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.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

We are cancer

Chris wrote a song and in it he wonders why "we kill ourselves like a cancer."

Cancer doesn't recognize itself as suicidal. Actually, cancer fancies itself pretty special, the only thing in the host body deserving of life. Its own arrogant selfishness eventually kills the host and the cancer. Cancer is blind to its suicidal trajectory.

Cancer is not something you catch. Cancer is a kind of rebellion. It's what happens when a few cells in your body decide they no longer want to work with the rest of the team. They go rogue. The cancerous cells multiply and work to set up their own blood supply, diverting vital nutrients and energy from the host body to satisfy their growth exclusively. Clusters of cancerous cells become tumors that continue to siphon life's essentials from the host body, growing larger and putting pressure on surrounding tissues and structures.

Cancer cells break away from these tumors and float through the blood stream and lymphatic system to establish rogue colonies elsewhere in the host body. These cells multiply and set up their own blood supply and the cycle continues until the host body, under the depleting burden of so many rogue elements, can no longer support itself.

The host body dies. And with it, the cancer.

I think of the incredible pressures we as humans put on the planet. I think about how, like a cancer, we prioritize human survival and development to such an extent that entire species are regularly wiped out. It is estimated that a minimum of 1000 different species of living organisms are going extinct every year. That's three species every day.

We have forgotten the value of our own mortality. Cancer reminds us, through its behavior and its killing.

Our dying clears the way for others. Dying reduces environmental and societal burdens. As generations die, cultures shift and evolve. Medical care is expensive and, with our dying, finances are liberated that can be invested in research and infrastructure to support the vitality of our planet. The specters of sickness and death give value to the moments of health and vigor that we are allowed to experience. An awareness and acceptance of death lends a precious poignancy to life.

Cancer cannot see that in its hegemonic bid for biological dominion, it will destroy the possibility of life altogether.

As far as I know, I'm not dying, except perhaps in that abstract way that we all are. And I think everybody else in the band is pretty healthy.

But I don't want to be afraid of death or even disappointed should the Reaper make a surprise appearance. It's probably a good idea to get a few things in order and to absolutely celebrate every opportunity to live, love, and create.

Looking forward to our time in the studio on Saturday, God willing.

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