Hollywood Gazette Band Review- Spiritdome by Loretta Milazzo- 5/23/1990
What is a spiritdome? Everyone has one, even though few people know what it is and fewer still know how to use theirs. Los Angeles singer-songwriter, Kim Morris, founder of Spiritdome, the band, reveals that her original intention in naming the project was to describe the dome of the head, which in Eastern thought is believed to be the first dome that an individual passes through on [their] way through the spirit world. "Now I think of the name Spiritdome more as the house of the spirit, as if the band were a refuge for souls," adds Morris.
The analogy is fitting because whether she sings of inner strength in the face of adversity or love gone bad, the songs delight and inspire. Much of the magic that Spiritdome ignites is due to the strong chemistry between Morris and...guitarist Rich Mouser, whom she met four years ago when she was a solo artist.
There are several things that set Spiritdome apart and above the usual local fare. One side of the coin is Morris' powerful, original vocal style. Attempts to compare her to other female rockers fall short and she herself pointed out the reason why. "I'm much more influenced by male vocal styles," she explains. And sure enough, the performers she names - Steven Tyler (Aerosmith), Robert Plant (Led Zeppelin), and Jim Morrison (The Doors) - best describe the gutsy approach so rare (unfortunately) in female singers. Add to this her feline sensuality and mystery and the result is a potential new star on the horizon.
The other side of the musical coin is Mouser's incredible guitar maneuvering. Regardless of how hard he rocks or how many licks he plays, there is always well-crafted melody present. At the conclusion of the band's live set, a group of fans cluster around him in a state of "guitarist awe.
Although the band's debut release, "Go With The Flow," expressed a more positive, spiritual frame of mind, perhaps, than the later material, there is undoubtedly more "hit" potential in the arrangements on the new [album], even if that wasn't the intended result. Either way, the growth in songwriting is definitely evident.
This soon-to-be-released independent [album], Fires, offers nine radio-ready tracks, [some] of which are Morris-Mouser collaborations. They rock hard on songs such as "Freedom," inspired by the massacre at Tiananmen Square, and "Why Why Why," with its edgy blues groove. They soothe and elate with acoustic guitar and a variety of Indian instruments on "Butterfly." Morris even throws in a couple of female revenge tunes which, she says, were "good therapy" for her [at the time.]
Morris, who delved into the music scene early on as an adolescent, is encouraged by the changes she sees in the LA scene back toward the supportive musical arena she witnessed then. Now teenagers approach her with excitement about the band and her message, which she hopes marks a reversal in the competitive, jaded attitude of recent years.
Will "Fires" catch on? Go see for yourself.
New Times Weekly - New Wave Day by Suzin Coleman - Show Review- 6/4/1980
Last week's New Wave Day at Legend City was only the first in a series of reforms planned for our valley of cultural darkness. A succession of LA bands may play at the Star System in Tempe, and a weekly one-hour radio show of strictly New Wave is being pushed. "Everyone is so bummed out about Phoenix but no one is willing to anything about it," says Mike Modern, bassist for The Nervous and one of the instigators of the plans. The Nervous is Phoenix's best New Wave band and our only exclusively original band. With the mastermind keyboards [and vocals] of Kim O. Therapy (aka, Kim Morris), and singer Bill Bored spitting and snarling love songs, The Nervous has better material, better stage presence, and more talent than most other local bands.[At New Wave Day] they played after [high energy Tucson band, The Pills], a tough act to follow, but [The Nervous are] the only band I know of who can not only handle it, but make it all look like its to their advantage. Working closely with The Star System gives Modern [bassist for The Nervous] an opportunity to help change Phoenix's club scene by bringing in LA bands to offer a better variety and an alternative to...[tiring]...of the same three or four local [cover band] staples.
New Times Wkly- Album Review- 10/1980 by KUPD's "Monster" Album Sampler
Damn Straight" Phoenix's Best New Rock 90:
The article photo depicts a crazy- looking, long haired, wierdly grinning man who is shoving a vinyl LP cover with the letters "KUPD-FM" emblazoned across the front. The caption reads, "Suprisingly modern record produced by Dave Albert of Gila Monster Studios."
KUPD-FM [Phoenix's rock radio station] agreed to a quasi-independently produced, KUPD- promoted album, half New Wave and half Rock. "Damn Straight" Phoenix's Best New Rock 80 [is] Phoenix's first radio sponsored New Wave sampler.
Side one, the New Wave side, begins with The Nervous doing "TV Static," complete with Walter Chronkite talking backwards. "I had to get on my knees for The Nervous," [says Albert]. And why didn't The Nervous want to be on a KUPD album? "Because [KUPD is] a rock-n-roll station and they (The Nervous) didn't want their cut coming on after Llory MacDonald, and then they have a thing (an EP called 2x2 with Johnny D.)" [Their track for the KUPD album] is The Nervous's usual power and professionalism. Albert did all the work on "Damn Straight" Phoenix, much to his accomplishment. He chose most of the bands, recorded and mixed most cuts, and every one of the 50 minutes is packed with good music.
TWO Performance Announcements by ANTI-CLUB, LA, CA- 5/28/1987
Put on your old tire-tread sandals and light up some incense for Spiritdome, featuring a real, actual Hippie chick, Kim Ayrie Morris, former solo act Dance of Shiva.
New Times Weekley- 2 X 2 by K-15 by Bob Henschen- Album Review- 12/1980
Mod waxing for The Nervous/X-Streams:
The competition between rock radio stations can be fierce out there. [In Phoenix] two of the FM giants, KUPD and KDKB, are both putting out low-priced LPs designed to win your loyalties in a war of wax. Then there is K-15, [Phoenix's new modern station, which] has joined the local band sampler fray with 2 X 2, a record...that reflects Program Director Johnny D's soft spot for whatever is new and novel. 2 X 2 has two songs each by two of Phoenix's most original mod squads, The Nervous and X-Streams, who showcased both their record and their performing styles in a special concert last week at Dooley's. Both bands stood up well to comparison with the vaunted LA group "X," which [headlined] the bill. Kim O. Therapy's (Kim Morris) "Black Dress" could and should compete with anything the west coast power poppers have to offer, and its on a par with another of her songs that previous got K-15 airplay, "Only One Night."
Bay Area Live Band Review- Berkeley, CA 1982 by
SF's Contractions Get Funky at Berkeley Square:
[Mary Kelley's] "sparse, subtractive guitar style is an open invitation to keyboard/synthesizer player Kim Morris. The ensuing dialogue evolves into some exquisite punk funk scrimmage. The key to maintaining a dynamic stability between anarchy and organization lies in Kim's musical sensibilities. Her playing reflects a thorough understanding of the American minimalist-funk tradition (James Brown, Sly Stone, Parliament-Funkadelic, Tower of Power), and her voice is powerful and commanding."
Arizona State Press- The Doctors check up by Eric Searleman - Band Review - 3/4/1980
The average band starts working up its act in some small town and later relocates to one of America's centers for opportunity - New York or LA - to make a bid for the big time. The Doctors, however, are never ones to be an average group of musicians and free thinkers who moved away from LA to come to Phoenix. The make or break quality for every band is how well the live show works. It becomes obvious early that The Doctors understand this fact. Singer Rat is a bundle of nervous energy, using his guitar as more of a prop than a musical instrument. Modern has all the Buddy Holly moves down pat (quivering knees and all), and keyboard player [KIM MORRIS] just might be the topping on the already sweet desert. Her on-stage image is not unlike leading women in movies by John Waters. Not that she is obscenely fat or vulgar, but her attire and performing quirks make the reference plausible. Because of this strong stage show, audiences have been known to sit back and take in the visuals, leaving the dance floor consequently empty.
Arizona Republic Close-Ups - New Waves by Judy Hille- Interview- May 9, 1981
Spunky subculture spawns shocking hairstyles:
Kim O. Therapy (her chosen alias) is a singer/songwriter with a local band, The Nervous. Now 25, she has had her hair "every color under the rainbow" since she was 18 and living in Los Angeles. "It's not done for shock or ego," Ms. Therapy stated. "It's just changing with your moods. I firmly believe nothing is really new. My hairstyle right now was probably worn in ancient Egypt." She said she has experienced many reactions, most often shock, which "usually manifests in rude laughter or viciousness." Many people "in their 80's and 90's love it," she says, "because they say they are reminded of the silent movie queens." Indeed, Theda Bara had skin as pale and clear as hers, a dramatic contrast to the black tousled hair and darkly made up eyes. "I'm just a bright bird who likes to change her feathers. It's about pleasing myself. I used to change my hair color just to create new outfits - it's fun." When she lived in LA, a Sassoon hairdresser in Beverly Hills once spent 3 hours bleaching the ends of her hair, leaving 2 inches of color at the roots, she said. "It's really quite an art - think of it in that respect.
Arizona Republic- Punk life: "It just happens" by Judy Hille - Close-Up- 5/9/1981
By the end of the evening Kim O. Therapy (Kim Morris) was on her back - her Emma Peel boots sticking straight up, arms flung out at her sides. For the last couple of hours, while men and women bobbed and jerked spastically on [The Star System's] neo-disco [dance] floor she had wailed and whooped and pounded out a strong, steady beat on the keyboards until the finale had drained her of the last note and chord and left her in a heap on the club's floor. So much for a good night's work. [Kim plays] with The Nervous, a [popular local] punk rock band. Tonight it seems Kim wants to look the part of a human candy cane in her red and white striped shirt and red and white striped knee socks. "I don't preconceive any of my outfits - they just happen - same goes for my makeup - I wore makeup similarly as early as 1973 - I was a bit of a rebel," she says pointing to her heavily made up face. Kim writes songs with The Nervous: "I write from the heart - from my experience, my observation. Some of our lyrics will be indistinguishable. We want to get across the pure emotion. The whole band does some writing - nothing is planned. It just happens," she states as she heads up to the stage.
SF Sunday Examiner & Chronicle- ARTS/SCENE by Cynthia Robins- 7/4/1982
The Contractions: On the way up?
Mary Kelley, 29, is lead guitarist with an all female organization called The Contractions, which features a tiny blonde woman named Debra Hopkins, 27, on drums; Kim Morris, 26 (daughter of the TV comedian Howard Morris), on keyboards, and Kathy Peck, 31, on bass. Three years ago, when most of the four got together, (Morris joined the band last year after a job in Phoenix, where her former band, The Nervous, opened for The Contractions at a local punk club), Debbie Hopkins was the only "real" musician in the bunch at that time. The band has begun to change it's image, but their still searching for a "sound," a unifying quality to their work. So far, their experimentation has both their former fans and future bookers a little stymied. Still, they persist, often taking jobs that put them in hole- for instance, a flying trip over a weekend where they played for a crowd of 2000 new wave-punk rock n' rollers at New York's Danceteria, a major new music club. They grossed $2,600.00, but made little money after expenses. The Danceteria job was essential, the band felt, because of the exposure it provided to the New Wave rock critics, to record company executives and their New York fans.How long they can continue like this is another question. "The band is so fragile a lot of times that it almost falls apart," says Kelley. It would probably be easier if [they all] glossed up their image like the Go-Gos, "a band [we] used to share bookings with," sniffs Hopkins. Morris and Peck let the feminine come out more- they wear dresses on stage. In San Francisco now, The Contractions have a fairly good reputation for giving a hot show. Says Kathy Peck, "It would be nice to have a more secure job, though.
KUSF Wave Sector- The New Contractions by Rockin' Redhead - 4/1982
Twenty minutes before showtime the dames are carefully applying makeup and straightening the skirts of their prom dresses. Out front an impatient audience waits for the unexpected - the unexplained. The stars trek onto the stage. These are the "new improved" Contractions, relaxing their image to open up to the audience as well as the show. Response to The Contractions NEW sounds have not reached their peak yet...KIM on keyboards and synthesizers, and vocals adds sparks to the original three and the fireworks cause a suspended audience to step back in awe. IT'S NOT THE OLD CONTRACTIONS. Says Debbie Hopkins (drummer), "Everyone gets really excited. They get off again. It shows." Musically, the Contractions themselves felt they were being consumed by the repetitions. That's when the search began. Kim Morris and The Contractions actually discovered each other. Says Kim, "I was living in Phoenix and playing in a band called The Nervous. We were bringing in a bunch of LA and SF bands because of the lack of local talent in Phoenix. The Contractions came. We just hit it off." ...So, the "Phoenix" is rising again, and with The Contractions on her wings, she soars to harmonious heights.