Cory Marks

It’s not often that someone is a profound athlete, knows how to operate highly complex mechanical machinery and is an ex-traordinarily talented musician. Singer/Songwriter Corry Marks checks each box and while his tour schedule was interrupted due to the COVID pandemic, he took some time to chat and reveal details about his upcoming album Who I AM (his second studio LP), his show and past experiences.

SFL Music: Tell me about the new album?

Cory Marks: The album isn’t out yet with Better Noise. It’s called Who I Am.

SFL Music: When is it due out?

Marks: We’re planning on having the album out [August 7th]. It consists of twelve tracks. It’s a record I’m really excited about and proud of. There’s no other sound out there like it both in country or rock. It’s definitely got the mix of that in its sound. It’s a great record that again, I’m excited about and I think if I could elaborate on the sound or compare it to anything, it’s like a mix of Merle Haggard, Eric Church and Ozzy Osbourne.

SFL Music: That’s awesome! Ozzy and Deep Purple are mu-sical influences? Who else would you say are your musical influences?

Marks: Well growing up, on my mom side you know, was very country, so I grew up on, even going way back to Kenny Rogers, Buck Owens, Ernest Tubb, the country sector, and my dad was a huge Waylon Jennings and Merle Haggard fan. So, I grew up a lot on that stuff, but on the other hand, he was a big rock fan too. Of course, being Canadian, our favorite band is Rush. I grew up on Deep Purple, Rush, Ozzy Osbourne and as I progressed, I was a drummer before a singer/songwriter, so I actually started drumming to learning all the Rush songs. Then in my teens, I pro-gressed to heavy metal like Pantera, Lamb Of God, Arch Enemy. All that good stuff. On the rock scene for sure it was like Ozzy Osbourne, Deep Purple, Dio and all that good stuff. So, I kind of have a bit of a mashup of different genres and sounds, but that’s what makes you land.

SFL Music: What influenced you to become a drummer, to go into music?

Marks: Well, my dad was a drummer, but he also was a song-writer and would sing back up in his brother’s band long before I was born. So, I kind of grew up I guess with rhythm. I was al-ways tapping on desks and all that good stuff. By the time I was ten years old, 11 years old, my parents would come home from work and find me drumming with the Moving Pictures record, to Rush on paint cans that I had set up, trying to set up and mimic Neil Peart’s kit. Not too long after that my parents decided to get me my first drum set. I’ve always loved music. I grew up around great music, so I started drumming of course, and into my teens, I started bands, winning band challenges and then high school band and actually was in a metal band by the time I was fif-teen and we recorded a record. The band was called Inflict. We played a lot of local venues even though we were too young to be in them. We still managed to play them, and that was a lot of fun. Then by the time I was nineteen or eighteen/nineteen, I started playing in bar bands just doing like top 40 stuff with some friends, and that’s kind of where I started, really wanted to be a singer/songwriter and give that a shot, and it kind of just happened. I started singing/songwriting, and then I started playing like open mic nights, and it kind of just went from there.

SFL Music: Where do you get the ideas for your music? Your Who I am LP has songs that reflect on your hometown with love songs and things of that nature, but what would you say inspires your music?

Marks: Yeah, I like to say that I write about real stuff I’m into or somebody close to me is into, or that I heard about. Love, heart-break, good times and bad times. A little bit of everything.

SFL Music: People can relate to your songs. You also played hockey?

Marks: I did yeah. I grew up in a very, you know, a big hockey family, so my brother was actually drafted in the NHL. He’s still playing. Unfortunately, with COVID (-19), his season has ended, but this was his thirteenth year as a professional hockey player. Myself, I started at the same time, three years old when I was on skates. Played three years of Junior, major junior hockey. I actually turned down a full ride to (The) Ohio State University be-cause I didn’t want to write the SAT’s. (he chuckled). Then after that I played a couple more years of junior hockey and you know; you can only play junior hockey ‘til you’re twenty. So, while I was kind of coming up on that, I was also scouted out by RMC, which is the Royal Military College of Canada, and growing up I always had a huge passion for aviation. All my friends and family thought I was going to be a pilot before this whole music thing. At the time I was already a few hours short of my private pilot license, so I decided why not go to school. Get an education. Get paid to do too ‘cause it’s a military college, and play hockey throughout the winter, and in the summer be close to whatever squadron, and train as a pilot.

So, I enrolled as a pilot in hopes to be a fighter pilot then, and that’s actually how my singing career started was while I was out there in Cason, Ontario, Canada, where the military college is. It was a lot of hockey, a lot of schooling, and then we liked to, I think it was on Wednesdays, go up to a place called The Brat and there’s this guy called Smitty, a good friend of mine. He still sings there every Wednesday or whatever it is. He keeps the legend down there. Anyway, we were out one night and I was just starting to play guitar, and I was posting these covers on You Tube and long story short, my teammates got a hold of that and without knowing, we were out one night and having some drinks and they managed to get me up onstage. I think I sang two originals and two covers and from then people were asking me where they could buy my music or where else I was playing, but that was literally the first time I ever sang by myself acousti-cally. So, things didn’t pan out at RMC and my brother’s girlfriend at the time was managing a bar in North Bay, where I am from, and just said, well, if you’re not going to stay there, why don’t you come back home and play here if you want to play for a couple hundred bucks, and that’s what I did and it ended up landing me another gig on Friday nights, and it ended up being Friday and Saturday and here I am. I’ve crossed Canada several times and plan on crossing the USA this summer.

SFL Music: How did you learn to play the guitar?

Marks: Like drums, my dad taught me some basic stuff, and then I kind of just went on my own and started learning. So, it was just a matter of repetition and playing, and always comes back to lots of practice and yeah, I taught myself drums and guitar really, and funny story. The only thing I ever failed was actually 10th grade music. So, I failed music. I didn’t understand it at all and yeah, I’m a drummer, guitar player and singer/songwriter. It’s kind of ironic.

SFL Music: Was it because of the type of theory?

Marks: Yeah, theory and I mean even reading music, it just baffles me. I respect everyone who can do it, but I can’t, (he laughed).

SFL Music: How did you get into flying and what made you want to become a pilot?

Marks: North Bay is a big military town, so when I was growing up as a kid, there’s a lot of fighter jets. A lot of military action com-ing in and out of the city, and we had one of the biggest airshows in North America believe it or not, and so they were always flying over my house. My dad would take me out to the airport. He’d even take me out of school sometimes when there were some cool jets that would come in. My mom still tells stories every now and then, we’d have a little gathering that she remembers get-ting phone calls that like I would get up out of class. I’d hear a jet and run to the back of the class and I was able to name what kind of jet that was. If it was like Canadian or American. I was just obsessed with planes as a young kid. Then again, just being around it. My dad being cool enough to bring me to air shows and all that stuff. I think I just developed a passion for it at a very young age.

SFL Music: That’s really cool. What position did you play in hockey? It was nice that you and your brother started to-gether.

Marks: Yeah, well my dad was a huge hockey fan. Probably the smartest guy I know when it comes to hockey. He knows the game so well and he brought that into our lives. It was also a very big hockey town. North Bay is still a very big hockey town, hockey community. So, my dad would make an ice rink in the backyard. So, since I was three years old, I was on skates, and he would teach us how to shoot and skate and all that kind of stuff. I think it’s just part of who we are in our family, like all my cousins played and everything too. Northern Canada, northern Ontario, Canada in general is quite a population that are hockey lovers or hockey players, so I think it was just one of those things that we grew up to love at a very young age.

SFL Music: So, you played different positions?

Marks: Yeah, in the summer there was a big roller hockey league. When I was around twelve or thirteen or so, and into about fifteen or sixteen. I can’t remember, but I would actually play goalie and I was a really good goalie roller hockey, and we got like provincial championships and won some pretty big tournaments and stuff, but on hockey you know, especially when I was younger, I was trying to figure out whether I was defense or forward. So, I kind of went back and forth to a winger, a defenseman, into my Junior, major Junior hockey, I was a winger. Right winger, forward.

SFL Music: Can you say which professional team your brother plays on.

Marks: Right now, he plays for the Dundee Stars. The EIHL. The Elite Ice Hockey League. That’s over in Scotland, but he played four years in the NHL. He went back and forth to the A and East Coast hockey league for several years before he went over to Europe. Yeah, he’s playing in Dundee, Scotland.

SFL Music: Nice. So, tell me about your show. What can fans look forward to when you can play out again?

Marks: You know, I’ve always loved the energy of a rock show of course, but also the passion. The passion and connection at a country show. So, I really try to put those together. I mean, I like to come out with a bang. Very high energy. I like to get everyone going. Everyone excited. It’s a bit of a roller coaster. Come out you know, big and strong. Then to those sing-a-long, feel good, and halfway through the show, I like to break it down, sometimes strip it way down to just me and an acoustic guitar.

Sing a couple of ballads. Really just be one on one with my fans and connect with them, and then we go back up that hill and go up on that roller coaster. Kind of bring it up a little bit with more sing-a-longs and typically end the night. Start with a bang and end with a bang!

SFL Music: Sounds like an amazing show!

Marks: I try to make sure everybody enjoys.

SFL Music: Is there anything else you want to suggest for people to do at home?

Marks: Well, I was on a #Redneck Tour which I’m supposed to be on now. We were gonna do four days across Canada, but by the third show ultimately, we got into this craziness, so I ended up you know, I had a bunch of merch for that, that ultimately wasn’t able to sell. So, I’m actually selling merch through these shows which have been great. All over between the United States and Canada, even into Europe you know, the parts that we can actually send out to. I’m just doing it by email and people can send an email to me with their mailing address and their info, what they want. Whether it be a hat, a t-shirt, or poster. Then I do Pay Pal or e-transfer and that’s how they’re able to get any kind of Cory Marks merch if they want some to wear home, and then wear at a concert.

The email is actually corymarquardt@ . (Readers-there you go)!

SFL Music: The “Outlaws and Out-siders” collaboration (with Travis Tritt, Mick Mars and Ivan Moody). Are there any more near future col-laborations?

Marks: That would be pretty awe-some. There are some ideas floating around, so I hope they do happen one way or another. You may have already heard the CMA has been can-celed. We were trying to float ideas around that which could have been I think, pretty legendary and kick ass, but maybe at next year’s CMA’s we can make something like that happen. As for getting through this year, who knows what’s going to happen. I think everyone especially in the music industry is just trying to kind of get by and get back to normal. We’ll start making some plans further down the road.

SFL Music: Is there anything else you want your fans to know?

Marks: They can just follow us, any info they want or whatever. Obviously, on my website and then they can follow me on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook, like my Facebook page and that stuff. It’s Corey Marks Music. So, that’s the handle there. That will have all my live feeds and everything where they can connect with me and be one on one.

This is the time SFL Music readers to connect with the music from the artist that you love to listen to, and fill your valuable time relaxing and enjoying Cory Mark’s music.

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