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Profile: Chris Corrigan

by Beth Johnston

Chris Corrigan

A tape recorder and a guitar are two things Chris Corrigan has never been without. The soft-spoken Island musician has been listening to, playing and recording music for as long as he can remember.

"My earliest memory was the hype the Beatles created," he says. "My Dad played the guitar and I just got into it."

Corrigan grew up in the Edmonton suburbs with little or no opportunity to see live acts. "All I had access to was FM radio and a set of headphones. My friends and I were really into music. You know that scene in Wayne's World when they sing `Bohemian Rhapsody'? Well, that was us, only we were singing Bob Dylan's `Positively Fourth Street'."

Corrigan moved to P.E.I. in 1981 and became an integral part of the Island music scene. He has performed with many different groups over the years, but is probably best known as the guitarist for the Raindogs (The Dogs). At one point, this group was playing three nights a week at The Dip (Apothecaries Lounge). He describes his music as "too rock for the folkies and too folk for the rockies."

These days, Corrigan is getting into the recording side of the business as a producer and arranger. He has recorded such local success stories as Lennie Gallant, Strawberry, Roy Johnstone and Alan Rankin.

Right now, he is working on a project with singer songwriter Julia Schurman and hopes to do some session recording on Lennie Gallant's new album.

Corrigan knows there are many ways for musicians to get their recordings out to the listener; however, he says his experience and familiarity with the process give him an advantage. "As far as production goes, recording can be a lot like painting-you have to develop your own style. It is important to make the music you are hearing in your head come out of the speakers. I try to help other people do this."

Recording, Corrigan explains, can be a valuable learning experience. "A lot of times you find out what you're about by going into the studio. Some bands just need a little bit of fine tuning." He likes to spend time conceiving and preparing arrangements with his clients before recording begins.

"Playing music is a real social thing," he says. "It's a form of communication." An excellent musician, Corrigan has never enjoyed the limelight-which is just the way he likes it. "My idea of success would be to be a sideman to a big star, say, in Peter Gabriel's band. I love playing guitar in a supportive role."

For now, Corrigan is trying to balance art and business in his career. This summer, he will be part of the band for the summer festival's A Closer Walk With Patsy Cline at the Mackenzie Theatre.

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