Local guitarist expresses music passion
Posted: Tuesday, June 5, 2012 11:21 am
At a young age many are drawn to a certain instrument, but few continue with it or make a career out of it.
For East Syracuse guitarist, Mark Cloutier, he has been able to do both. Cloutier has been able to follow his passion with a lot of success.
At 14, Cloutier saw a child playing an old Halifax Les Paul Copy guitar and was immediately drawn to it. He purchased the exact guitar and worked on becoming the guitarist he is now. He began taking lesions and contributes everything he needed to know to his teacher Dan Klipp. Cloutier said, Klipp showed him how to teach himself to play as well as introducing him to some of his main influences including Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Eric Clapton and Jimmy Page.
Cloutier worked hard to become a great player and to find is since of style, but feels that he has worked hard to find his own sound.
“I continue the path of mastery everyday always looking for unique and different approaches and sounds,” Cloutier said. “I don’t really know what guitar mastery is, but I can tell you I now love how I am playing. The sound that comes from my hands is what I have strived towards since the day I began. Maybe that is guitar mastery, I am not sure.”
To help Cloutier master his sound he has a few different guitars he uses including a Raven West guitar, received as a gift from an online friend, but mostly the SRV issue Fender Strat, due to its versatility in sound and is equipped with a whammy bar.
Along with being a guitarist and working with his band, The Double Barrel Blues Band, Cloutier works at News Channel 9 as the mailman/maintenance worker as well.
“It’s the perfect job that allows me to do as I like as a musician,” Cloutier said. “There are great people there and they support my music career. I am a passionate person and guitar is a great way to express myself so it is a huge part of my life. I teach, record and perform regularly.”
Through out his career so far, Cloutier has been able to achieve many great accomplishments including opening for Molly Hatchet, Marshall Tucker, Chris Duarte, Mark Hummel and the Blues Survivors and many more. He has also played at venues including Watertown Fairgrounds Arena, Inner Harbor Concert Series, Pendragon Theatre and The New York State Blues Festival, where his band will be performing once again this year on July 15.
“I think having the gift of persistence and real hardworking musician’s attitude is my greatest achievement,” Cloutier said. “Playing many clubs, parties, festivals and concerts rates high on the list.”
Cloutier and his band have recorded multiple albums and have received nominations for a few of them. They received Sammy Award nominations in 2009 and 2010 for their albums “Bad Bad Feelings” and “Night Train Home.” As well as another nomination in 2011 for the album “Wings Of Fire.” The band has also won the U.S.I.A. award for best blues in 2010 and 2011.
Cloutier’s next performance is June 9 at the Turning Stone Casino in Oneida. For more information, visit markcloutierguitar.com or doublebarrelbluesband.com.
Blues Lion Records Presents:
An Interview with Nigel Potter
Nigel Potter is A lifelong musician and founder of Gunslinger and Merchants Of Sorrow..He has been involved in numerous worldwide music collaborations. Anyone who knows him, understands, he is a man of knowledge and experience..He is always the first to reach out and give a fellow mate a hand . Very selfless and very gifted in music..He will tell you it’s the journey that matters most!
I had the honor of interviewing Nigel here at Blues Lion Records..My 1st official interview!
Tell us a little about your self and how you got started in
music..What got you into playing guitar and writing songs?Your Top 5
guitarists of all time?
I started singing at about the age 4,maybe 5. It was school choir and that continued for several years. Church choirs etc and one ruthless choirmaster! I am the original choir boy that went bad LOL... I have a confession... My first guitar was actualy one I made out of cardboard LOL... I would have been about 6 years old then I guess? I'd always wanted to play guitar,can't remember a time before that wish. I got my first real guitar,at about age 12'ish,but didn't go electric till I was 16. It came with a song book with songs like "On top of old Smokey"... I had no idea what those songs were or how they should go,so I learned the chords and wrote my own songs from the get go. First guitarist I thought was really cool was Marc Bolan from T.Rex. His album Electric Warrior was the deciding factor in me going electric. Then there came this rather strange day when my auntie said "Oh you have an electric guitar,Alan (Alan Davey)has just bought himself a bass....I should bring him over so you can play together" So she did and we did. Within a year we were making our own bands with our own music. Ultra hard ultra loud. Gunslinger was born,liffy (Andy Lamb) completed the Gunslinger line up We tore the place up,we took the roof off many a building and we got raided by the police for being a traffic hazard LOL...... All the things you SHOULD do as rock n roll band. Time splipped past and one day Alan said he was going to do some audition tapes for Hawkwind,would I play guitar on them... So I did. At the same time I was auditioning for Motorhead,and my audition tapes were Gunslinger playing Motorhead songs! LOL....... Alan left to join Hawkwind and became the longest serving member next to Dave Brock himself. I unfortunately didn't get the job in Motorhead,I made the top 8 I think...
My own top 5 guitarists would be
1 Jimi Hendix
2 Jimmy Page (Zeppelin)
3 David Gilmour (Pink Floyd)
4 Ritchie Blackmore (Deep Purple)
5 Fast Eddie Clarke (Motorhead)
Without those 5 I probably couldn't play a note.
The music industry has changed through the years especially since
online music has become so popular..Tell us your thoughts on sharing music
online,collaborations,the friendships established, maybe
the business end of things..
Online is alot tougher than I thought it would be,and it's getting tougher. We all work in isolation,and we all work hard. The OMD scene really is at saturation point,I have often said that the last thing any OMD needs is another artist or another song. You have to find a space within all,make connections to people that can listen to you play or sing and instantly understand what is driving you. It's a magical feeling to complete a song,minutes later upload and minutes after that someone across the other side of the world is listening. The single biggest plus though has to be the collaborations. It's not that you are just making music together seperated by thousands of miles,but it IS the fact that you are thousands of miles apart,yet that recording sounds like you are standing side by side,and in all the important ways you are. Musicans all share that instinct,it borders on something like telepathy or empathy. The ability to completly sync the mind to the music and the other musicans. I've made music like that that I could have never written alone. From Blues to ambient,progressive to experimental,I've played it all,and I like to think I did it as a supporting role rather than the starring one. We all think like that,it's not me that matters,it's the song that matters. Having shared music in the way you do when you play together,you get this bond,nothing can break it once the music is done. It will always stand for what you did. It's not about the money,the internet will break you and leave you cold and hungry. You want to live off music,you got to still be out there playing live,making a name. It'll throw a few coins your way,but I don't know anyone living off it.
You once ran a music forum called Anubes…From my experience it was
a cool way to unite musicians who shared common interests..Not
always an easy task running it.Your thoughts?
Yes,mixed feelings you know? I still believe in what it stood for,and with hindsight I see how I got it wrong. I had big plans for it,and almost,almost got it there. Anubes grew out from a site called The Anubis Spire Smart Group. Bill the guitarist of the band and Kathy had agreed to set up a private forum. I had been telling them both that I needed someplace I could be me.... Anubes was the one place that was to be unlike any other place. No acting up,no ego,no temper,no confrontation,no trolls. It was the one place to go when people had had enough of that form all the other forums out there. It has 1 unwritten rule :RESPECT. It often made me feel like I had really built something,and to this day I can still see how it made people connect and become lifelong friends and collaborators,but.... Well in the end I think it broke my heart,and my spirit. It left me changed for sure,much more guarded and harder. The vast majority of people that came were simply wonderful,but it's like life.. Always that few who don't seem to want anything good to stand. They used it as their own playground for emotions they couldn't or wouldn't control. At one point there I think we pretty much ruled the internet music scene. Banded together as we were,you could pretty much guarantee top 5 on any omd,just from shared listening. We grew,man did we ever. We laughed,played and cried together. At this point I must mention the late and sorely missed Leo. We were a living community,some members were giving birth to their sons and daughters and in Leo's case,sadly we all lost one wonderful soul. I think it still stands for things like that... We became part of each others lives and forged memories and music that you can't just wipe away when a site is closed. I take the blame,it's my fault that it went the way it did and I alone closed it. It should still be there but I wasn't strong enough or smart enough to make that happen. It isn't easy trying to get it all right all the time for everyone,so my apologies to all who were Anubes.
What keeps you inspired to keep pressing on making music and sharing?
Another tough question Mark... I think it's just instinct,sharks swim,we make music. I must confess that these days my output isn't what it once was,at least as far as online goes... It's really tough to find that audience,and I think too many omds are letting down all the people that place their music there. They rent or give you space,a page and leave the rest upto the artist Oh sure you can buy promo spots and front page ads,but IMHO,that's not what we need. All you are doing there is trying to sell music to musicans. They do nothing to bring the public in,and at the end of the day,we as musicans NEED the public. Musican selling to musican is like trading a dollar bill amoungst each other. But I like to wipe away all that stuff and return to just making music. Going back to a time before the internet existed where you made music because that was something you loved to do. You have to remember as a musican that firstly you were a music lover. The internet can kill inspration quicker than anything I've ever encountered. You've got to keep some distance between you and what can happen out there. Music is what lights your fire,all the rest is add ons. So keep that flame protected and you'll make music all your life,it'll be a friend for life. It's never once let me down. I can still plug in and get completly lost in the music I'm making. It's a beautiful feeling and I treasure and thank the powers that be for every single day. I also take to heart every word people say,good or bad,because they are all worth taking to heart,there is so much music for people to listen to nowadays,if someone take the time to listen and comment,I want to say thank you. Recently Alan and myself ressurected Gunslinger. We set about recording all those songs we had written from 1979 to 1981... We recorded the "Earthquake in e-minor" album,and it took off big time. The band are currently touring the USA... Unfortunately I can't be with them as ill health kind of rules what I can and can't do. But I am still the driving force as far as the writing goes. I have written or co-written everything with Alan,and you can still get to hear my voice if you go see them live as they have the odd sample they use. I tend to sing high enough to stun bats,so no one else can quite do it LOL....... I can safely with complete confidence,if you already like Gunslinger..... There is a whole lot more to come. I just got news that I'm on two tracks on the new Hawklords 30 year celebration album. So things like that make it all worth while.
Where will the music industry be in say- 10 years from now?
I see the day of the hard copy vanishing. I see the day when we just rent music. The lables are finaly beginning to get their heads round the fact that you can't turn back the clock and have control in the way that they used to over music. I welcome the fact that the public has taken control away from them. Even if that means I get ripped off. The music industry has ripped me off more times than the public ever could. The public will take an album from you one time,downloading for free,but the music industry wants to take away your songs,they want to OWN what you made and take away your rights to it for good and all. If they can somehow write your name out of it,they will. If not,best case,they'll pay you the very least amount they can. I hope the public really keeps control of it and the lables go the way of street gas lamp fitters. We don't need them,sorry you have been out evolved,bye :) The musican has got a lot of adjusting to... The career option could well go out the window,that's going to leave only those who love making music doing it. No more multi million contracts,15 cars,5 homes and solid gold phones for the one in a million who make it on the lables. Best you can hope for is to make enough money to keep on going,just like any other job in the world.
Where are you hanging out online these days..Any recommendations ?
Any goals or milestones you might want to reach before all is said and
2 Places: Soundclick: http://www.soundclick.com/bands/default.cfm?bandID=213288 It was the first place I came online and it'll always be there so long as I am online. Secondly: http://nigel-potter.soundawesome.com/ Soundawesome is a UK site. The importance of that for me is I am on home turf. We like to think of the music scene as global,when in fact it is for most part USA centred. The kind of music I play it's not always easy to find those willing to listen to UK progressive rock or hard rock. Milestones... I still want to write those songs that make you feel like you're flying. Music that lfts you up when you're down,music to destroy worlds to when you're angry and that song that you hear when you feel like no one else understands you,you hear it and know that I do,you are not alone,I'm never gonna let you be alone. When I play and sing,nothing is staged,nothing is fake. It's pure emotion driven music. The songs are the pages of my diary that I put out there for others to read. I would love to see Gunslinger finaly make that big time... I would like that multi million contract,15 cars,5 homes and a gold plated phone. Just for once :) I'm not one to have musical daydreams,to much reality to dream like that again LOL I guess I want one thing... Recognition. Not for being a superstar "Sir Nigel"(Internet joke) or any of that... Just that I paid my dues,I gave over a life to music. Juggled all the things that we have to,took all the knocks that we do and kept on going.
Thanks a ton Nigel as I have been a fan and friend for some years now!
Rock on man!
Likewise Mark and thank you SO much for the honour of being the first!!
Recent review of Nigels new album!!