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, September 25, 2017


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

I'm the only guy that didn't. Sam, Chris, and Issac all played varsity football.

I watched a number of Sam's games. I never saw Issac or Chris play, but I'm guessing they played well and hard. Sometimes Chris' back gives him trouble. I think it's from football.

But football gave them more than exercise and injuries. These guys are team players. These guys know how to stay strong and make room for others on the team to stand in their truth as well. There are many times in a band where you're just not sure which way to go: which song to record, which way to go with the arrangement, or which song to release as the first single. Our band has historically been co-fronted by me and Chris, generally with each of us singing the songs that we personally wrote. That requires an extra measure of trust and security. This isn't just about confidence in the other person's voice. This is about having confidence in the other person entirely to communicate the totality of what the band is. And if we're not exactly sure what we are, we stand together anyway.

I think Issac, Sam, and Chris may have learned a lot of this playing football. I say that, because I've been watching some football lately.

I'm really inspired by the solidarity displayed by the NFL around this whole issue of taking the knee. I'm not going to spend time on polemics here. Rather, I'm simply going to celebrate the exemplary demonstration of solidarity and sportsmanship by these football players.

In the words of one sportscaster, "We can disagree without being disagreeable."

It's easy to remain respectful of one another when we have shared goals that mean more to us than our individual differences. I find in the example of the NFL a template for the nation. Of course, moving the old pigskin into the end zone of the opposing team is a much easier goal to articulate than a national agenda. But just because finding a unifying goal for the citizens of our nation is complicated, doesn't mean it's impossible.

As for Stillwater Black, we'll keep sending our music into the world to catch the ears of people with whom we can exchange love and goodwill. It's a simple enough goal that I pray will be enough to keep this team together for years to come.

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