Thursday, May 19, 2005
The Morning Reigns
Al Gore, yer a genius. This internet thing, man, you nailed it. I can buy a Makita 1500 rpm buffer for my Airstream, which cannot be found in a retail store in Portland, and have it delivered to my door overnight. I can see my Grandfather’s Ellis Island records with a few clicks of a mouse, and a picture of the boat he came over on. I can sell an old shitty pocketwatch I found in the bottom of my sock drawer for $185.00. And as an indie artist, self-producing CDs, and without the backing of a major record company, I can still reach the world with my music. Dude, you rock.
Lately I have received a plethora of emails regarding my old band, The Morning Reign. It kind of blows my mind how many lives we touched, all those years ago. People I haven’t heard from in years have written just to say hi. People have written to say remember me? People have written with memories and stories. And just this week, I have received a letter from the son of one of our old band members, who is putting a scrapbook of music and photos together as a gift for his Dad. What a blast!
The Morning Reign was born in Salem, Oregon, at Willamette University, where most of us were students. We always had six members. Over the 5 years that I was in the band, we had few personnel changes. In sum, 12 young men made music in The Morning Reign, over that period of time. We started as a 3 chord frat band, (these days we say “garage” band), playing songs like “Louie Louie” and “Gloria”, but by the time we were wrapping it up, we were a solid rock band.
The Morning Reign played all the Northwest and California venues, The Salem Armory, The Portland Coliseum, The Seattle Coliseum, The Pythian, on and on, in addition to every funky VFW Hall, jeep-stuffed small town armory, and smoky bar. We released 5 or 6 singles independently, including one unfortunate psychedelic version of The Four Top's “Reach Out, I’ll Be There”, and one Dennis Lambert penned and produced single tiltled “Can I Believe In You”, with the backing of Paramount. Last I heard, you could still find that one on the internet. Since it wasn’t a hit, I am sure there are boxes of them somewhere.
But most of our memorabilia has been finally resigned to the dusty closets of 4 or 5 fifty somethings, those of us who are savers, and I admit to a big boxful of my own, music and press clippings, mostly, lying somewhere waayyyyyyy behind shirts I havent worn in years.
A few people who have written to me have expessed some confusion regarding the band’s name. There was a band in California, during the same period of time, named “Mourning Reign”, with a “u”. It is a complete coincidence. “The Mourning Reign” from California had a couple of LP releases, and were more jazz based than we were, or as I have written to others, were actual musicians. I have never heard their music, but I have read a bit about them on the web, and apparently they had a following. In a rockin’ battle of the bands tho, we woulda kicked their pansy ass.
See some photos of the Morning Reign here