Hippie Musician, Police Officer, Vegan--
"You're under arrest. But before I take you down to the station, I want you to listen to this song."
Not a likely scenario, but it points to the lifestyle of Lance Morrison who combines two divergent careers--police officer and musician/songwriter--to add to his profile, he's a committed vegan, too.
Morrison, sporting a beard and long-hair and looking more like a hippie, could be seen going to one of his California musical gigs in a split-window VW bus with his trademark, a cactus growing in an ashtray.
That was before he realized he had to get serious and make choices about a career. He decided on police work and worked his way up to captain before he retired. He currently works as a full-time deputy sheriff. Academically, he has a Master's Degree in Liberal Studies from St. Mary's College in Moraga, California.
A gifted musician, Morrison plays guitar, bass, piano, drums, trumpet, flugelhorn, valve trombone, and mandolin. And he sings, too. He's the entire band and vocalist on his CD Pasture Prime that he describes as a "culmination of my lifelong desire to make music coupled with my musings about life as a vegetarian."
Morrison turned to vegetarianism when he was in his teens. "I never enjoyed the idea of killing any animals. Hunting or fishing was never an interest. By the time I was 17 years of age, I knew that I would never eat meat, fish or fowl again. I haven't. Although police work is not a fertile field for vegetarians, I found it worked real well for me. It kept me in touch with my humanity, and it ensured I would be the brunt of jokes regarding my synthetic shoes and leather duty belt," says Morrison.
Despite the challenges of being a vegan in police work, he managed to utilize his music in making a contribution to his public service. He wrote seven songs as part of a CD on traffic safety that was distributed nationwide.
"Music was just another way to balance some of the trauma associated with police work. I had already played the trumpet through college, and I decided to teach myself some guitar, bass, and keyboard skills. I bought a drum set and a modest 16-track recorder. This allowed me to make one track and then add one instrument at a time as I listened to the growing 'band of one,'" Morrison says.
Pasture Prime is Morrison's way of delivering the vegan message in a musical format. Its 14 tracks were assembled on his 16-track recorder in his home studio to create a CD "designed at home to hit home, with the vegan music lover in mind."
"Writing the tracks for the CD was based on a desire to share the experience of vegetarian life. I wanted to layer the theme: Humor on top--meaning seeping upward. I hope that works. It was so fun to do," he says.
The beard is gone, but Morrison still drives a 1965 VW bus with a cactus in the ash tray.
Pasture Prime can be ordered on Morrison's website http://www.vegantunes.com that "exists to serve home-fried vegan music to those hungry for something new and different." Visitors to the website will hear the song "Parental Consent" that features the amusing line, "Please don't let my kids grow up to be a vegetarian."