Growth spurts can be hell. Max Morgan's was heaven-sent. The young Liverpudlian was merrily following in father Barry Venison's football hero footsteps, when, circa age 13, he began growing. And growing. For three years. The ensuing knee pain was so intense that he stopped sprinting and took a load off - with musical instruments in his lap. Umpteen lessons (on a variety of instruments) and uprootings (Newcastle, Turkey, Southampton, Orange County) later, Morgan is ready to unleash a torrent of spirited pop-rock in the form of debut album 'Interrupting the Silence.'
A potent collection of plaintive piano-slaked ballads and up-tempo anthems, Silence owes its versatility to Morgan's appreciation of working-class rock on both sides of the Atlantic. "In England, everybody who was around me from an early age, we all liked American music," he notes, adding that his father introduced him to the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Guns N' Roses and Bruce Springsteen. "I think it's because we wanted what we didn't have - the grass is always greener. My 'English thing' happened when I moved here. That's when I discovered Oasis and U2." He considers this and laughs: "It was actually inverted."
Twisted chronology notwithstanding, Morgan developed a passion for performing, and doing the heavy lifting on his own after various band experiments. ("I like to have the reins," he freely admits. "I think it would dilute what I wanted to say if I were to give it to four or five guys who would chop it up because of their egos.") Luckily, he found a perfect sounding board in Chime Entertainment president Marc Tanner (The Calling, Aerosmith, Madonna), who produced Silence and filled in blanks as needed. While the delicate, confessional power ballad single "Wait for Me" will undoubtedly have fans flicking their Bics (or iPhones) in concert, Morgan doesn't have a preference between the heavy and soft sell. "If I was to go and see a show, am I going to want to hear the same song 12 times?" he posits. "Probably not. That's why you can hear the diversity on the album. When I hear an album, I would like to hear all the different facets of somebody's personality."
'Interrupting the Silence' offers precisely that. It's an earnest documentation of Morgan's transcontinental journey to the precipice of pop-rock stardom, capturing all the emotional turmoil such ambition entails. "The album gives you a very good idea of where I was at that point in my life," he says. "It's about me leaving what I know to go and do what I would like to do." That exploratory vibe is perhaps best captured on the record's penultimate track, the driven 'Feel (Whoever You Are).' "If you're feeling a sense of impulsiveness, it's because that's what it's about," Morgan confirms. "That was my time in Orange County; that was me moving to Hollywood. It's demanding what isn't there and the frustration of not having what I wanted."
Indeed, Morgan is a restless soul. He's fully aware of the glaring lack of icons in the modern pop lexicon, and strives for the same electric connection he shared with his heroes growing up. "I want those iconic figures; they're just not there right now," he laments. "It's a bit sad. By no means am I trying to suggest that I'm going to be filling that void by any stretch of the imagination, but that's something I strive for - to be a frontman so identifiable that when people go to the show they know they're going to get something entertaining and more than just a set of 10 songs.
"I'm just dipping my feet in the pool right now," he concludes mischievously. "I want to get in the deep end."