Camp Freddy's Billy Morrison talks American politics, Tropical Storm Isaac and great cover songs
The good news: California delegates will get their private concert by rock ‘n’ roll supergroup Camp Freddy after all.
The bad news: Thanks to Tropical Storm Isaac, two prominent members will not be on the bill.
Guitarist Dave Navarro and bassist Chris Chaney will miss the gig – which was rescheduled from Monday to Tuesday – because their other band, Jane’s Addiction, has a concert in Utah Tuesday night.
But Camp Freddy guitarist and mastermind Billy Morrison says delegates will still be in for a treat. He’s planning to bring five guest performers to the stage, including a secret headliner who’s an arena-filling rocker in his own right.
“Obviously it’s all been a little touch and go,” said Morrison, who landed in Tampa on Sunday. “It’s been one of the most fluid situations I’ve ever been involved in. I mean, Camp Freddy is known for doing strange gigs, and interesting gigs, but this one definitely goes in the top 10. I’ve never actually flown into a hurricane.”
Monday’s private party was to be the first event at the elaborate, 30,000-square-foot 1 OAK pop-up tent at Curtis Hixon Park. But after Day 1 of the Republican National Convention on Monday was largely canceled, the party got pushed to Tuesday.
Still, any Camp Freddy gig is an event. The group only plays about 12 or 15 shows per year, mostly corporate gigs. And while they’re essentially a cover band, they’re a cover band that features some of rock’s biggest names, including drummer Matt Sorum (Guns N’ Roses) and singer Donovan Leitch, son of folk singer Donavan. Filling in for Navarro and Chaney in Tampa will be lead guitarist Steve Stevens (Billy Idol) and Patrick Cornell (Circus Diablo), Morrison said.
Morrison said the band usually has a few songs they play at most shows, but the rest of their setlist depends on the night’s guest vocalists. Previous guests have included Ozzy Osbourne, Lou Reed, Steven Tyler and Billie Joe Armstrong.
“Every single song we play is a song that makes people go, ‘Oh my god, they’re playing that song!’ That’s the whole point of Camp Freddy,” he said.
Morrison said the band has taken some grief from fans for playing the Republican National Convention, but he points out they’re also playing another private gig at next week’s Democratic National Convention.
“Obviously the individual members of Camp Freddy may or may not have their own individual political views,” said Morrison, who is English. ”We actually don’t sit around talking politics. We talk about rock ‘n’ roll. But as a band, we are bipartisan.”
Morrison had planned to spend the rest of this week scuba-diving around Florida. But that was before Isaac settled in. Now, he says, he’s been invited to a few parties and events – he’s looking forward to Kid Rock, another former Camp Freddy guest, on Wednesday – but for the most part, he’ll be content just to relax.
As for the rest of the political spectacle that’s consuming Tampa? Being from England, he has nothing to compare it to.
“Basically, you wake up one morning and they tell you who’s running the country,” he said. “I can pull that English card: ‘I wasn’t raised in your system, so I don’t really understand it. But I love that we get to play rock ‘n’ roll.’”
-- Jay Cridlin, tbt*