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Stroke 9 Bio

Luke Esterkyn--- Lead Vocals/Guitar

John McDermott---Bassist/Vocals

Eric Stock---Drummer


What do you think of when you hear the name Stroke 9? Do you think of a band that has rotated so many members it is hard to keep track who is in and out? Do you think of catchy lyrics, and upbeat tunes? Or maybe you think of the little, self-touring, self-releasing, band that could?


When I think of Stroke 9 (and I've pushed the ever-in-my-head song "Little Black Backpack", to the back of my mind), I think of a very talented, very motivated band. I think of a great Bay Area band initially formed in 1989, when the guys were still in High school.


While taking a 'Rock band' course in high school, the group was thrown together for a class project. They instantly knew they had something worthwhile if they played their cards right, and worked hard. Unfortunately the college years sent the members off in different directions, but always reunited them during the summers. This annual reunion allowed them to rekindle the Stroke 9 fire, but didn't always bring back every member.


Finally in the summer of 1993 the band (then including drummer Greg Gueldner, and Bassist Stephen Heath) self-released their debut LP, Boy Meets Girl. Working hard and traveling a lot, they sold a startling 1,000 copies. They sold these copies making rounds at malls, and through word of mouth. In 1995 they released Bumper to Bumper; raking in sales much the same as with Boy Meets Girl, but they wanted more.


In 1997 the band stabilized with the addition of drummer Eric Stock (though losing Greg and Steven). Eric was initially asked as a fill-in drummer, but with one magical night and roaring crowd, it was clear he was permanent. Ever persistent, Stroke 9 kept moving onward and upward.


The summer of '97 Bite of Seattle Festival was a big event for the band, and they proceeded to sell every disc and t-shirt they brought with them. They were becoming known, and expanding their fan base. College radio stations started to play the popular "Washin' and Wonderin'" on a regular basis. Later that summer the band decided ti was time for a Do-it-Yourself tour, so they could get out there and get their music heard. It paid off more than they every thought it would.


In January 1998 after being offered deals by numerous record labels, Stroke 9 signed with Cherry Entertainment Group (a division of Universal Records). Preceding the release of their first major label album, the guys appeared in the Ron Howard motion picture, EdTV. In the summer of 1999, the album we weren't aware we had been waiting for was released. Nasty Little Thoughts shot up the charts and went gold. With great songs including 'Letters', 'Little Black Backpack', and again 'Washin and Wonderin', the finally had the airplay they deserved, and craved.


On a wave of success and touring Stroke 9 released a self-titled album in the fall of 2001. Refusing to take a break and knowing it was now or never, they followed up their second major label release with another; titled Rip it Off in the summer of 2002. After the whirlwind fo the last 5 years, the guys decided to take a semi-break. Though still working on another album, and occasionally doing a show, they were rarely seen or heard in the mainstream world of music.


In the fall of 2004 Stroke 9 released their first album in over 2 years, called All In. the album has catchy song titles, thoughtful lyrics, and promises to follow the lead of the other Stroke 9 albums.


So yes, when I think of Stroke 9, I think of that band that did it all themselves. The hard work, the never-ending motivation, and the release of two LP's before ever signing to a label. I think of the clever lyrics and upbeat alterna-pop music I hear anytime I put in a Stroke 9 CD. If you are like me, and still never seem to get enough of the band......all I can say is don't worry, these 3 determined guys seem to be sticking around for quite awhile!!!!


Michelle Roberts

December 2004



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