Stillwater Black came together in 1991 when Chris Thayer met Ahmed and Sam Pierstorff while playing in the pit band for a high school musical production. Issac McCorkell was quickly recruited on drums and the band recorded its first EP, The Last Virtuous Lady of Athens.

In 1995 they signed with Cleaves Entertainment, a now-defunct independent label based out of Southern California's Inland Empire. Stillwater Black recorded their debut LP, Adam. They played frequently with local and national acts including Dishwalla, Save Ferris, Reel Big Fish, and IE punk/ska mainstays, The Skeletones.

In 1997 the members parted ways and the project lay dormant for two decades.

Monday, December 25, 2017

Best wishes!

Wishing all who observe a very happy holiday!

Blessings to you and yours.

In fraternity,
Stillwater Black

Monday, December 18, 2017

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Artist Profile: In This Moment

Back in September, we profiled a band that Chris turned me onto, My Chemical Romance. THE poster boys of emo rock, I had missed the ENTIRE life span of this band while on my musical hiatus. The good news is that I get to enjoy them like they're some new thing, but I certainly lost an opportunity to be a part of a cultural moment.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Drum day 12/10/17

We got together yesterday. It was our longest single session in awhile. Issac put down drums for two more new songs giving us a total of five new pieces of music to work through over the coming weeks.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Flashback '94: Roadhouse Blues

Since we're now streaming our cover of I've Just seen a Face, it seems appropriate to revisit another cover that was a staple in our early sets, The Doors' Roadhouse Blues.

Monday, November 20, 2017

The rock life chose me

Twenty years ago we had a record deal. We had a road crew. We had merchandise. And we had dreams of traveling the countryside and sharing music and good times with as many people as possible.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Man of Wax

Take me to your prom. Dress me up and down; it's funny how these shoes- they just don't seem to fit . . .

Monday, November 13, 2017

Thursday, November 9, 2017


Morning mist rolls in like a blanket and tucks itself in and falls asleep . . .

Thursday, November 2, 2017

1000 views (and a reflection)

Yay! We did it! We got our 1000+ views!

We crossed the 1000-view mark four months to the day of longshot's release back in July (in case you ever wondered what "7117" is all about- July 1, 2017).

That's a VERY big deal!!!

I'll tell you why.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Fats Domino 1928-2017

We mentioned something about the roots of rock and roll here. Elvis Presley was mentioned. Chuck Berry was mentioned. Little Richard was mentioned.

But I missed this root, perhaps because he simply ran too deep.

Monday, October 23, 2017


It don't sit so well with me.

I can't tell your holding from your holding me down.

Thursday, October 19, 2017


We see it all the time. We know about people who seem to have everything. But behind the stuff, the acclaim, the achievement, and the notoriety is absolute misery.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Drum day: 10/14

We finally got Issac into the studio (hiding far left!) to start tracking drums for three new songs. It was a minor miracle that he could stand up, let alone play.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Rock ethics

Rock musicians party. Rockers get high. They get drunk. They get laid. Rock music is inherently sexual. It's emotionally charged with a driving backbeat that compels listeners toward rabid, violent physical expression. Rock music is the soundtrack of moral depravity and a crumbling society. It's the devil's music.

This whole post is really just an excuse to showcase that totally rad Sigil of Baphomet.

But I also want to take a minute to figure out how rock got that colorful reputation.

Monday, October 9, 2017


We need a photographer. Just throwing that out there.

That hazy mess above is actually Chris and I in the studio for a fabulously productive writing and arranging session. So productive in fact, that Chris was refusing to honor his biology.

Thursday, October 5, 2017


While I haven't yet had the pleasure of meeting his lovely wife Crystal, my memory of Shane will always be connected to a gig we played in San Diego.

Monday, September 25, 2017


Something not too many people know about the band: three out of four of us played high-school football.

Thursday, September 21, 2017


I met Abby a couple of years ago while having coffee with some dear friends. As the conversation took its twists and turns, I found that the two of us had a couple of things in common. She did some running and I had just completed my first ultramarathon. And we were both passionate about music.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Artist Profile: My Chemical Romance

As mentioned in a previous post, I've been out of the popular music scene for a couple of decades.

That's been mostly great. I hear tell that the quality of musical output over that period really took a dive. And, with what little of it I've heard, I tend to agree.

I don't think Stillwater Black ever really broke new ground, but I think we were good at what we did. And that's all I want out of any performer in any given genre. If you innovate, great. But at a minimum, the work of a mainstream artist should be representative of the best the genre has to offer. And, in much of the contemporary music that I've been exposed to, I have not heard that to be the case.

But I don't listen so much. Chris has and does. And as my musical mentor, he's been kind enough to point me in the direction of some really great music.

The first thing he lent me was My Chemical Romance's The Black Parade.

The album came out in 2006. The band dissolved a full four years before I'd ever heard note one, so really late to this party.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Media, flipped

Twenty years ago, I walked away from Stillwater Black. I stopped playing music. I stopped listening to music. I got rid of all of my recordings, CDs, cassette tapes, and videos. I stopped listening to the radio. And I got rid of my television set.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Thursday, August 24, 2017

longshot: Another listen

Chris, Issac, and I were talking about how hard it is to listen to and really enjoy music with the kind of abandon that a lot of people seem to experience. We just hear too much.

Monday, August 21, 2017


I first talked about Molly here. It was through her that Stillwater Black got introduced to an amazing community of kids in Moreno Valley. But more than that, it was through her that we came to record our first EP, The Last Virtuous Lady of Athens.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Why you shouldn't buy our music (and why you should)

In this post, I'm not necessarily writing on behalf of the band. We all have ideas about what art means and our roles and responsibilities as creative people. We agree on many things, and sometimes we disagree.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Adam rereleased

Well, this is exciting.

Our first and only full-length record was originally released in 1996. There are a precious few CDs from that original run around (and if you have a copy, please say so in the comments).

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Friday, June 30, 2017

One day to go . . .

Sam. I think your derby's too tight, bro. longshot drops TOMORROW and you've been riding that same note for like the last four days.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Two days to go . . .

Sam. Bro. Really? Like, would it kill you to pay attention? longshot drops in TWO DAYS!!! And you're just . . . wearing flowers?!

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Monday, June 19, 2017

Longshot: First look

One of the amazing things about art is trying to understand where exactly it comes from.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Storytime: Recording The Last Virtuous Lady of Athens EP (1994)

After several months of gigging in and around the Inland Empire, we found our most consistent support in Moreno Valley. This was due in large part to a girl named Molly. We’d love to hear from her on this, but here’s what we remember.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Holy promos, Batman!

Chris is a big comic book guy and I know that my brother Sam and I grew up on Batman reruns, so we'll open this by paying our respects to the family of Adam West.


The Batman show hit that sweet spot between engaging entertainment and absolute absurdity. This past Sunday we shot our first ever lyric video, aiming for a similar target.

Monday, June 5, 2017

The San Bernardino Incident

We left the year off the flyer, but we guess it was probably 1993.

We were in the process of recording our first EP and getting better gigs. The headliners for this one was a band called Dramshop, vaguely evocative of Siouxie and the Banshees, but with more reverb. We don't remember anything about the Acoustic Sluts.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Longshot drops 7/1

It's done!!!

Our first song in twenty years, Longshot- written, recorded, mixed, and mastered. And it's a BEAST!

Friday, May 26, 2017

A Blessed Ramadan!

Wishing my Muslim brothers and sisters and the entire human family a blessed Ramadan!

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Flashback '96: Man of Wax

This is my favorite song off Adam. It's our closer on the record, that final, lingering soundscape.

Mixing done!

Longshot, our first new song in 20 years, is written, recorded, and finally mixed! Now it's off to the mastering house for some final sweetening.

And it only took us six months!

: )

Friday, May 19, 2017

Flashback '96: Common Thing

I've hardly come to terms with my sexual self. At it's best, sex is sacred communion. At it's most depraved, it's abusive and dehumanizing.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

That one time I was mistaken for Chris Cornell (1964-2017)

It was late at night, sometime around ’96 or ’97, I think. I was in my car, a beat-up 1970 Volkswagen Super Beetle and I was in a drive-thru line waiting for my food.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Flashback '96: Fragile

I wrote this in my mother's dining room. I think there was actually a box on the floor marked "fragile."

Monday, April 24, 2017

Flashback '96: Solitary

I love the build up. And the way the wall of sound just drops out in the final few seconds.

That's kind of the way things work.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Earth Day

Today is also my oldest daughter's sixteenth birthday.

Only yesterday her mom took her and her three sisters to live with her and her new husband in New York.

Really? You couldn't give me one more day?

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Flashback '96: Kingfisher

This is probably the most underrated song on the record. We got back-up girls and a percussion break on the bridge. It's got a great hook, two sweet little guitar solos. Sam's bass work is stellar.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Flashback '96: Raven Kin

This is an amazing song for so many reasons. Nobody ever wanted to hear it live, and I'm pretty sure that most people skip it when it comes up. It doesn't do any of the things you want a song to do!

Friday, March 24, 2017

Rough day

This is a blog about Stillwater Black. We made music a long time ago. And we're making music again.

Saturday, March 18, 2017


Today we got Issac back into the studio. He brought his daughter, Sierra. Super sweet girl.

We tinkered a bit more with Longshot. We've never been in this position before. No timelines. No pressure. Access to an amazing creative space. These are variables that don't exactly encourage discipline.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Flashback '96: Judas and the Angel

Alright. We'll admit that Jimi Hendrix practically wrote the opening bars. But if you're going to borrow, borrow from the best!

Thursday, February 16, 2017

You like comics?

Chris is really into comics.

Enough so that he's got a couple of his own that he'll be showcasing at the Long Beach Comic Expo this weekend, February 18-19.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Longshot: drums tracked

Here's Issac listening to playback after crushing it in the studio this past weekend.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Our ninja!

Sam's our bass player. He's also my brother, in the true-blood sense.

But he's a lot of other things. Husband, father, custodian of his mother, teacher, poet, athlete . . .

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Flashback '96: Most Days

The songs Chris wrote and sang were often lighter, bouncier affairs with much more mature arrangements than anything I would come up with. Where my writing tended to move from verse to chorus without a lot of musical interest to support the transition, Chris was forever bringing in these little bits that just made everything more . . . adult?

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Kids and Dobros

I had an amazing time with Chris this past Sunday. We were originally planning to lay down the drum tracks for Longshot, but Issac couldn't make it out. He had a prior commitment with his daughter.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Flashback '96: S?

Chris' dad had this amazing 5-car garage. We used to rehearse there from time to time.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Session cancelled

We had plans to lay down the final drum and bass tracks for Longshot today, but it turns out that Chris isn't feeling so good.