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PIERS MORGAN LIVE
Interview with Harry Connick, Jr.; Interview with Russell Brand; Interview with Billy Ray Cyrus
Aired June 14, 2013 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
PIERS MORGAN, HOST: This is PIERS MORGAN LIVE.
Tonight, three for Friday. Music and movie man, Harry Connick, Jr.
Do you have had your heart broken?
HARRY CONNICK, JR., MUSICIAN/ACTOR: Many times.
MORGAN: Comedian, actor, Shakespearean scholar, and linguist, Russell Brand.
RUSSELL BRAND, COMEDIAN: I think it's important to be able to communicate. Here is a good word for you, satyromaniac, that's the male version of a nymphomaniac. I don't know why I learned now.
MORGAN: And country star and Miley's dad Billy Ray Cyrus.
BILLY RAY CYRUS, COUNTRY STAR: My goal wasn't to be a big star. I swear, it was always about the music and finding my purpose.
MORGAN: But first up is Harry Connick, Jr., the multi-Grammy and Emmy Award-winner who just released his 29th album, called "Every Man Should Know."
And Harry joins me for a prime time exclusive.
How do you feel about being a prime time exclusive, Harry?
CONNICK: If it's with you, I'm quite happy.
MORGAN: It's a -- it's a great album. I love all your stuff. I was saying to just before we started that you're my -- you're my lying by the pool album go-to guy.
CONNICK: That's huge.
MORGAN: Do you like that?
CONNICK: That's a big -- that's a big compliment, because when you're chilling out by the pool and you want to put some music on, those are -- those are big decisions you -- you know, I feel very honored that you picked me.
MORGAN: You're the guy. You're the guy. You Al Green, depending on the mood I'm in.
CONNICK: That's high company there. That's really high company. He's one of my all-time favorites.
MORGAN: Tell me about that motivation for the album. I mean you've done 29 of them now. You've made enough money to not have to worry about cash or houses or fast cars. You've got the women in your life.
CONNICK: -- what do you -- wait, wait. Back up to the fast cars.
MORGAN: -- your wife and daughters.
CONNICK: I drive a Ford F-150.
MORGAN: You do?
MORGAN: What's the matter with you?
CONNICK: It's kind of -- I guess it's fast if I drive it fast.
But, no, you know, listen, man, it's all about -- it's all about trying to get deeper and deeper and deeper inside and pulling out new things. Um, this -- this CD was -- was a lot of fun to record, because I started to -- to deal with some topics I don't normally deal with as a songwriter. My mom, who died when I was 13, I sang about her. My relationship, which is -- which is -- with my wife, which is relatively private, I sang a little bit about that.
So I just felt like I was comfortable enough in my skin at this point in my life to -- to sing about some more personal things.
MORGAN: Talking of singing about personal things, there's an incredibly personal thing, that you've been involved with. It's a song called "Love Wins." And the back story to this is an extraordinary one.
A close friend and band mate of yours lost his daughter, a 6- year-old girl called Ana Grace, in Newtown. And today is the sixth anniversary -- uh, six month anniversary of that atrocity.
To have something that appalling hit so close to home for you, tell me about the impact that had on you.
CONNICK: Well, Piers, I was actually watching CNN when it was going down. And I was watching the -- the journalists in front of the school and I saw a familiar face walk behind her. And I told my wife, I paused it. I said that's Jimmy. And she came in and we were both horrified.
It came to find out that he had lost his -- his little girl.
Some time passed. I had been in communication with Jimmy and, was profoundly saddened myself by it and wrote a song, basically honoring Ana Grace, but, also the idea of ultimately no matter the tragedy, love is going to -- to conquer.
I remember Jimmy saying that God needed Ana a little sooner than -- than the rest of us. So, the love that she is experiencing now trumps anything that goes on on earth. And -- and I subscribe to that.
MORGAN: You've got three daughters of -- of your own.
MORGAN: They've all been through that age that Ana was, six years old, presumably gone to elementary school. It's such an innocent place for young children and such an abomination to have happened.
What could you say to your friend about it, to -- to try and bring him through?
I'm sure many friends and family of his tried.
But what could you say?
CONNICK: I've spoken to him a lot about it. And I said that he has inspired me to rekindle the notion that I'm going to be with my mom again. I really believe that I'm going to be with my mom if I do things right on Earth, you know, I'll be with her in heaven.
And Ana is up there right now. And we just need to hold on very tightly to one another and get through -- through this life as best as we can. And he is -- and his wife, Nelva (ph) -- are two of the most astoundingly deeply religious, wonderful, calm people. And they're -- they're heroes.
MORGAN: I find them all extraordinary. I've spoken and interviewed many of the -- the Newtown families. I've got a -- I had two on the show last night. I find them so strong.
I don't -- I've got a little daughter now and I've got three teenaged sons. But I just have no idea how I would even begin to deal with something like that.
CONNICK: I think there's a lot to learn from -- from those people, and the type of resolve that they've shown and the courage that -- that they've shown and the dignity that -- that they've shown.
I think, just with my personal experience with -- with Jimmy, if I could be a half of the -- the man that he is, I -- I'd be a very happy guy.
MORGAN: Let's listen to a little bit of the song, "Love Wins."
Jimmy Greene, who lost his daughter Ana, he plays a sax solo on this.
(MUSIC, "LOVE WINS")
MORGAN: It's interesting, I remember interviewing you last summer about your mother and the -- the terrible sense of loss that you had from there. You've been through the same thing and I would never try and equate them at all.
But you've been through that terrible pain and grief when you were very young, haven't you?
CONNICK: Yes, I have. And, there was a line I wrote in a song a long time ago, "Mountains vary, but the valley is the same." And I think we all, at some point in our lives, are going to experience some type of tragedy. And although you could never equate the Newtown tragedy with -- most of us can't equate that with anything that -- that's happened to us, we hold onto each other, Piers, you know what I mean?
We -- we hold onto each other.
I -- I was with Jimmy last night. We played together. And I hugged him and I tell him like I tell him every time. We're going to get through it and we're all going to be together at some point, anyway. So --
MORGAN: There's been a lot of turmoil, in America, a lot of it weather-related, in the last couple of years. You, again, the last time I spoke to you, spoke very movingly about the rebuilding of New Orleans after Katrina and you've been very passionate about that, during it and after it.
It's nearly eight years since then. It must feel strange to you, so long?
CONNICK: What feels amazing to me is how the city has not only rebuilt, but taken the devastation and found opportunity. A dialogue was opened among politicians, among citizens, things were spoken about that probably wouldn't have been discussed prior to the storm.
And with all respect to all of the people who lost their lives and had -- suffered immeasurable trauma as a result of that storm, New Orleans has even prospered. I think it's better now than it was before Katrina.
MORGAN: When you see other weather-related disasters, most recently Oklahoma and going back to Joplin and the hurricanes, tornadoes, Hurricane Sandy here in -- on the East Coast, do you think that America, as a result of what happened in Katrina and all the controversy that came out, has America got better at dealing with the immediate aftermath of these things? CONNICK: And the America I know is the America that showed up and helped us build 80 houses for our musicians' village. That's the America I know, and, frankly, the only one I really care about.
I don't -- I think America is the greatest country in the world. I think our people are the strongest people in the world. And whether it's Katrina or Newtown or anything, the -- that's what that song is about, "Love Wins", bring it on, Piers. Bring on the tragedies. You know, not -- not literally but --
MORGAN: I know, you mean how to deal with it.
CONNICK: -- we can handle it. I don't know if the storms that happened after Katrina were handled better as a result of some of the things that maybe weren't handled during Katrina --
MORGAN: It seems to me they were. You know, I look at the way President Obama's administration has dealt with these and it seems like everybody involved is keenly aware, in the back of their mind, we cannot allow another Katrina.
CONNICK: That's a good -- I mean if that's one of the -- of the results, that's a -- that's a great thing. We'll take it.
MORGAN: Let's take a short break.
I want to come back and talk more about this album --
MORGAN: -- "Every Man Should Know." I'm curious, what should I know, Harry Connick, Jr.?
Is it too late?
CONNICK: I'd better look at my notes.
(MUSIC VIDEO CLIP PLAYS)
MORGAN: That's a clip from the music video for "Every Man Should Know," Harry Connick, Jr.'s new song from the album of the same title.
I'm back with Harry for our prime time exclusive.
Now, come on, what should every man know?
CONNICK: Well, the song says --
MORGAN: You should know, because you're married to a lovely woman who was a Victoria's Secret model and you've got three beautiful young daughters. So you've cracked it somehow --
CONNICK: Well --
MORGAN: -- against all the odds.
What do I need to do?
CONNICK: In many case, it -- I married my best friend. And as you know, loving your kids and loving your wife is -- is what it -- what it's all about. It doesn't work out for everyone that way. But I think there's an underlying knowledge that everyone has, which is a capacity to -- to care for somebody else.
MORGAN: And you sing about love morning, noon and night.
MORGAN: What is --
CONNICK: That's a very romantic painting --
MORGAN: Even your voice is a --
CONNICK: I drive an F-150, I'm --
MORGAN: Well, that's the least --
MORGAN: -- to think about you.
But you -- even your voice is like this crooning romantic thing, isn't it?
What is the secret to love? I mean you're -- you're a self- professed expert.
CONNICK: How much -- how much time do we have, man? This is --
MORGAN: About four minutes.
CONNICK: Wow! But for some people, the secret happens in about four minutes, but I guess it depends on what kind of love you're talking about.
CONNICK: Well, you know, I -- I real -- I really care about what Jill has to say. When I come home, I really want to know what happened that day. You know, when I talk to my girls, Georgia, Kate and Charlotte, I'm genuinely interested in how -- how their day went.
MORGAN: Do --
CONNICK: And that's not hard to do.
MORGAN: Do they even know what a CD is?
CONNICK: My --
MORGAN: My sons wouldn't recognize it. They'd be like, dad, what -- what the hell is that piece of archaic old material?
CONNICK: I'm telling you, you know, thank God there are different ways to get music out there. But CDs, you know, it's nice to put them in the machine.
But, you know, like my daughters, they -- they definitely are more of the downloading type, I think.
MORGAN: My sons are of the stealing downloading type.
MORGAN: I break the bad news here.
CONNICK: That's all right.
MORGAN: So, Harry, you've got a song called "I Love Her." And there are so many women in your life this could apply to. There's your wife. There's your three daughters, obviously. Your -- your mother, that we've discussed, who so sadly died when you were younger.
But is this a -- a generic song about love?
CONNICK: Not really. It's about a guy who just -- who loves in vain. He just -- he's writing songs for her. He'd -- he would die for her. But he -- she just doesn't see him. And that's a --
MORGAN: Is this you in an earlier incarnation?
CONNICK: Oh, yes. Absolutely.
MORGAN: Did you have your heart broken?
CONNICK: Many times.
CONNICK: It's a horrible feeling. I was never very good with girls. And when I met Jill and that seemed to work, I was done. We -- I said I -- this is the girl for me. She loves me and I love her and that's the end of that. So --
MORGAN: Do you sing to her in the bath?
CONNICK: I try. Well, no --
CONNICK: Wait, wait, who -- who's in the bath, me or her?
MORGAN: I don't know. I -- I wouldn't like to --
CONNICK: You know what happens? MORGAN: (INAUDIBLE).
CONNICK: You want to know -- you talk about all this romance, you know what really happens?
She'll be like reading something on her iPad and I'm laying next to her in bed and I'll start singing something real kind of romantic, you know, and she will basically take her hand and just put it on my, like on my face like I'm trying to read.
CONNICK: That's really what goes on in my house.
MORGAN: I get a similar reaction when I try and sing, Harry Connick, Jr., to my wife. I get the full --
CONNICK: Yes, she's a -- I mean, I think she's doing it in jest, but, you know, she's like, no, don't -- don't -- be quiet.
MORGAN: Would you --
MORGAN: -- I've got Billy Ray Cyrus coming up here, talking about the trials and tribulations of having a very famous daughter coming into the same business.
How do you feel if one of your girls said, dad, I've decided I'm going to be a pop star?
CONNICK: Well, I don't know if you can decide to be a pop star, but if they said, dad, I'm going --
MORGAN: A singer.
CONNICK: Yes, fantastic. Just make sure --
MORGAN: You wouldn't mind?
CONNICK: No, no, no, I wouldn't mind at all. But they would -- the nature of our relationship would change, because my daughter Kate loves to sing and she's starting to see the side of me that is -- doesn't want her to go around thinking about dreams all day. You've got to practice. You've got to work hard.
And she would see that side. And she's -- I tell her, Kate, I'm not being personal with you, but you need to do this, you need to do this. So as long as they're prepared and learn their craft, man, go for it. Have a good time.
MORGAN: Harry, it's always good to see you.
CONNICK: It's good to see you, Piers.
MORGAN: It's a terrific album. I'm taking this to Los Angeles, to my pool. And I will be listening to this in the next few days whiling away, wondering where it all went wrong for me and it all went right for you.
CONNICK: Not quite. Not quite.
MORGAN: Harry --
CONNICK: You're doing OK, bro.
MORGAN: Harry Connick, Jr.'s latest album, "Every Man Should Know," is available right now.
For Harry's tour dates, check out HarryConnickJr.com. And, of course, to donate to the Marcus Greene family, go to AnaGraceFund.com.
Harry, good to see you.
CONNICK: Thanks, Piers. Good to see you, too, man.
MORGAN: Coming next, the always outspoken and unpredictable Russell Brand.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Do you care how much the government goes around your phone calls, emails?
BRAND: Yes, I don't want them rootling around in my gear, mate.
MORGAN: I can imagine yours are quite lively.
BRAND: There's some lively stuff in there I don't want out there. They can just enter our Google, enter our Facebook.
BRAND: Enter our emails. Oh, no, I'll have to completely revise my strategies. They're all going to have to change.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: There's a lot going on this week. And actor and comedian Russell Brand has plenty to say about it.
He's about to head out on a world tour where he's promising opinions that have, and I quote, "not been either solicited or thought through."
And Russell Brand is with me.
And I can't possibly believe that.
Tonight, he's firmly in the chair.
Russell, how are you?
BRAND: Today, I'm in a very good mood. Thank you, Piers.
MORGAN: Why are you in a good mood?
BRAND: Well, I like coming on the program --
MORGAN: The fact it's Friday?
BRAND: I love -- I enjoyed Friday and all of its sacred implications and I'm very happy to be with you, of course, across this prospect piece of wonderment, this geometrical division.
MORGAN: I love that.
You're doing a world tour called The Messiah Complex. I'm going to come to that al little later.
But first of all, I just want to talk to you. It's the sixth anniversary of Sandy Hook. We've been talking to Harry Connick about that.
What is your view of America's relationship with guns, because you and I come from a completely different culture?
But what -- what's your take on it?
BRAND: I think as an immigrant in this country, a good degree of caution is advised with these matters, as you yourself have experienced from your own outspoken views.
To me, I remember like when I first got here thinking, oh, my God, I'm allowed a gun. That's really cool, like, you know, and (INAUDIBLE) about justifying it in innumerable ways, you know, because it's undeniable, that potency, that sexiness, that power at the end of your arm.
And people that knew me said, you should not get a gun, you don't have that kind of personality. You're not a person who should have deadly force at your disposal. And I thought, I should have deadly force at my disposal. And (INAUDIBLE) about it and I went to a gun range and I learned a little bit about shooting and all that kind of stuff. And in my mind, it's like I want to be able to protect my home and protect the people I love.
But, you know, like I -- I'm the (INAUDIBLE) procrastinator about it, because I'm a kind of a liberal person, I suppose, at heart and a bit of a hippie. But, you know, guns is guns. They're kind of cool.
But after the Sandy Hook tragedy to which you referred, I thought how can I legitimately hold the opinions that I do and then hypocritically purchase a firearm?
So I have not. My feeling is that, you know, the more guns that are available, the more likely for them being used incorrectly here (ph). MORGAN: One of the things that struck me this week with the whole NSA debate and this -- this leaker or whistleblower, hero, traitor, whatever you want to call him, Edward Snowden, is that the American psyche is very geared to the Second Amendment being absolutely sacrosanct. You can't touch it.
And yet the Fourth Amendment, which is supposed to safeguard privacy, really, for many Americans, they don't seem so exorcised about it. They're quite happy for the government to basically do as much rootling around as it wants if it's in the name of terrorism.
BRAND: Yes. It seems, Piers, that patriotism is a -- a positive thing, I suppose, when a nation is being formulated from a diverse population against an -- oppressive imperial power, by which I mean our beloved country, Blighty.
BRAND: But when that nation has become itself a huge colonial power, perhaps the obligations and responsibilities alter. And, patriotism, I think, primarily is between us as men, between us as a nation and us as a society.
For me, Edward Snowden is a -- it seems like, you know, like both him and Bradley Manning, it seems that in both cases, there's been a degree of self-sacrifice in both of their actions, which at least, uh, from a structural perspective, it's making a screenplay is one of the --
MORGAN: Are they heroes, though?
BRAND: That's the definition of hero, is sacrificing yourself for others.
MORGAN: But do you think they -- what they're doing is heroic?
I mean, in Bradley Manning's case, to just scatter gun release so much material without any kind of judicious editing first --
BRAND: I don't know much about it, Piers.
MORGAN: Is that heroic?
BRAND: Because, you know, like I'm not a politician or anything. But like my understand is that both Edward Snowden and Bradley Manning did approach the superiors within the organizations with which they -- within which they worked -- before making those before making those leaks public.
So it seems that in both cases, they sought to do it through the proper channels, out of legitimate concern for the way the organizations were behaving.
Now, anything that exposes American troops to danger or anyone to danger, really, is obviously negative. But I think that perhaps under the -- the masquerade of security, many injustices can be done. MORGAN: Do you care how much a government rootles around your phone calls, e-mails?
BRAND: Yes, I don't want them rootling around in my gear, mate.
MORGAN: I mean, I can imagine yours are quite lively.
BRAND: There's some lively stuff in there I don't want out there. They can just enter our Google, enter our Facebook.
BRAND: Enter our emails. Oh, no, I'll have to completely revise my strategies. They're all going to have to change.
MORGAN: But do you care?
BRAND: Yes, I do, as a matter of fact. I think that we're --
MORGAN: Because that's what it comes down to, how far are you prepared to let a government do that kind of thing in the name of protecting you and keeping your country safer from potential attacks?
BRAND: I think that we have to test the veracity of their intention to protect before handing over such enormous power. And it seems that the focus has fallen, in both cases, upon the -- the presumed culprit, Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden, when it's like -- well, wait, hold on a minute, what's this stuff that they revealed?
That is quite interesting, also. I'm saying that there needs to -- obviously, there needs to be a judicial inquiry and investigation into both, Snowden and Manning. But this information they've revealed, in the case of Snowden, they're like all of our information is accessible. That's pretty interesting and important. And, there's some of the -- the military escapades also seem worthy of further scrutiny.
So I think that we should be perspicacious and open in our analysis of the data rather than directing our attention where it seems to be being designated, at the vilification of those two individuals --
MORGAN: The problem I think it's what they do with the data. You know, if you could trust any government 100 percent to not misuse it, that's fine. But we've already seen, with the IRS scandal that, you know, sometimes people get too tempted to do dodgy stuff with your information.
BRAND: Me, mate, I don't trust the old government. It's not just the American government, the English government, the Swedish government, the Swiss government. If it's a government, I think have a good look at them and see what they're up to.
MORGAN: Let's take a short break. I want to come back and ask the question that most of my viewers are asking every time you come on, where did you learn all these long words?
BRAND: All right.
MORGAN: Russell Brand sharing a touching on-screen kiss there with Alec Baldwin in "Rock of Ages".
Back in the chair with Russell.
What was it like kissing Alec Baldwin?
BRAND: It's all right (ph), because he's ever so -- he's got big strong, alpha tendencies and he was very wise. And kissing him, it seemed like a very natural thing to do.
Like, at the beginning, I was worried about it, because it's not my particular persuasion. But by the end, I was glad of it.
MORGAN: Well, you did --
BRAND: I could have done more.
MORGAN: You did tweet, "Is it now legal to do a gay marriage in New York City, Alec Baldwin, carpe diem."
RAND: Carpe diem, seize the day. Seize Alec Baldwin.
BRAND: Grip any part of that man you can, from his muscular biceps to his thick, gorgeous waist. Grip his chin. Bury your head in his dimple. What a beauty.
MORGAN: Where did you learn to speak like this, seriously?
BRAND: Listen, in --
MORGAN: It's not normal.
BRAND: Good. Good.
MORGAN: Where did you learn to speak like this? BRAND: Like, I like reading -- I like watching BBC comedies.
MORGAN: But when you were a young kid, you couldn't have been like seven or eight speaking like this, right?
BRAND: No --
MORGAN: Are you self-taught to be so eloquent and --
MORGAN: -- to know so many words of the English language?
BRAND: Yes, I went to a comprehensive school, that school at 15, didn't I?
BRAND: But I like a -- I like language. It's very important to be able to communicate, especially if you want to say something complicated. You understand nuance, that Albert Mazer (ph), he said to me, "Tyranny is the deliberate removal of nuance." You try and say a thing, it's a bit complicated, well, ah, you're saying it's all right or people shouldn't have guns or that those guys are heroes.
That's what will happen when this stuff gets (INAUDIBLE) or when -- more likely when you've asked me a show business related question, the nuance will be removed and all that will be left is something direct and unpleasant.
But you -- if you're talking directly to people, you've got to know how to communicate the idea specifically, because even if you're coming from a place of love, then the people will know.
MORGAN: But did you study dictionaries?
BRAND: Yes. If ever I heard a word -- still now, if I hear a word and I don't know what it means, I can go and find out what that word means. It might be a really good one.
MORGAN: Because you have got an extraordinary range of language.
BRAND: Yes. I think it's, important, to be able to communicate. Here's a good word for you, satyromaniac. That's a male version of a nymphomaniac. I don't where I learned that.
MORGAN: Absolutely no surprise that you know that one off -- off by heart.
Let's talk about your nymphomania.
BRAND: It's satyromania.
(LAUGHTER) BRAND: I'm not a woman.
MORGAN: How is your love life?
BRAND: It's about all right, thank you very much.
MORGAN: Yes, blooming?
BRAND: Blooming. I really -- I'm really looking for love --
MORGAN: See, when I first --
BRAND: -- in all the wrong places, mate.
MORGAN: When I -- when I first interviewed you, a long time ago with (INAUDIBLE), you were more than happy to bang on about your sex life and it's a glorifying way. Now, you're such a big star, you don't like it, because you see the impact of --
MORGAN: -- when you say something funny, it becomes this huge scandalous headline.
BRAND: Because I've had the (EXPLETIVE DELETED) kicked out of me by fame.
BRAND: I'm like yes --
MORGAN: -- tell me about that, because when I first interviewed you, you were desperate to be --
BRAND: Oh, yes.
MORGAN: -- super famous. You couldn't wait. And yet now you've had it, I just -- sometimes I look at you and think he doesn't like this very much. I mean you --
MORGAN: -- you still want to --
BRAND: You don't know what it's like --
MORGAN: I get a sense you don't really like it. BRAND: I think it's a -- like this is not a lament for, oh, it's so difficult being privileged. But I really wish that people knew, people that are bombarded incessantly with images of celebrity and luxury and privilege. Of course it's nice to not be dirt poor. I've been dirt poor, so I know.
But like it's -- like be -- the famous celebrity and stuff, it's not redemption. It's not salvation. It's not love. It's not connection. People are redirecting our natural impulses toward things that they can manipulate and control.
MORGAN: Is it -- is it possible to have real relationships with real emotions in the cauldron of celebrity mayhem all around you all the time?
BRAND: I -- I thought -- you're in it, as well, aren't you?
BRAND: Look, every time I talk about it, then I get striped up with a load of quotes in lesser Web sites. And I don't mind talking to you. And if this was just a chit chat in some parlor somewhere, if you and I were in some bar in Dublin, I'd be more than happy to tell you everything.
But the -- the problem is, Piers, is that I have to protect my own feelings and the feelings of Katy, a person who I hold in very, very high regard.
MORGAN: She's quite nice. I met Katy at a party recently.
MORGAN: And she was very nice. But she did call you Rasputin.
BRAND: Rasputin, Grigori Rasputin, the mad Russian monk whose influence over the royal family brought about the communist revolution in Russia.
MORGAN: Why would she use that analogy, do you think?
BRAND: Well, I don't know. But I mean look at --
MORGAN: She was laughing at the time.
BRAND: Rasputin --
MORGAN: And she said very nice things about you.
BRAND: Oh, God, that's lovely. Thank you.
But, Rasputin, I mean he was a pretty powerful bloke, wasn't he, that he could manipulate folks with his eyes? I like Rasputin.
MORGAN: So you're not denying the allegation.
BRAND: He was all right, wasn't he? He was having it -- oh, he was a monk. He was having it (INAUDIBLE) he was getting in fights and he will still a monk.
He was a mad monk and a mystic, mystical magical powers, powers that perhaps we've somewhat forgot in our willingness to hand over our lives to autocrats and technocrats and bureaucrats and oligarchs.
MORGAN: Now, you're a super confident man.
BRAND: Thank you.
MORGAN: And I imagine that there's very little that could get to you, other than seeing your ex with a very handsome --
BRAND: Hey, how --
MORGAN: -- guy.
BRAND: -- much are you going to go on about this (INAUDIBLE)?
MORGAN: I'm going to show you a picture of your ex --
BRAND: Why would you do this?
MORGAN: -- cavorting --
BRAND: You said one question.
MORGAN: -- with somebody more handsome than you.
BRAND: I will not play along with this ridiculous -- it's a fallacy. Preposterous.
MORGAN: Let's move on. Forget it.
The tour, The Messiah Complex.
MORGAN: What is The Messiah Complex?
BRAND: The Messiah Complex is a disorder where the sufferer believes himself to be God's anointed chosen one on Earth to bring about, you know, peace or whatever. Now, sometimes it may be a legitimate messiah. On other occasions, it's like a lunatic.
Now, apparently there's a mental hospital in Jerusalem with a ward dedicated to this condition, where everyone there thinks that they're Jesus.
MORGAN: Is that true?
BRAND: Yes, it's true. So imagine the arguments they're going to have. So then imagine the forgiveness, Piers.
(LAUGHTER) BRAND: It's almost worth the arguments for the forgiveness.
MORGAN: And who are the kind of people that you're going to be talking about in relation to the -- the kind of godlike figures?
BRAND: Yes, because I'm not accusing these people of having the messiah complex, I just like that pun. The people I'm talking -- I'm talking about four great historical figures who have been posthumously appointed to different roles than perhaps that which they lived in live. And I'm talking about the necessity for icons, the necessity for pure icons and how, in a culture without heroes, we become play things to the powerful.
I'm talking about Malcolm X and his restoration of pride for the -- for the civil rights movement, Gandhi and his successful development of non-violence, Che Guevara and his successful revolution in Cuba, and Jesus Christ.
Now, all four of these men are also flawed. It's not unilateral greatness. There are many people who go, Che Guevara, that guy, or Malcolm X, he did this and Gandhi, even Gandhi, surprisingly, there's extraordinary information available about him.
But what I am urging through this is for people to focus on the heroic within people, because we have no (INAUDIBLE) now, we have been stripped of our gods in this secular society with only our desert religions remaining. And without any gods, as it has been said, man won't believe in nothing but that he'll believe in anything.
MORGAN: Do you like being a movie star, a TV star, a performer? What is the great love for Russell Brand, really?
BRAND: It's nice to do a movie if you're with Alec Baldwin or Helen Mirren or Jonah Hill or Jason Segel. I've worked with really, really cool, lovely people.
TV is good because of its -- it's rapid and it's fast turnover. But standup comedy is my heart, because you're there. No one can mistake what you're saying there. Or if you do make a mistake and you say something dumb in a -- you know, I never know when I've said something that's inappropriate. I may have said something over the course of this interview and people go, oh, I've got him.
You know, but like -- but like, if you're live in standup, you hear people in the room go ooh, and make a nod at me like that. And you can sort of offer up some justification. I like that directness. I think it's very important that we have direct communication, because our media is very, very manipulative and gives us a -- it designates information in a very interesting way.
And you and I are part of it, so we know how it works and we know who's agenda it's serving. And it isn't the people it's purporting to be serving. We know this already.
MORGAN: What is the -- what is the path to happiness for Russell Brand, do you think? BRAND: For me, I think it's about trying to overcome relentless egotism and selfishness. It's like if you're trying to be like -- don't be selfish. You can't make yourself happy through being selfish. Put other people in front of you. And that's what I have to remind myself every single day, that that's what's important, because my instinct is to rrrrrr.
MORGAN: Do you know what, so is mine.
Russell, great to see you.
BRAND: Thanks, Piers.
MORGAN: And just to remind all viewers, Russell Brand's "The Messiah Complex" tour goes from August to December. tickets are on sale now. Check out RussellBrand.tv.
And we'll be right back.
BRAND: A good image, isn't it?
Look at that.
MORGAN: That's a great image.
BRAND: That's a (INAUDIBLE).
MORGAN: Country music star, TV star and now an author at the age of 51, Billy Ray Cyrus has gone from writing songs to penning his memoir, "Hillbilly Heart," detailing his own pitfalls on the way to stardom, as well as his many success stories, and, of course, his daughter's Miley's path to stardom.
Billy Ray, welcome back.
CYRUS: It's an honor to be with you.
MORGAN: Always good to see you.
CYRUS: Thank you.
MORGAN: You always look younger than me, which, given you're three years older than me, is annoying.
What's the secret?
CYRUS: There's really no secret. I'm just trying to, you know, stay healthy.
MORGAN: Punishing, grueling gym sessions like I have to?
CYRUS: No, but I wish I did. I wish I did. I just, you know, I -- I try to just eat as well as possible and -- and, take care of myself. I go on a lot of walks. I like to walk, with my dogs. And we'll walk for miles.
MORGAN: When I read the book -- it's funny you say that, because I can imagine you walking and thinking a lot. You dedicated the book to dreamers. I've never seen that dedication before. I can imagine you out there dreaming a lot.
CYRUS: Well, you know, especially as a kid growing up in Kentucky, there's a lot to, in my mind, to dream about. You know, there was a lot of good adversities, times were tough, and that's why when I initially read the book, "Think and Grow Rich," at age 18 years old and thought, wow, there's -- look, there's people that chart a course in life, they set goals and, you know, and they move from one spot to the next to the next, you know, instead of being hopelessly adrift at sea, you know, waiting on the next ship, the wind or the current to change. You know, it's people that charted a course.
And that turned me on, about reaching dreams. And I was kind of hoping to share some of that philosophy in this book, "Hillbilly Heart." That's part of the reason I wrote it.
MORGAN: When you were that 18-year-old Billy Ray, what was the big dream?
CYRUS: Well, when I was 18 years old, the big dream for me was to be Johnny Bench. I wanted to be the next catcher for the Cincinnati Reds. But it wasn't long after that, uh, a couple years after that, I started feeling this feeling inside and I describe it as a voice within. It was that moment of -- it was a gut feeling, you might say, of buy a guitar and start a band. And through your music, God will use your life to touch other people's lives around the world.
MORGAN: This thing with Justin Bieber. In fact, it could be any week. He's -- he's been having a sort of chaotic few months, if you'd like, the growing pains of Justin Bieber. You've been through all of this yourself. You've been through it with Miley.
So what do you feel about Justin?
CYRUS: I -- I like him, you know. I think that -- it's tough to be his age and, you know, to be in the middle of that rocket ride, you know? And it -- it can go crazy no matter what you do. Somebody is going to find something wrong with it. There's going to be -- there's always going to be an opposite and equal reaction. You can't have a career like that that so many people love you that passionately. There's going to be a flip side to that.
MORGAN: Have you been through it yourself?
When Miley began to rocket -- and she really did rocket. I mean, she was just as big as Bieber, uh, is now. When that happened, did you sit down with her and give her the life lesson about this is what's going to happen and these are the pitfalls?
CYRUS: You know what, I think it was more met with Miley growing up under the circus tent of my life, realizing that, again, that's, you know, for -- in this business, the higher you go, the further you fall, knowing that in entertainment, you -- that's the -- there's a good side of it, that anything you can dream, you can be, have or do and it can go really, really high.
But the bad news is, as Kris Kristofferson said to me, the turkey with the longest neck is going to be the one everybody is shooting at. And, you know, you -- you -- you've kind of got to be prepared for that reaction, those two sides of the sword.
MORGAN: What's been the hardest part of that for you personally? What was the toughest moment when you look back?
CYRUS: Looking back at my life, some of the adversities I faced as a kid, to be honest, early on. My mom and dad got divorced. The -- chapter one is called "Life Ain't Fair."
And it was that moment where my dad pulled to the side of the road, I asked him why everything was messed up. And he pulled over and looked me in the eyes and said, "Son, life ain't fair. As soon as you realize that, you can move on. But you've got to just understand it. It just ain't fair."
MORGAN: Life isn't fair, but life is pretty good, I would say, for most of the time for you. And, I mean, really, there's a sense of warm -- there's a lovely quote, actually, from Dolly Parton on the back. "The first time I met Billy Ray, like I'd known him all my life. I still feel the same way today. He has a warm feeling in his heart and a sweet thought on my mind. He seems like family to me."
I sort of feel that about you. I mean I don't know you that well, but every time I've met you, I feel that. You've got a very nice demeanor about you. You're very humble, genuinely. And you radiate that kind of warmth. I know exactly what Dolly meant.
But where go you get that from?
CYRUS: Well --
MORGAN: Your parents or?
CYRUS: Thank you very much for saying that and it was an honor. Dolly has been a great friend. It's been an honor to get to know her as a -- professionally and personally.
You know, I -- I think it's my -- my parents, it was a way of being raised to treat others the way you want to be treated. And as you sow, so shall ye reap. That's the laws of life.
Billy, it's been a very tough time for America in the last few years, you know, a great economic crisis causing great financial hardship to many people, some appalling mass shootings in Aurora, at Sandy Hook.
You come from a part of America where the gun culture is very prevalent. Most people grow up with guns around them in the home for hunting, for shooting with, for sport and so on.
But there is a -- an epidemic of gun violence in America.
What is your take on it?
CYRUS: Well, Piers, you may recall, I -- I was here in New York City, when Newtown happened, ironically, and for some reason, there seems to never be coincidence within my life. I'm on Broadway in Chicago playing Billy Flynn, singing a song about the gun. You've got the gun, the gun, the gun, you've got the gun -- I was singing that -- the gun, the gun, the gun.
That's the song I'm singing as that day unfolded into that terror from hell and these broken hearts everywhere.
That sadness and that feeling of why does -- why does hatred have to -- why does it have to be taking over so much?
That being said, I don't see anything wrong with having a background check, you know. I've got kids. You've got kids. I think a background check is a really good idea at this point.
I mean it's, again, it's gotten to the point now that we've got to act. I mean, we've got to do something. We can't stand by and just watch this happen over and over and over again. It's -- I think a background check is a good idea.
MORGAN: Billy Ray, it's a very honest book. It's called "Hillbilly Heart." It's a memoir. A terrific read. Good to see you.
CYRUS: Thank you. You, too. You're a gentleman.
MORGAN: We'll be right back.
MORGAN: We wanted to introduce you to one of our CNN heroes. She's a remarkable woman named Nancy Hughes who is saving lives by reinventing something in just about every kitchen in the world.
Here's her story.
NANCY HUGHES, CNN HERO: People have no idea that cooking kills people. Indoor air pollution is estimated that it kills millions of people every year.
A mother who has got a baby over an open fire -- I mean, that's the equivalent of that baby smoking packs of cigarettes every day. After my husband died of breast cancer, my life changed because I volunteered with a medical team in Guatemala. There were doctors who could not put tubes down the babies' throats because the throats were so soaked with creosote.
This is what they're breathing. Their lungs are like this inside. I thought, we need to change this.
My name is Nancy Hughes, and I work to save lives and save forests by providing fuel-efficient stoves to the world.
The stove is called the Ecocina. E for environmental, and cocina for kitchen. It's safe. It's cool to the touch. It prevents the creosote buildup in the lungs. It contributes to better health by preventing skin diseases, eye diseases.
Also, you don't have to cut down trees. You can use small branches. It's kind of a little miracle.
We started six factories in five countries. We wanted to give employment in the areas where there's poverty. Those factories that we started have produced 35,000 stoves.
I'm addicted to this. The first year, I went to Latin America eight times on my own nickel.
There are a lot of women and a lot of children who are breathing a lot easier because of the Ecocina stove.
I'm 70 now, and this is what I do in my, quote, "retirement," unquote.
MORGAN: Watch for more CNN heroes next week.
And this Sunday, you can see the groundbreaking documentary, "Girl Rising," the story of nine extraordinary girls in nine countries on how education is changing their lives. Here's a preview.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My story is like thousands of others, millions. No one bothered to record the date of my birth.
As a girl, I was considered unworthy of a record. I am told my mother burst into tears when she learned my sex. Set me aside in the dirt.
She already had one son, but wanted another, wanted the status of being a bearer of boys. My mother never learned to read or write. She's never opened a book, never written in a diary. Can't even decipher the scribbles on a bag of rice.
To me, at just 3 years old, I spent my days working. My hands and face were chapped from carrying icy mountain water to wash one's hands. I worked before dawn, cleaned the house, washed the clothes, the dishes.
I carried my siblings on my back until they were old enough to walk. I learned early to serve. I learned early that this is the way things were always intended to be for the women of my family.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Stars from Cate Blanchett to Meryl Streep, Selena Gomez, are all getting involved. And people around the world will be watching. That's "Girl Rising", Sunday night at 9:00 Eastern on CNN. That's all for us tonight.
Anderson Cooper starts right now.