ASCAP Features Jesse Cutler in Playback Magazine
Jesse Cutler – A Life in Music
With 40 years of experience in the entertainment industry under his belt, Grammy Award-winner singer, musician, composer and arranger Jesse Cutler has lived several lives in the music industry. Jesse Cutler, original name Louis Milo Gibaldi, picked up his love of music very early. As a young boy, Cutler had taken a trip to Sicily, where he witnessed his older cousin playing the Elvis Presley hit “Love Me Tender” in Italian while girls swooned around him. After that, Cutler’s father bought him a guitar and fate took over.
At the age of 13, Mercury Records signed Cutler, then going by the name of Lou London, in 1964 with his band The Young Executives and soon their hit single “Everybody Do the Duck” hit the Billboard Top 100 charts. Such renowned shows as American Bandstand, The Merv Griffin Show, Hullaballoo and Shindig invited them to make appearances, as did charity fundraisers and private parties around the New York area. Also, they were blessed with the chances to play with stars including The Rolling Stones, Sammy Davis, Jr., Barbra Streisand, Anthony Newley, Joan Collins and The Beatles. Of his experience of gaining such celebrity at a young age, Cutler says “It was very, very exciting and thrilling. As a teenager you kind of think you’re as big as the Beatles at that time. When we heard our records being played on the radio, I think that was the biggest thrill of all.” The Young Executives did not last forever though, and in 1966 they disbanded.
Without The Young Executives, Cutler still continued to do very well for himself. In 1971, Jesse was hired by Stephen Schwartz to join his new musical, Godspell, as a guitarist, singer and co-arranger. One of his proudest accomplishments, Cutler said was when “Stephen Schwartz played the original piano tunes to me, he allowed me to re-record all the songs and I told him that sixty to seventy percent of the music should be guitars. I influenced the great Stephen Schwartz by having a lot of the songs that went to number one like “Day by Day” and I shared in receiving a Grammy award for the original cast album.” He went on to perform in 800 consecutive shows off and on Broadway and performed bass guitar on the Godspell movie soundtrack.
For the next several years, Cutler kept himself musically busy achieving such accomplishments as being signed to Brut Records in 1973 as their premiere recording artist and in that same year, he moved to Los Angeles to form a new band named Jesse Cutler’s Angel. Also, 1976 brought an exclusive three-album record deal with the United Artists and Chalice Productions though in 1978 after the “Jesse Cutler: Entertainment for All” solo album was released and put as a “Top Album Pick” by “Billboard,” EMI bought United Artists and got rid of Jesse and all but two recording artists from their label. After that, Jesse’s music releases included Disco Diet: Dance Yourself selling a half million copies worldwide in 1979, his single “Automatic Man” in 1979, the music soundtrack for the exercise video Sandahl Bergman’s Body in 1982 and Music of the Stars: The Astral Connection between 2000 and 2002 which are twelve CDs of original tracks to match the personality of each Zodiac sign.
Most recently, Cutler has two more events of which he is proud. One is the publication of his new autobiography StarLust: The Price of Fame and the other is his new album Test of Time.
According to Cutler, StarLust: The Price of Fame is “a survival guide to show business to anyone who is in it or wants to be in it, they will be able to live through my trials and tribulations. It addresses what you’re going to perceive and possibly experience in the entertainment business.”
The new CD, Test of Time is a nod to Cutler’s long enduring career. The album is a collection of 21 tracks including some previously unreleased tracks such as “World Keeps on Turning,” “I Can’t Breathe” and “Innocent Love” which were all originally recorded in the 70s with his Godspell band mate Paul Shaffer on keyboards and also the sounds of the late jazz trumpeter Don Ellis who is heard in the track “Live On.” “All of the songs come from my heart and soul and I’m a romantic so I always believe in romance and hope for a better day,” says Cutler.
With such a durable career as Cutler’s, he is probably the best to ask for advice about surviving and thriving in the music industry. Some final good advice from Jesse Cutler for musicians is, “I would say that whatever they create and write, they best totally believe it before they go and record it and make sure that what they’re saying in their music captures their true voice and message of what they want the public to hear. Anybody who’s writing songs and producing records, my advice before they lay down the tracks is that they’re saying exactly what their inner voice wants other people to hear and enjoy.”
– Lauren Vislocky