Hard Southern Rock from the Great White North!
By Kreig Marks, April 1, 2020
This singer/songwriter, drummer from Ontario is about to make big waves in the Country Music industry. Through his collaboration with the legendary Kevin Churko, (music producer extraordinaire), Cory's new album Who I Am, is getting a lot of air time and grabbing the attention of the music industry.
TRR: Hi Cory. Welcome to 2020 where the world is locked up.
CM: LOL. This Corona virus really has put the world on hold.
TRR: So, what are you doing with your time since the world is now quarantined?
CM: Well, I'm hanging in there. Everyone of us are going through it, so I'm definitely not alone. I'm home doing a lot of writing, trying to work on my guitar skills, selling merch online, and doing a lot of live feeds from home- which has been great. It's been a great way to reach out to a lot of new fans, and I'm just kind of rolling with the flow. But, it's given me time to get a lot of things done that I've had on the back burner, yet it's been a weird existence.
TRR: It really has. Hopefully it will begin to improve in the next few weeks. Where are you today?
CM: I'm in Toronto. Not doing any traveling at the moment until the quarantine is over, and it's safe to travel again.
TRR: That goes for a lot of us. Congratulations on the new album, Who I Am.
CM: Thank you. It was a lot of work but I think it turned out pretty well.
TRR: You’ve got some pretty good company in Ontario with Meghan Patrick, Jason Blaine, Tim Hicks, Jessica Mitchell, Three Days Grace, My Darkest Days, Big Sugar. Outside of Ontario, obviously Rush, Triumph, Bryan Adams, April Wine, Shania.
TRR: Shania is actually about 4 hours from me in Timmons, Ontario.
TRR: Very cool! The new album, is it out yet?
CM: We're actually going to drop it in the Summer. We're supposed to be out on tour at that time, hopefully, with Breaking Benjamin, and we want to tie in the release of the album with the tour.
TRR: It's a really solid album and I really enjoy listening to "Blame it on the Double," and "Outlaws and Outsiders."
CM: Thanks. Those were a lot of fun to record.
TRR: You recorded this album with Kevin Churko, who’s really a legend in the industry; having worked with Ozzy, Papa Roach, 5 Finger, Disturbed, Shania Twain. How did you meet Kevin?
CM: Funny story, my manager, Louie, grew up in the same city as Kevin. When I began songwriting in 2011, 2012, I met Louie in 2013, and I went to Nashville. I had heard of Kevin and thought, it would be cool to have someone like him do production on a Country record. Anyway, in Nashville, Louie told me, "Hey, you should see my buddy. Maybe one day we can hook you up with him. He's big time, produces a lot of big names, like Ozzy. Well, it turned out to be Kevin Churko. So, he came down to Moosejaw in Canada and saw my show there, and he really enjoyed it, and the rest is history.
TRR: What was it like working with him? Were you nervous?
CM: It was definitely surreal being in the studio with him, seeing all those plaques on the wall of Ozzy, Disturbed, Shania, 5 Finger. It was very motivating. But, Kevin was great. I wasn't nervous but I guess more anxious. I knew a lot about him and who he had worked with, and the list is huge. I was excited to be in that company. It was great working with him.
TM: Does he still have the beard?
CM: LOL. Yeah. That's one epic beard! I don't think that's ever coming off. LOL
TRR: I know you and Kevin have strong drumming backgrounds. Did you do the drum tracks on the album?
CM: Yeah, Kevin and I did all the drum tracks. Being drummers, both of our minds really went in the same direction during the recording.
TRR: "BLame It On the Double" is a great song. Is there a personal story in that song?
CM: LOL. Yeah. Especially in my earlier days. Bar fights, getting in lots of trouble, getting locked up from time to time. So, I'll often just blame it on that, "the double." LOL
TRR: “One thing that I do well is raise some hell….” Are you still a hell raiser or more laid back these days?
CM: I think I'm a little of both. Probably more laid back, but I still like to raise some hell occasionally to get the crowd going. I remember doing a big festival in Canada, about 4000 people there. Right there, before we go on stage, there's this big sign that says, "NO PROFANITY." I'm like, "Man, these people are here to party and have a good time." So, I walk out on stage and I say to the crowd, "How the fuck are we doing tonight?" And, the whole crowd went nuts. My manager heard about that later on and gave me some hell for it, but also laughed.
TRR: What are you hearing from others in the industry about the record?
CM: Yeah, I mean, I've been in touch with Jason Hook from 5 Finger Death Punch. He absolutely loves the record. We've actually started writing together.
TRR: He's a great guitarist.
CM: Oh man, he's amazing. He's a fellow Canadian, as well. I was actually supposed to be in Vegas now with him, writing there. So, I'll head over there once this quarantine is over.
TRR: How would you describe the new record?
CM: It's like a mix of Merle Haggard, Eric Church and Ozzy all blended together. So, I think it's very different, and we've been getting a lot of great feedback from the masses; country fans, rock fans.
TRR: It's really a crossover and can go to the country side or rock side. Is that what you were shooting for?
TRR: Growing up in Ontario, like most Canadians, you played hockey, and from what I’ve read, you were a pretty good player. Did you want to play professionally?
CM: Um, not really at the time. I was actually a winger. I had a lot of fun but didn't really take it seriously until I was about 18. My brother is the hockey player in the family. He got drafted and has been playing professionally for about 13 years now.
TRR: I hear you fly planes, is that true?
CM: Well, I'm actually working on my commercial license. I can fly solo right now but can't take anyone up yet. Given what's going on now in the world, I've been studying for it about 40 minutes every day.
TRR: So, here’s the legend: While in college, some of your teammates pushed you to go on stage and sing at some bar. Is that when the whole thing really started?
CM: Yeah. That's pretty much what happened. Going back to the whole hockey thing, I was studying for my pilot license, and the school shut down, and this hockey team picked me up. I was actually scouted by Ohio State University and played a few years of Junior Hockey. So, I ended up signing with RMC, and at that time, started writing and singing in my basement. One night, me and my teammates went to this bar called "The Brass." Some of my teammates secretly told the bar owner, that one of the guys on the team can sing, and they got me on stage. I was a bit lit at the time, we'd been sitting there drinking a few pitchers, and I guess that helped me get me up there and feel a bit loose. I went on stage and sang 2 originals and 2 covers. That's when I caught the bug. Things didn't work out with RMC and I ended up going to that club every week, and to a few other bars, and next thing you know, I'm doing some out of towners and some small tours and now, here I am.
TRR: And the rest is history.
CM: Yep, the rest is history.
TRR: It's really cool how things sometimes work out. Next thing you know you're recording with Ivan Moody and Travis Tritt.
CM: LOL. It's definitely surreal, man. It really is.
TRR: It's a really cool story how this all came together. So, if your teammates didn’t convince you to get on stage that night, you might be the starting defenseman for the Maple Leafs or Rangers?
CM: LOL. It was destiny.
TRR: I’m going to throw some names at you. Give me a 1 or 2 word comment about them.
CM: Greatest rock band ever
TRR: Neil Peart
CM: Best drummer in the world, God bless him
TRR: Dolly Parton
TRR: Waylon Jennings-
CM: Prince of Darkness. He's a legend. Crazy Awesome
TRR: Deep Purple
CM: I love Deep Purple. Great, great band
TRR: Merle Haggard
CM: Greatest singer / songwriter of all time
CM: Beautiful and Talented
TRR: Toby Keith
CM: Partier. Great song writer
CM: Successful. LOL
TRR: For your single, "Outlaws and Ousiders," what was it like having Travis Tritt and Ivan Moody singing on this, and Mick Mars laying down some guitar licks?
CM: We recorded in all different studios. Unfortunately, I never got to meet Mick. Ivan would face- time me when he was doing his sessions. It was very surreal. I'm lying there in bed and Ivan is shooting the shit with me, telling me how he loved the song. He was very down-to-earth, and to hear him sing on it was too cool. Spending time and being in the same room with Travis in Blackbird Studio, while he was laying down his vocals, was very cool and I'm so thankful to him and everyone involved. Alos, having him fist pump me while we hear some cool lines. It's a moment I'll never forget.
TRR: So, is the tour with Breaking Benjamin still on schedule?
CM: Yeah, it's from July to September.
TRR: Any plans for live streaming events right now during this lockdown?
CM: We're going to be doing Instagram live every Wednesday, and on Friday we'll do Facebook.
TRR: We'll make sure to share those, and we'll keep our readers in the loop.
TRR: Keep us updated on what’s going on, because you’ve got some big time fans here at Tru Rock.
CM: We've got another new single coming out April 17th. The song is called "Devil's Grin." I think you're gonna love that one, too.
TRR: Looking forward to hearing that one and promoting it, as well.
CM: Kreig, I appreciate your time and supporting me. Marks speaks to Marks. It was meant to be, buddy. Thank you so much.
TRR: I want to thank you, too. This has been fun. Be safe and we look forward to hearing more of your music.
CM: Kreig, I appreciate all you do and for this interview. Turn it up loud and share the shit out of it, and you be safe, too.
For further information about Cory Marks, visit www.corymarks.com.