first New Wave band to play the Celebrity Club. The Vipers & Revolver headlined the first New Wave festival at the Project Arts Centre in 1977. Revolver gave The Hype (U2) support slots at the Celebrity Club in March '78 before their trip to Limerick.
Billy also worked on "Heat" fanzine with Jude Carr & Pete Price, most of the cartoons were drawn by Billy.
They split in July '79, there was no big bust up between band members just a lack of a good song writer in the band to bring in much need new material. They had also become tired of playing live. Their final gig was at McGonagle's in July '79.
When Revolver split Kevin had some tracks he wanted to record, so he formed a one off studio band called the Reasons. The Reasons were Kevin Helly, Pete Holidai, Dave Moloney, Phil Byrne, Billy Morley, The Edge & Gaby Smith. Irelands first supergroup, this was also the first time a member of U2 would record anything with another band. They recorded 3 tracks, at the Lombard Studios in Dublin, "My Baby Left Me", written by Kevin & Phil, "Private World", written by Pete & "Something Is Better Than Nothing" written by Phil. Phil & Dave would join forces again in Teen Commandments & Rhythm Kings.
Billy Morley left the band to join up with The Radiators from Space, he left Radiators after about 6 months. He grew sick of being in London and returned home to Dublin.
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