The birth of Coulter and Lewis

Created by crcandamc on 12/24/2014
I met Mark in high school and got to know him better in Junior College when we drove to school together every day. We wrote our first songs together while doing the traveling children's show "The Fantazmic Express". In the summer of 1972, Mark & I embarked on a cross country road trip in my Ford Pinto. Mark was learning the recorder, and I was just starting to get decent on the guitar. We were still amateurs as singers and musicians. We used to say that when we sang in unison, the two of us combined to make one decent voice. We traveled from town to town, would sing in a park, folks would gather, and after these impromptu concerts, we could usually finagle a "place to crash" for the night. I have fond memories of doing this at Ashland, Oregon, and at Yelowstone National Park (singing while Old Faithful played percussion in the background). We traveled up the coast of California, Oregon and Washington, made a right turn, and headed across the country, with an adventure in each town. We ended up upstate New York, where Mark stayed up for some time (while I headed back using a different route through the Midwest into the Southwest). It was that trip that formed our musical partnership. Back in California, we performed at parties, playing songs by our favorite musicians: Joni Mitchell, The Beatles, Bob Dylan. We started writing songs together, and started doing our first short public sets at the Ice House, Pasadena. I consider our "Coming Out" party as the Living Room Concert we gave in Mark's family home in Altadena in 1976. We had gathered enough material for an actual concert set, and tried it out on our friends and family. This was the start of "Coulter and Lewis" as an entity, and as we got better, it eventually became our main livelihood. We had no outside pressures. We played only what we wanted to, wrote our own material, worked out our patter, and never had a manger-type telling us what we had to do. We played private and public venues, handling our own booking and marketing. Our act was like a Renaissance Faire version of the Smothers Brothers, mixing humor & music with Mark's unique storytelling style. I used to say our instrumental sound (acoustic guitar and Mark's array of recorders)was like the first 15 seconds of "Stairway to Heaven". Our vocal sound owed a lot to the folk duos of our youth: Simon & Garfunkel, Chad & Jeremy, Peter & Gordon.We played many concerts at Pasadena's Ice House over the years (and there is a wealth of recordings from those shows between 1976-1984) until we became headliners, playing full two-act concerts. Our final performing season in 1984 had us being booked by the LA Music Theater's "Music Theater On Tour" Program. We played many school assemblies where we taught students about music and the troubadour tradition, while mixing in comedy, acting and storytelling into those energetic sets. In the end, acting and music became our bread and butter. How many performers can say that? And the icing on the cake: we did it our way. What a great ride...