Apr. 09, 2014
The music industry lost a close friend on Monday night, and it is with great sadness we grieve the passing of Mo Morrison. We wish the best for his family and all the lives he touched. Here are some words from our CEO Andrew, a great friend of Mo:
Mo was an amazing event producer: calm under pressure, loyal, protective, whip smart and a sheer pleasure to have around.
My good friend Mo Morrison passed away a few nights ago and I feel compelled to say something about him. He was immensely special to me.
I remember the day I first met Mo like it was yesterday. It was 2002 or so. Brian Cooper, my CFO on Field Day, and I met Mo at some Italian joint in the Flatiron District of Manhattan. Steve Lemon, my production manager on Field Day, had to go tend to some family business and could no longer work on the festival. This made me very nervous as we liked Steve and felt like we were in good hands. Steve told us that his partner Mo Morrison would fill in in his stead.
I remember thinking Mo Morrison…like, the Mo Morrison is going to take over production management duties on my festival? Mo’s reputation preceded him. I knew that he spent many years on the road with the Grateful Dead and had worked with artists including Michael Jackson, the Rolling Stones and Prince, among others.
So Brian and I sat in this restaurant and waited for Mo to arrive. I envisioned some grizzled road warrior. Surely Mo would be 6 foot 5, 250 pounds, long gray ponytail and beard and be covered in tattoos. And in walks a guy who looks kind of like my Jewish uncle from West Jersey: 5 foot 6, clean shaven, long pinstripe button down, slacks, etc. I remember looking at Brian and saying, “that can’t be him.” and Brian was like, “nah. no way.” Well it was him.
Mo became my Production / Project Manager on Field Day and went on to fill the same role for us on the Virgin Festival. In fact for many years I had never staged a large scale festival without Mo at my side. Mo was an amazing event producer: calm under pressure, loyal, protective, whip smart and a sheer pleasure to have around. He always had a can-do attitude, yet told it to you straight and never sugarcoated it. He always made me feel like he would bring my vision to life – no questions asked.
Mo had amazing stories, and whether we were sitting at the bar at the 9:30 Club or in the trailer on site at one of the festivals, he could always be convinced to share a great story, such as his trip to the pyramids with the Dead, taking the fall for The Band in the 70s in the deep South, or the time Prince decided, “purple was out.”
Mo and I became good friends, in fact great friends, over the years. We continued to work together on the festival and kept close touch during his time with Britney and Lady Gaga.
Mo also developed a very close relationship with the whole Virgin / IMP family. I know they will all miss him greatly. We used to joke with Mo that he had nine lives and that if the nuclear weapon went off it would be him and the cockroaches left standing. Well, it looks like time finally caught up with him.
Mo was an amazing guy, and I am for sure better for having known him. He was one tough bastard and fought his ass off to try to beat this f-ed up cancer thing. I am glad I got to say goodbye to him, a couple times, including at the hospital last week. I am also glad that he got to realize his last wish – to go home.
I will miss Mo deeply, but I am glad that his pain is over. I am sure he is reuniting with some of the folks from his past at that great gig in the sky, and I can tell you that it will be one hell of a gig with a guy like Mo running the production.