Stroke 9 is a band that formed in 1989 in San Francisco. They have six CDs out right now including Music About Friends (1995), Boy Meets Girl (1993), Bumper to Bumper (1995), Nasty Little Thoughts (1999), Rip It Off (2002) and All In (2004). Although all of the tracks included on these albums are great. I think that the most recent three CDs are their best. The current members of the band are Luke Esterkyn (main vocals along with some guitar), John McDermott (lead guitar), and Eric Stock (drums). All of them do a great job to contribute to the band.
Stroke 9 originated as a class project in Marin Academy’s “Rock Band” class as a part of the year’s curriculum. In 1990, the whole class went to a recording studio in Kentfield, CA and walked out with a five track demo for themselves. At the end of the year 1990, Luke Esterkyn, Greg Gueldner, Tom Haddad, and Kirsten Stromberg (all seniors) decided to take the rest of the semester off to put their time into the “Stroke 9” senior thesis as a result the band set up in Esterkyn’s parents’ basement
The first live performance that Stroke 9 performed was in Café Nuvo in San Anselmo in early summer of 1990, since they did so well after the show in Café Nuvo, they decided to go to a recording studio and make a new track. This track was titled “Bad Language Makes For Bad Feelings” and had only included eight tracks. After the recording of this tape, the band split up and resumed their college career in the fall.
The following summer Esterkyn tried to rally up the band, but unable to recruit Haddad and Stromberg. He went back to where he had recorded his first demo track, and there he was able to get John McDermott and Stephen Heath to join. They set up the band and started writing new songs, and played anywhere public that would let them. “Music About Friends and Acquaintances (And People We Don’t Even Know)” was recorded at the end of the summer.
In the summer of 1995, Stephen Heath decided to leave the band and move to Los Angeles to start an occupation in acting. With Heath gone, the band was now only Esterkyn, McDermott and Gueldner and given that the band didn’t have to work on college anymore, the band became a full-time job so they devoted their time into the future of Stroke 9. Since the band was down one drummer, Esterkyn decided to call an old friend, Jeremy Fisch, to become the new drummer.
Shortly after the band was reformed, they worked on a new CD, “Bumper to Bumper.” Stroke 9 then committed to touring, using a book on how to book your own tour. With this book, they booked a 2 month tour that went through 13 different states in the spring of 1996. During the tour they’d stop at malls and sell an amazing amount of CDs. While they were on the road, they would lodge anywhere and everywhere that there were a few couches. Unfortunately the places they were scheduled to play were not failsafe, some of their scheduled shows did fall through.
Upon the return to their home city, they pressed themselves to play in clubs for further promotion. They ended playing in places like Mick’s Lounge, Boomerang, and other places that were polite to new forming bands. In April of 1997, their fan base grew to more than just friends and family.
Near the end of the summer in 1997, Stroke 9 began to tour more around the major states, including Arizona, Washington, Oregon, and all over the coast of California. In 1998, Stroke 9 signed with record producers Cherry Entertainment Group and Stroke 9 earned their first record deal. From that day on, Stroke 9 continued to turn out music and great CDs.
Resources include: www.stroke9.com and Megsplace