RIP Jesse Morris — “Punk Rock Johnny Cash”
Update: A benefit concert and radio tribute are planned for this Friday, Nov. 11, and Sunday, Nov. 13. Details.
“The acoustics are good down here, the people are friendly,” he says. “They stop and listen, they tip, they smile … I have a good time down here.”
Although Morris has a night job at a bar, and writes and plays original material with his band, Jesse and the Man Cougars, he keeps coming back to play at BART.
“I consider it a job,” he says. “Just like some people might work in an office, I work at the station entertaining people. I get to do what I love, and I can make a living at it.”
How did you name your band?
Jesse came to rehearsal and teased the “old guys” for having young, beautiful girlfriends, saying, “You guys are like a bunch of man cougars.” And the name stuck.
Photographer Bill Cendak shared this photograph of Jesse with us, taken at a band practice at Lennon Studios on Nov. 2, 2011. Jesse Morris and the Man Cougars were due to play at the Uptown this Friday. Cendak has been photographing Jesse Morris and the Man Cougars ever since the band started.
Photo by Bill Cendak
Jesse’s presence made a big impression on photographer Troy Holden, who pointed us to this portrait of Jesse at the 24th Street BART station.
“I see this fellow once each week playing Johnny Cash cover tunes. When I asked him if I could take his portrait, he flipped me off. Not until later did his gesture register with me.”
Jesse was referencing this iconic photo of Johnny Cash, taken in 1969 during his San Quentin performance.
Reader Jenner sent us a photo of Jesse and the Man Cougars at Bender’s earlier this year.
Here’s an older photo of Jesse at the Montgomery BART station.
Photo by fiveinchpixie
If you are a friend, family, or fan of Jesse Morris, we would like to hear from you. Please comment or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and help us honor a great musician who brought light to our daily transit experience.