If Clark Colborn had been born 50 or 100 years earlier, he may not have been a musician, but rather an adventurer or explorer or inventor; possibly some kind of rabble-rouser. He certainly would not have been any sort of “regular guy,” although he probably would be mistaken for one at first glance. Not following the beaten path is his nature, and it shows in his guitar playing and his song writing. Unrestrained passion with all the subtlety of a steamroller one minute, refined, articulate, and laser sharp the next, his guitar playing channels Jimmy Page (Led Zeppelin) then Steve Vai then Eddie Van Halen before diving into territory you can’t easily label.
After spending years astonishing the patrons of roadhouses & rock venues throughout the Midwest with bands such as Cheater, Blackjack, and Sleight of Hand, he has stepped fully into the spotlight as a solo artist. Writing and recording material that draws such diverse comparisons as King Crimson, Ozzy Osbourne, Dream Theater, Frank Zappa, and Jeff Beck, Colborn says he just wants to make remarkable music. “I want my music to be fun to listen to, stimulating to play, and to convey a sense of energy to my audience,” he says, “and at the same time, I need to express myself sometimes and go exploring other times.”
His adventurous and innovative nature make it hard to pigeon-hole his genre. Clearly hard rock on one tune, experimental on another, then full throttle metal followed by a quiet, introspective piece, his music is evocative and intriguing. And probably, it is not what you expect.
Colborn’s first disc was released under the moniker “Clark Plays Guitar” and earned some impressive critical accolades. Gregory Johnson of Beetcafe.com said, "Listening to the CD takes you back to the days when Randy Rhodes and Eddie Van Halen turned playing guitar into an art form.” According to Wayne Klinger of Quintessence, "...Clark is definitely something quite different in terms of the way he writes and handles his music. The leads and rhythms are catchy and inspiring; just the whole damn CD is impressive." Michael Molenda, Editor in Chief, Guitar Player Magazine had this to say: “Clark Colborn’s fat and massively effected tone comes on like Godzilla, and it shifts between slinky, silky, scary, spiky, and searing. ...his brilliantly schizoid technical/primitive approach to the guitar is pretty exciting. In short, he rocks.”
With reviews like that some artists might be content to release a “more of the same” sequel. Rather than take the easy route, though, Colborn upped the ante with the follow up. The change can be noted by just looking at the credits as King’s X’s Ty Tabor serves as the mastering engineer on the release. But the difference doesn’t stop there. Colborn admits that on the first disc he held back a bit, playing it a bit safe.
With “Again,” he says, “I let the songs take control and go where they wanted to go. So I ended up with longer songs (the obvious single, “Lie to Me,” is six and a half minutes long!), more complex arrangements (but they still flow and rock!), and vocals. I always try to write music that will flow, and rock, and hold the attention of the listener. Sometimes getting too technical can ruin that flow, but for intelligent listeners not being technical enough can make the music boring. I think this album really strikes a good balance.”
Colborn and his family make their home in northern Illinois (which is properly pronounced like “ill annoy” he would like you to know), about two hours west of downtown Chicago.