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.

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!

But for us, Raven Kin is an indulgent masterpiece that absolutely pushed the limits of our musicality and creativity. For one thing, there are three different time signatures. It opens up in 3/4, jumps to 4/4, back to 3/4, back to 4/4, and then this huge outro thing that goes to 10/8 before closing out in 4/4. I think.

Ridiculous. And there's really no chorus to speak of. No bridge. Just parts that kind of unfold and undulate.

The people that skip it totally miss out on the amazing violin work of my cousin, Hikmat Kabbani. And they miss the little girl giggles. This song has EVERYTHING, but you're going to have to work for it! It's not the easiest listen, but really worth it.

This is also the only song on the record where Chris and I swap out lead vocals. I remember sitting in his room with paper and pen and just working it all out line by line. A really nice moment.

When we played this one in the studio, the recording engineer went nuts. He knew what was happening and he loved every minute of it.

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