Kent Morrill was an original member of the Wailers, the keyboard player and vocalist. He helped form the band along with Rich Dangel, John Greek. Mike Burk and Mark Marush.
Raised in Tacoma, Washington, Kent began jamming with high school friends. In 1957 he was invited to attend another jam at McChord Air force Base near Tacoma at Richard Dangel’s house. Most of the music was instrumental until Kent began banging on the piano and broke loose with his rendition of ‘Lucille’. Heads swung and jaws dropped. Everyone new right then Kent was ‘in the band’. In those early days of rock’n’roll there was no real sound systems, so many times the band had to lower their volume so Kent’s powerful voice and his acoustic piano could stand out above the music to be heard. There were no electric pianos available until the Wurlitzer people introduced theirs. Kent bought one immediately but, volume was not as important then as it has become today.
In 1961 Kent along with Buck Ormsby and Rockin’ Robin Roberts formed the first alternative independent record label owned by members of a performing band, Etiquette, Buck and Kent went on to produce several singles and LP’s of Northwest music including the Wailers, and discovering and producing the Sonics first two LP’s.
Kent sang with the Wailers until 1969…when the group decided to end their run.
After the break-up Kent moved to L. A. to form a singing writing duo with another member of the Wailers, Ron Gardner. That ended quickly. Kent formed a production group to produce new artists and include his own material in the line-up. He recorded two albums for a since forgotten L. A. label, drifted down to San Diego area and formed a popular singing group/band performing with them until the late ’80’s.
After hearing one of Kent’s demo tapes in Seattle, Buck Ormsby gave him a call and asked if he’d be interested in recording an album for his production company, Etiquette Productions.
It was a bit of nostalgia and a meeting of old friends that they began working on a project together again.
The idea was to present Kent as a solo performer mixing some of his original material with classic rock’n’R&B material and let him loose with the still powerful voice and energy that Kent does so well. Buck gathered together musicians who he had known for years who knew Kent and the results are the ‘hard to rock alone’ album.
The album was originally released on vinyl on the Suspicious Record label in 1987 receiving outstanding reviews. His recognizable voice and performances are still amazing. He rocks…. hard!
Several Wailers’ concerts and reunions have since taken place. Kent and the ‘boys’ have been rockin’ again.