Corky Laing

While Corky Laing is best known as the powerhouse rock drummer with the group Mountain, his career has lasted well past the supergroup where he made his name. Born Laurence Gordon Laing on January 26, 1948 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, he was the youngest in a family of five children. His oldest sister Carol was followed by triplet brothers -- Jeffrey, Leslie, and Stephen -- who called him Gorky, and he was eventually named Corky. In 1961, Laing landed a gig with the famous soul doo wop vocal group the Ink Spots, but moved into rock & roll with the band Energy, produced by a young Felix Pappalardi. Laing left Energy in 1969, replacing drummer N.D. Smart and joining electric bass guitarist Pappalardi and guitarist Leslie West in Mountain, who along with Cream and Blue Cheer, became one of the seminal power trios in modern heavy psychedelic rock music. Mountain released three albums in two years on the independent Windfall label and produced the mega-hit "Mississippi Queen." But Pappalardi went on hiatus while Laing and West formed, West, Bruce & Laing with former Cream bassist/vocalist Jack Bruce, producing two studio albums and a live release for the Epic label. Mountain re-formed in 1974, issued two more albums, and broke up again. In late 1975, Laing played congas for several tracks on Bo Diddley's all-star album The 20th Anniversary of Rock N' Roll. Mountain again reassembled in 1985 and Laing has sustained a working relationship with them. In 2003, Laing and West produced Nantucket Sleighride & Other Mountain On-The-Road Stories, a historical overview of their time with Mountain and tales of touring. 2007 kept Laing busy, recording Stick It, an audio version of his memoirs with Cory Bruyea. Mountain also turned out a Bob Dylan cover album Masters of War. West continued with a solo career throughout, while Laing has collaborated with John Lennon, Bobby Keyes, Ten Years After, David Rea, Mylon LeFevre, Meat Loaf, Frank Marino, and Mahogany Rush, Cork, Eric Schenkman (ex-Spin Doctors) and bassist Noel Redding, formerly of the Jimi Hendrix Experience.
Michael G. Nastos, Rovi

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