Biography All Music Guide
All Music Guide:
Chris Cutler has led a varied and surprising career as a drummer, record label executive, hard line socialist, and ethnomusicologist, among other labels, spanning over three decades of work and close to 100 records. Born in Washington, D.C., on January 4, 1947, but raised in England, Cutler began drumming in beat and psychedelic groups around 1966. His first group, Louise, played the clubs in London's psychedelic scene until disbanding three years later. With then-keyboardist of the band Egg, Dave Stewart, Cutler formed the 26-piece Ottawa Music Company, which played seven gigs in all, highlighting the music of composers that they knew or had met. Henry Cow was formed in 1971 after Cutler placed an ad in the paper, and for seven long years they recorded and toured, by themselves or in collaboration with members of Slapp Happy. Cutler also played with progressive band Gong and the London Philharmonic and the Berlin Radio Orchestra. Politics were always important to Cutler and to Henry Cow who were looking for radical social change. Such drive is seen in his lyrics for Henry Cow and for subsequent Cow and Slapp Happy related bands, such as Art Bears, News From Babel, and other collaborations with Lindsay Cooper and Peter Blegvad. Cutler's lyrics often tell metaphorical political tales using imagery from medieval English texts. Henry Cow broke up in 1978, just after the setting up of Rock in Opposition, a collective of similar thinking musicians. Since then he has formed several groups for one or two albums apiece, including Cassiber, the (EC) Nudes, and P53, and collaborated with a long list of progressive and experimental musicians, such as the Residents, Pere Ubu, Hail, Biota, Telectu, and many, many more. Cutler also founded and runs ReR/Recommended Records, which releases a majority of the work he either initiates or performs on. In the early '90s, he published "File Under Popular" a series of essays about experimental musicians and the theories of creating music against the mainstream.