TNT's Morty Black
Interview by Keith McDonald
Morty Black came into the hard rock community as
the bass player for the Norwegian based band TNT. Having started
out in the 80’s with so many other hard rock bands, TNT was able
to survive for quite some time. They recently released a new
studio album 'My Religion' which sadly enough, will be Morty’s
last with the band. I had the opportunity to catch up with Morty
who gave me the lowdown on his departure and what he’s been up
Why did you leave TNT?
There are many reasons really, but the main reasons are
personal and that I disagree with the business philosophy! I
want to play as much as possible, and that’s a bit hard with
TNT, since we are spread all over the planet.
What are you currently up to?
Right now I’m touring with an Artist called Åge Aleksandersen.
He’s been around for many years and is probably the most selling
and heavily touring Norwegian artist. He’s singing in Norwegian.
If I where to explain his popularity and profile, the closest get is: A Norwegian Bruce
Springsteen. If you want to check him out go to his website:
Above picture taken by, and used with
permission of, Petter Stene.
(Picture explanation from Peter: This picture was taken by
me in the late 80s. It's from a bar in Trondheim, Norway called
Baronen & Baronessen - a place where musicians used to hang, and
sometimes play for free beer. The picture is of
historical interest for TNT fans. It's rare to see the original
singer of TNT without his fluffy stage boots. :) Even though a
few years later he left the band. But this was was a session
where Dag Ingebrigtsen, Morty Black and Diesel Dahl played, and
that was indeed a rare event.)
What other artists have you recorded and toured with?
Oh my god! There are so many artists I have been working with
here in Norway both touring and in the studio! All kinds of
music styles from pop to Jazz. Even Mariah Carey I did a
recording for through some Norwegian producers. I’ve been
working all the time as a session bass player for about 25
Why do you think TNT lasted so long?
I think TNT lasted this long because of our faithful fans and
the demand to stick around! We would never be where we are today
if it wasn’t for you!
How did you join TNT in the first place?
I got an offer from the band after 1 year of existence. I had
to prove myself for the band by playing one gig first. I joined
on August 12th 1983.
What happened with the TNT 'Big Bang Anthology' that was
supposed to be released in the US?
To be honest I have no idea what happened in the US. This was
only meant to be released in Norway, but I guess that
Mercury/Universal in the US did not pick it up.
How is the hard rock scene in Norway?
The hard rock scene in Norway is GREAT! The population in
Norway is only 4.5 Million, so we aren’t that many, but there are
a lot of talents out there! Unfortunately there we don’t have
that many clubs either working for hard rock, but we work hard to get outside of the country to play!
Is there a big musical difference from the US and Norway?
There is a certain difference, yes! First of all we aren’t
that many people and clubs around. The good thing about that is
that we don’t copy each other as much, and we get a bigger
variety between the bands. Plus we have all kinds of music on radio/TV to get inspired by, which again
affects the music. It’s a different culture here. We are a
mountain people ;-)
How did you start playing bass? Who would you consider
Once upon I time… Hehehe I started playing bass when I was
16. Before that I was a sports freak, playing soccer and
handball. I was blown away by the bass playing on Grand Funk
Railroad’s Live album (1971). I just had to learn how to play
bass like that! So I started by plugging different albums in my
room. After a short while I started in my first band (A
three-piece band), and since then I’ve been playing somewhere
between 100-180 gigs almost every year. My first influences was Grand Funk, Gary Thain (Uriah
Heep), Neal Murray (Whitesnake), Geddy Lee (Rush), Abraham
Laboriel, David Hungate (Toto).
What was TNT most successful album? Tour?
In the US it was “Tell No Tales” both album and tour! In
Japan it was “Intuition” both album and tour, but all in all
“Tell No Tales” started the International success TNT has. We
toured all over the US together with Stryper in 1987 and met a
lot of great people!
Why don't you think TNT had better success here in the US?
I think the main reason, and this goes for the whole world
really, that TNT was never available enough. It is very easy to
sit back now and say what we could have done etc., but since we
leave this far apart from each other, and we have grown up in different cultures, I think we either
should have stayed in the US much more and simply just been
around more! That would have helped! Also there where some
trouble with management etc.
How much support did US radio and MTV give TNT in the
I think they gave us a lot of support! We where played a lot
on MTV, and the same goes for the radios on the costs.
How did TNT get signed? Was it a difficult time?
TNT got signed in Norway pretty fast. The singer at that
time: Dag Ingebrigtsen, came from a success band called “The
Kids”, which sold a lot of albums in Norway and Sweden. When he
formed TNT, the record labels wanted to sign this, even though it was a Hard Rock band. We worked
real hard for a few years playing all over Norway, until the
second album, which was presented for Mercury in NY, and they
loved it, so we where suddenly an international recording artist!
What lies ahead for you?
First I will be touring until October 2nd. After that I
really don’t know. If there is anyone out there who needs a
bass player, send me an email. I have a lot of ideas I would
like to pursue. A solo album is of course something I will be
working on, but also working with other artists. I’m constantly
writing music, so something has to be released! I would like to
thank everyone that has been supporting both TNT and me for all
these years. I have just started I feel! There will be a lot
more to do, and I hope you visit my homepage
Drop me an email or just say hi!
Forever Shine On!