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, 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.

The show was taking place in a proper theater, which was amazing. We had a dressing room and everything. We were a five-piece at that point. Sam was newly recruited on bass and this was going to be one of his first shows. We also had a fantastic vocalist, a booming baritone, tall and charismatic. Everything you want in a lead singer.

And at least one thing you don't: a penchant for mood altering chemicals.

He wasn't around for much of the pre-show stuff, the warming up, the dressing up, the making up. I remember going pretty heavy on the eyeliner that night.

We watched Dramshop set up the stage with lots of little props. The details are fuzzy, but I think I remember dolls, or at least their heads. But the idea of props was pretty cool. Until then it had always been show up, plug in, and play.

Our singer eventually showed up. He didn't look so great, kind of bug-eyed. And he kept asking the same questions over and over again and he'd get real close to you and stare. I didn't know what was happening, but he was making everybody really nervous. Somebody in one of the other bands figured out he'd dropped some acid.

I cut my musical teeth on the sounds of the Washington D. C. straight edge scene. There was no room in my artistic aspirations for alcohol, drugs, or promiscuous sex. For our singer to be so wildly addled as this was terrible. I think the rest of us felt pretty betrayed that night.

But we had a theater full of folks. We took the stage and started playing.

It was a disaster. Our singer couldn't remember any of the words. He just started babbling incoherently and wandering around the stage, every once in awhile getting in our faces and just staring.

Chris was an absolute professional. He kept playing and we followed his lead. Eventually he took the mic and starting singing the songs.

Our singer, relieved of his responsibilities, just sort of sat at the edge of the stage staring at the crowd. And then he decided to sit in the front row and watch us, except that he also decided to start attacking people, too. He bit and spit and it was just awful. Eventually somebody called the cops. He ended up hog-tied in the back of a squad car. After that, we were a four-piece.

Rock and roll.

Super happy ending, though. Our former singer is now a successful yoga instructor in Tennessee and I still very much consider him a dear friend and an amazing creative partner.

Were you there? What do you remember?

Also, you should really connect with us on Instagram. Chris and I got together this past Sunday. He's got boxes and albums of all kinds of pictures and clippings and flyers. We're going to be trickling out the memories and making some new ones. Click here to check it out.

No comments:

Post a Comment