We started out in Middle Georgia in the early seventies combining players from several local groups who had been playing in the area: The Golden Arcade, Coldwater Army, Highway, The Prisoners of Time, Blackbird, Willis Still and several others. All of the guys were scattered out in various colleges in Georgia at the time; Middle Georgia in Cochran, Georgia Southwestern in Americus and Georgia College in Milledgeville. After several gigs and jam sessions, we all decided to quit college and start our careers writing and recording our music and touring the USA. Playing all the clubs and frat houses in the Southeast between Miami and Richmond for a few years, we began recording demo tapes in Atlanta; Master Sound Studio, Studio One and Web IV Studios.
Taking care of the band and gear on the road was the infamous Bear Brothers Trucking Crew.
Billy Clyde (Little Bear) Wendt was our Road Manager and FOH Mixer for the first five years, Bailey (Teddy Bear) Pryor took care of the Drum Kit and Lighting and Road Manager, David (Papa Bear) Buckman handled Guitars and Stage and Mike (Hoss Bear) Hoyt was our Keyboard Tech and Monitor Mixer. Also assisting on the crew through the years were Ernie Harris, Bo Dempsey, Tommy Lee, John Nixon, Kelly Bellflower and Eddie Stone.
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We were soon hired as the house band at Phil Walden's Uncle Sam's Night club and Lakeside Music Park in Macon, GA. We had the opportunity to play with all of the Capricorn Records and Paragon Agency bands from the south and were eventually signed by Phil Walden with a management contract and then to our first record deal.
These venues hosted Phil Walden's Annual Picnic, BBQ and huge, almost all night, jam sessions.
Cameron Crowe, writer for Rolling Stone magazine, came to several of these picnics and heard us playing at Unlce Sams and Lakeside Park. He ended up using the name "Stillwater" for his fictional band in his movie "Almost Famous."
The following video was part of a BBC special "The Old Grey Whistle Test" that was filmed at Uncle Sams in 1976.
After several more demo sessions at the Capricorns Studio in Macon with Tom Dowd and Phil Benton, Buddy Buie was hired to assist with the songwriting and to produce our first album "Stillwater" at his Studio One in Doraville, GA. The first album was released in 1977 and included the Top 40 hit "Mindbender."
The touring began throughout the US with The Charlie Daniels Band, ARS, Marshall Tucker, The Outlaws, Wet Willie, Sea Level, The Dixie Dregs, Elvin Bishop, Black Oak Arkansas, REO Speedwagon, Mark Farner, Toto, The Cars, Foreigner, Jorma Kaukonen, John Fogerty, Levon Helm, Pure Prarie League and many others. After countless in-store appearances, radio interviews, live broadcasts of the shows, auditoriums, coliseums and outdoor shows, we were soon ready to go back to Studio One to record "I Reserve the Right" with Buddy Buie at the helm once again. As the '78-'79 tour progressed, we were finding it increasingly difficult to find our product in the stores in each city. It wasn't long before the Capricorn ship started sinking and we were soon without a label along with some of the greatest southern rock bands in history.
After a lot more touring and some changes in the band line-up, we went back to Studio One in 1981 to record enough new material to put out album number three. We had a lot of close misses with new management and record companies, but ended up not being re-signed. After more touring and playing at the smaller venues, we decided to stop the full time road gig.
After that period we began the Annual Stillwater and Friends Reunion Concert in Macon every year between Christmas and New Years. We host a huge concert and jam at Whiskey River Nightclub, much like the old days at Uncle Sams. Joining us on-stage are Jimmy Hall from Wet Willie, Ronnie Hammond from the Atlanta Rhythm Section, Chris Hicks from Marshall Tucker, Eddie Stone and Tony Cooper from Doc Holliday, Big Mike from the Booty Papas, Tim Brooks from the Alien Sharecroppers all the guys from The Wall, plus many more.
JIMMY HALL, BOOTY PAPA-BIG MIKE, RONNIE HAMMOND
DEDICATED TO OUR BROTHER BOB
When not performing as Stillwater, most of the guys can be seen jamming in many mid Georgia clubs and private parties these days.
Al continues to play bass with the The Wall, The Eddie James Gang Band and The Has Been’s.
The Has Been’s also features Mike, Sebie and Rob of Stillwater and Eddie Stone of Doc Holiday.