Country Music

Duct Tape Messiah Redux

Part of a storied singer-songwriter scene, former Houstonians Gurf Morlix and Blaze Foley were living in Montrose during the Urban Cowboy craze but were not impressed. In fact, according to Morlix, they worked so much they "hardly ever had a night off, and if we did we certainly weren't going to drive out to Pasadena to some fake cowboy joint." Somewhat ironically, we had just interviewed Mickey Gilley moments before calling Morlix to discuss his gig and the showing of the documentary Blaze Foley: The Duct Tape Messiah at Anderson Fair Friday night. Morlix, who released an entire album of Foley covers last year, Blaze Foley's 113th Wet Dream, spent all of 2011 traveling with the film, usually performing a set of Foley songs after each showing. We caught up with the Grammy winner at his studio in Austin.

Rocks Off: Is the Blaze Foley phase winding down for you or does it have more legs?

Gurf Morlix: I think I'm about done with it. I devoted all of 2011 to Blaze and the film and my album, but I've got other stuff to do this year.

RO:What's on the agenda?

GM: I'm about half done producing an album on this guy from Florida, Grant Peeples. I did his last album. It looks like I'm going to produce an album of Malcolm Holcombe. And I'm going to do another album of my stuff. The songs are all written, I just need to record them.

RO: What's on tap for your next album?

GM: Really it's just a continuation of what I've been doing. I don't expect there will be big changes or anything out of whatever ordinary is for me. I've got about thirty songs, so I just need to pare down my list and do it. I'm looking forward to getting back to that after a couple of years away from that. I really love my job.

RO: You toured with movie all year, what are the best memories that came out of that.

GM: You know, we went out there and just made fifty or sixty new fans for Blaze each time we did a show. That was good for my soul. One thing that really sticks out is that we took the film to Holland and Germany. The Dutch were fairly knowledgeable about Blaze and his work, but the Germans were coming to something brand new. They knew Townes [van Zandt], they knew Guy Clark, but they really didn't know Blaze. So it was very heart-warming to have so many people come up after the shows and thank us for enlightening them about Blaze. That is a great feeling, and it happened a lot.

RO: Did you and Blaze ever go to Gilley's during the whole Urban Cowboy craze?

GM: [laughs] Actually, the Urban Cowboy craze was what got Blaze started applying duct tape to his clothes. These people were going to the western stores and buying all these boots tipped with silver, shirts with silver tips on the collars, etc. I remember going in a western store over by the Galleria one day and there's Andy Warhol and Jerry Hall and all these chic New York people buying up that stuff. Anyway, Blaze started applying duct tape to his boots and to his shirts and coats to make fun of those people. It's kind of a shame we never went out to Gilley's with him dressed in that get-up. But probably best that we didn't.

RO: If this is going to be one of your last gigs supporting the film, what is your impression of it after seeing it numerous times?

GM: It's just a very sweet, touching film, and I think it pays the right amount of respect without sugar-coating Blaze too much. I think he'd like it.

9:00 p.m., Friday, January 20, Anderson Fair, 2007 Grant, 832-767-2785

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William Michael Smith