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Rob Morrow Tells Us About "Tyranny Of Beauty," TV, and Influences

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Rob Morrow is probably best known for his starring role on TV’s Northern Exposure, for which he earned two Emmy nominations. Outside of writing and acting for television, stage, and film though, he’s always had a passion for music, and now thanks to his fans on PledgeMusic, he’s creating his debut album with The Rob Morrow Band. We recently got the opportunity to speak with him a bit about the recording process and what it’s like to be such a renaissance man generally.

How has the recording process been for your debut album?

RM: Most of this LP has been produced by Steve Postell in his own studio. Though Taylor Sparks produced “New, New Face”, because we wanted a more pop sound for that one song. The way we work is pretty straight forward. We lay down some kind of guide track, then a scratch vocal, then bring the musicians, then build and build, layer and layer. Experiment. The beauty of the studio environment is inchoate potential. Love recording, but always trying to get a live vibe into the sound. I love the intimacy, the world of recording studios. The creative space has a spiritual element, where ultimate potential is available if one listens and waits for it.

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Why release “New, New Face" first? Does the song bear any special meaning to you?

RM: “New, New Face” feels very relevant to our time; we think we can paint away our troubles. Also, it has a cool groove and hook and we thought it could get some attention. It’s a fun song w/a deeper meaning…

What made you make the shift from acting to writing music?

RM: I’m still acting/directing/producing. Creativity is my vocation. Music is in me and when I started writing, only about 10 years ago (though have played music my whole life), songs started pouring out. I am forever in search of expression that is mine (or at least partially). Most of acting is interpreting other people’s ideas, as is directing. It’s why I like to improv, but not all situations allow for that.

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How did you and Carlos Calvo first team up and start writing music together?

RM: I’ve played guitar since my early 20’s, (and drums since I was 7) basically so I could accompany myself. I love to sing. About 10 years ago I wanted to up my game playing guitar. Carlos was recommended to me as a teacher. He has taught some great people; Adam Levine, among others. He is one of the best teachers I’ve ever had. He is great at drawing you out, not imposing. That is a rare and great quality it a teacher of an art form. I asked Carlos for some help w/ my early attempts at songwriting and that led to one of the most satisfying collaborations I’ve ever had. We’ve written a lot of music by now, and have only just begun to record it. We compliment and offset each other in a harmonious way.

Do you think your music fits into a specific music genre or do you think it borrows from multiple forms?

RM: We like to think of our music as Soulful Rock & Funky Pop

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The outro on “Tyranny of Beauty” has a cool Grateful Dead vibe/sound. Would you say there are any other artists that inspired you while writing this album?

RM: I love the reference of the Grateful Dead. We didn’t intend that outro, but it sounded so cool, we thought why not leave it. There are 2 versions, one w/ and one w/o. So many artists inspire me. I’m a bit of an esthete, I love beauty in art. And I love stories. I love melody. I feel if you listen closely you can feel the different references and inspirations in the music and you’d probably be right.

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