Band: Morgan Rose
Album: Controlled Chaos
Label/Vertrieb: Rise Records / BMG
Overturning expectations indicates growth. Countless fans worldwide associate Morgan Rose with his position behind the drumkit for GRAMMY®Award-nominated platinum hard rock institution Sevendust. At the very mention of his name, you can practically picture those braids flailing as he bashes the skins like his life depends on it. Over the course of his nearly 25-year career, he’s collaborated live or in the studio with Mötley Crüe, Korn, Zakk Wylde, Butch Walker, Methods of Mayhem, and countless others in addition to co-founding Call Me No One with his Sevendust brother Clint Lowery. Along the way, he graced the cover of DRUM! Magazine and emerged as the “#1 Metal Drummer,”according to Modern Drummer in 2004.
Handling vocals, piano, arrangements, and of course, drums, he presents the full scope of his musical persona on his debut EP, Controlled Chaos [Rise Records].
“It’s interesting,” he smiles. “Audiences have heard me scream on Sevendust songs, but I don’t think this sounds like anything you’d expect. I didn’t believe it was me!It starts with what you might anticipate and from there, it’s like, ‘What the hell is this?’To sing these lyrics and have the songs come from me was therapeutic.”
For years, Morgan kicked around the idea of a potential solo project. As the world endured the Global Pandemic, hedove headfirst into what would become Controlled Chaos. With encouragement and the first tune from Clint, he finally took the leap in 2020. They unlocked a different chemistry altogether with Morgan on the microphone. Rise Records heard it and immediately signed him.
“Then it was real,” he recalls. “I’d nonchalantly pillow-talked the idea for a few years, and Clint was always pushing me. We were in the middle of the Pandemic, and I wanted to do something to get my mind off this shit. Once Rise was into it, I said to Clint, ‘I need some more music!’ It was a heavy challenge to sing, but it was something I’m glad I did.”
With Clint on guitar and Jason Christopher [Corey Taylor, Prong] on bass, Morgan tracked six songs in less than ten days at The Lairin Culver City, CA. He introduces the EP with the first single “The Answer.” Thick guitars encircle a heavy beat as his voices rises from vulnerable verses into a hypnotic hook, “Stop and realize, I’m not the answer.”
“It’s about a narcissist,” he states. “A lot of the record is based on my interactions, trying to let people see their ways. They lean on you for help and don’t take it.”
The downtempo groove and slow chug of “Faster Man” underscores a sweeping vocal performance between glassy keys. Clean guitar colors “Clarity” with light melody as Morgan’s intimate intonation intrigues and entrances. “It’s the feeling of washing away the day, so you can start fresh tomorrow,” he says. “I’m getting rid of the turmoil, stopping my mind, and finding a way to restart.”
The aggressive “Come Alive” takes aim at internet toxicity where “If you have an opinion, there’s no way you’re going to come out unscathed.” Solo piano and delicate orchestration echo on the finale “Exhale.”Over this minimalist soundscape without drums, his voice stretches into a heartfelt high register as he surveys one of the lowest points of his life in 2019.
“It’s probably the deepest I’ve ever gone lyrically,” he admits. “I’ve had semi-documented issues with my own problems. I think a lot of us wonder, ‘How many people will show up at my funeral?’I was in a pretty good place before I got sick and ended up in the hospital last year, and I was in a great place after getting better. I was able to look and see what the reaction would be if something catastrophic happened to me. I was blown away. I had gotten myself together and made it through a tough time. I was able to see how much everyone around me really cared. It was humbling. Everybody has a story and their own struggles. I wanted to semi-document how I felt being in a bad place and getting to a good place.”
In the end, he chronicles the whole journey with no holds barred on Controlled Chaos.
“It got my mind and body in better shape, because I had to figure out what to do and think outside the box,” he leaves off. “For the last twenty-plus years, my life has been dictated to me, ‘Do a record. Get on the bus. Go on tour. Be away from your family. Come home. Do it all over again’. This year, it was like, ‘What are you going to do? You can’t do nothing.’ I had to face myself a lot more. You can neglect yourself really easily. I figured out how to navigate through life. I gained a lot out of it. I’m much stronger than I was five years ago. Hopefully, it’s inspirational in that aspect. I’m ready for whatever’s next.”