The Danny Morris Band
The Danny Morris Band
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The Danny Morris Band
  Dick Conklin - The Marathon Weekly - 12/05/04
Surfs Up! Sixties Music Headed for the Keys

    In the 1960s we lived in Cocoa Beach, Florida, where surf music and sixties rock dominated the local music scene. Bobby Cash's band ruled at Lee Caron's Carnival Club, the area's biggest music venue right in the heart of town at the corner of AIA and the 520 Causeway.
     History sometimes repeats itseff, and 40 years later a surf band from Cocoa Beach is again rocking audiences, includ- ing here in the Keys. Danny Morris is much too young to have experienced beach music when it first appeared on the scene, but that hasn't stopped him from playing it just the way it used to sound.
    The Danny Morris Band is nine years old, but Danny previously played for five years with The Nighthawks in Washington, DC, where he released two CDs, including a live concert, "Rock This House," in 1993. Since then the Danny Morris Band has recorded three CDs on New Moon Records, "I Won't Worry" (1995), "Storm Surge" (1997) and "The Golden Prize" in 2001. They have opened for headliner Jerry Lee Lewis and performed at the Longboard Surf Contests in Ocean City, New Jersey. They have also appeared with bluesman BB King, Johnny Winter, Peter Tosh, and The Smithereens.
    Danny, a singer/guitar player who grew up in Charlotte and Chapel Hill, North Carolina, took a break from touring in 2002 to attend Full Sail College in Orlando, where he earned a degree in audio engineering and video production. After a short stint as a sound designer in an Orlando production house, he moved to Cocoa Beach.
     When they are home in Cocoa Beach, The Danny Morris Band performs at Coconuts' Tuesday Night Surf Party, a breezy outdoor venue right on the beach. They are currently on a national tour, arriving back in the Keys this Thursday after a hectic swing through Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware and Virginia.
     Fans of all ages enjoy the band's music, which is perfect for a night of partying and dancing. Danny Morris describes his band as "influenced by the guitar-based sounds of the blues and '60's surf music. I try to combine my favorite sounds to create something new, throwing in lots of reverb tones and jumping rhythms. I call it 'surf-blues'. But, really it's a combination of all the great sounds of the 50's and 60's. It's something like the T-Birds play- ing California Surf Music," be says.
    Drummer Chris Waldron is originally from New Jersey, and has lived in both Southern California and Texas. He played with various bands, including Greg Allman, Floyd Dixon, Sonny Rhodes, Bob Greenlee and others. Bass man Mike Tolnay grew up in Cocoa Beach and has plaved with several Florida bands. He toured with keyboardist Steve Miller until Steve's death in 2003.
    In addition to playing a lot of familiar surf and sixties music, the band plays several songs written by Morris, including "Violated," "You're Mine," "Storm Surge," "Women From Pluto," and "Navajo Spaceship." Cover songs are borrowed from a variety of sixties groups like The Ventures, Perez Prado, Link Wray, The Beatles, Albert CoUins, Freddie King, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Chuck Berry, Martin Denny, Buddy Holly, Santana, Los Lobos, and Dick Dale.
    When they aren't on the road, Danny books the band, writes and records new material. He also likes to surf and fly air- planes. Chris does some carpentry and likes long walks in the moonlight. Mike has a family pool cleaning business and enjoys watching wrestling.
    Danny says he and the band hope to play bigger venues in the fature and "tour more smart than hard. We'd like to get the opening spot for a big-time act to expose what we do to more people. We already tour hard, but one big venue show can equal 100 small club gigs in terms of how people perceive the band. And, we hope to get more airplay with new original tunes and sounds and hope folks will dig it. I'd like to get more soundtrack work for TV and film projects. I've done sever al in the past and really enjoy that kind of work."
    Danny says the band always looks for- ward to Keys gigs. "It's always a great time playing in the Keys," he says. "The response we receive from you folks is great. We get treated like big shots or something! I mean, we'll walk into a club and it's like, 'Your money's no good here. What do you want to drink?' Or people will e-mail us and say they've planned a whole vacation around our Keys schedule. So, we always look forward to playing the Keys."
    Fans of the Danny Morris Band won't have to wait much longer. The band opens their Florida Keys tour at Marathon's Hurricane Bar and Grille this Thursday, December 9th. They then go to The Schooner Wharf in Key West on Friday and Saturday, December 10th and 11th.
    If you miss them this time, they'll be back at The Hurricane during "Hell Week," Monday, December 27th thru Wednesday December 29th, returning to the Hurricane on Thursday, January 13 and back in Key West at The Green Parrot on January 14th thru the 16th.
    The band has a great Web site at, and they can also be reached via e-mail at Also by phone at (321) 784-8487.
    If you think that playing in a rock band is all fun and games, Danny says he is often asked to perform special duties at the venues he performs at, many of them unpaid. Like the time he was "forced at gunpoint" to serve as a judge at a spring break bikini contest. For proof, check out his Web site's photo gallery, under "Spring Break, Florida. 3/2001."

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