Glendon Morris Speaks

left- Alison Brown, Centre- Peter Minshall
LEFT - Alison Brown CENTRE - Peter Minshall

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There were real memorable days Reporters
Interview Recorded: April 25, 2005
Posted: May 15, 2005

I remember I was making a costume for Errol Payne, and Minshall was supposed to give us the design. We went to his studio and he sat there with a pen and paper and he was just sketching. He said, "Glendon, you know what I want you to build for me? I want you to build a rat, but not the rats we have Carnival day. I want you to build a dead rat, a decaying rat. I want to see some bones and I want to see some of the flesh actually decaying off the bones." I was saying, "Oh my god, what is the purpose of this?" He said that it was very political, and that the situation in Trinidad was becoming so piss poor, that one of these days we would be forced to eat rat. I said, "Yes, you would see something like that."

We came home, and I told Larry Richards who was another artist, that I had to do this costume for Minshall and I didn't know how to start. Larry said that the only way was to look for a dead rat. We got in a van and drove all around looking for a dead rat, and we found one. But the smell was terrible and I told Larry that I was not picking it up, and that he could do what he wants. We had a good association with Minshall. His most beautiful band was 'Jungle Fever', which won him Band of the Year. In those days, David Rudder used to sing on the road with us. The band used to play his songs and they would sing the "Jungle Fever" song. We had a ball; mas was good.

When my father started the mas, one of the nicer parts of it was when he played Heralds. It was the year Sparrow brought out "Jane, this is four o'clock in the morning", and it was Bertram Inniss and Ron Berridge combined together to play mas for us in the band. In those days you had no truck or anything like that; you walked and played mas. We built a cart right in the yard here for Errol Inniss, the trumpeter, to play. He was kind of special because he was the lead trumpeter in the band, and he had all these variations and so on. We did not want him walking and getting tired. We had a ball. Conrad Little was another guy who used to play bass guitar. In those days they used to have what you call a Kettle Drum. You wouldn't believe it, but when the music got tired, Conrad Little's bass guitar and the drummer played music from Port of Spain to Belmont, just those two guys alone. They played so good. The trumpeters' lips were all sore and bruised that he couldn't play anymore. Conrad had a kind of counter melody and everybody was just jumping, it was all you needed. That was how mas was in those days. There were real memorable days in a band with a little over a hundred people, with music and a lot of drunkenness.

Fernandes used to give us alcohol back then so everybody used to get a flask when they were promoting their rum, and before the band hit the stage, sometimes they were drunk. Most men would drink, but not all the women did, so if you had a girlfriend playing in the band, you would have a bottle instead of a flask. When you collected your costume you used to get a flask with it. It was really memorable. Even the part with picking up women, which was a part of Carnival that we grew up with. You would be booed if you didn't pick up a woman Carnival Day. That got me in trouble a couple of times. A few days after you might have even ended up in the center on Wrightson Road, but you didn't care because you had a ball. Carnival was like that. I experienced all the different aspects of it and this is why I more or less do our small band and lectures.


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