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Bandhistory and Facts
Bandhistory and Facts
CORNERSTONE - Patricia Hillinger CORNERSTONE - Steve Wachelhofer CORNERSTONE - Michael Wachelhofer CORNERSTONE - Ari Tiihonen

Austria may be known as the classical music capital of the world, but make no mistake, Cornerstone is here to rock. The band, composed of Patricia Hillinger (Vocals), Michael Wachelhofer (Bass, Keyboards, Vocals), Steve Wachelhofer (Guitar, Vocals) and Ari Tiihonen(Drums, Percussions) got signed by the US based label ATOM Records back in 2008 and in the same year, they released their debut album "Head Over Heels". After the CD release, the band did numerous tours through Europe and America. Cornerstone was able to do a mixture of headlining club shows and shared larger stages with acts such as The Animals, John Waite (The Babys, Bad English), New Model Army and American singer/songwriter Jeffrey Gaines, to name but a few. Cornerstone won the "Next Big Thing Contest", hosted by Alternative Addiction, in March 2008 and had a No. 1 hit on Chungaradio Statesides. Some of the songs from "Head Over Heels" were included in the motion-picture soundtrack for the film "Little Alien", which was shown in cinema and on television.

The press has been extremely favourable to the band's blend of 80's rock, mixed with the harder edge of today's alternative rock sounds. Reviews and interviews with the band have been published in magazines like Powerplay, Fireworks and Classic Rock Magazine. The band also appeared on numerous UK-Radio programs such as the Steve Price Show and BBC Radio. In their home country Austria the band has been introduced by Radio OE3, Radio Arabella and Radio 88.6, the biggest national radio-stations, and performed in several TV-shows. In summer of 2011, Cornerstone once again worked with ATOM on their sophomore effort, "Somewhere in America". The new CD has been first released in Europe, as the band did several shows in Austria, the surrounding countries and in the UK, where Cornerstone participated at the biggest rock-events of the country, just like the Cambridge Rock Festival, the Rock and Bike Fest and the Pop Overthrow Festival in Liverpool. In the beginning of 2012, the band won an award for their song "Right or Wrong", which was chosen as "Ballade of the year" by the British Rock Realms-magazine. In 2013, Cornerstone released their version of the Eighties-hit "Smalltown Boy" (by Bronski Beat), whereat all the proceeds of the Single go to the "Room to Breathe"-campaign, and also to the charity organisation for the research and treatment of the immunodeficiency illness cystic fibrosis of the Nottingham City Hospital.

Everything started in summer of 1998, when Steve and Michael Wachelhofer learned to play the bass/guitar and decided to form a band. Later on, drummer Markus Bousska joined the group, so they started to re-enact songs by The Cure, R.E.M. and Soul Asylum. Although the band started writing their first originals during this time, a few internal difficulties came up - there was a constant coming and going of band members - and after many personnel changes, some moderately successful gigs and a disastrous recording-session, which has never been finished, the band teetered on the brink of collapse in summer of 2004. But then Hannah Wachter and rock singer Anja Schirmer joined the band per accident, who pushed the bands career straight upwards. With those two musicians the band also recorded their debut "Head Over Heels".

The worldwide promotion tour for the album was completed with Carina Sethaler (voc, g) and Martin Key (dr. perc). However, the optimum Line-Up was found after the tour with the great talent Patricia Hillinger and Ari Tiihonen, who already played in some local bands before. It was pure coincidence that these four different people, who complement each other musically as well as humanely in a perfect way, got together. "The people, as well as their music, everything was harmonious from the very beginning. I knew one thing right away: If I want to play in a band, it has to be this one", Patricia said. The band's identity, which Cornerstone developed over time, is well summarized in a statement by Thomas Magyar, the sound engineer of the band: "If you mix a recording, it usually happens that the singer wants his voice louder, the guitar-player wants the guitar in the foreground and the bass-player his bass more powerful. In the case of Cornerstone, everyone wanted to be mixed in the background".

An Austrian band collects charity-money for a hospital in the UK? Sounds like baloney, doesn't it? No, that's quite true! It all started in spring of 2012, when Patricia Hillinger and Michael Wachelhofer watched "Britain got Talent", in a Motel room somewhere in Lincolnshire. Having their day off from touring, they decided "to do something", and went into a pub nearby for playing an acoustic set. Somewhere in the crowd: CF-infected Nick Brown, owner of an event agency, became interested in the band. The rest is history: Nick was impressed of what he saw, he watched the band a second time in another venue, and they agreed to work together. Ironically, the venue's name was "Old Nick's Tavern"... In 2013, Nick Brown booked another UK-tour for the band. Everything started fine, but in the middle of it, Brown suddenly had to go to hospital, because he collapsed in agony with his chest. "It was Heart-attack city first", Patricia said, "we went to visit him in Nottingham Hospital and we were shocked how frail he was. This was our first contact with an illness called Cystic Fibrosis. Due to the fact that we saw the effects at a close friend of ours, who has it mildly, we're afraid, that he could loose his life. So we've decided: let's go into action! Nick told us about the new unit, the only one of it's kind in the UK, which will bring in new treatment possibilities and so on, and that it is completely funded by Charity. So the possibility, to help funding this new unit represented itself".

The band toyed around with the idea, to do an Erasure-cover in aid of this, but they didn't feel really comfortable with their stuff. "Then, suddenly, Steve said something like 'we have to help this Smalltown Boy', and this spontaneous thing happened with us where we all started getting into that same Spirit", Patricia said. "The lyrics of the song hit the CF-topic quite perfectly. You might feel as an outsider, no one cares about you, people treat you like an Alien, and this probably makes you feel to 'turn away, run away', to find a cure. We immediately saw that Connection", Steve said, "and I really hope we can earn enough money, to keep our friend Nick Brown alive as long as possible." Michael Wachelhofer: "I have to say, the recording process was far away of being easy, it took us around 3 months. The guy, who did the very first Mix-down, couldn't handle it the way it should be, and so it came out to sound horrible. I remember quite clearly, we were somewhere on the M1, listened to the first Mix of 'Smalltown Boy', and I asked Nick about his very honest opinion about it. He didn't say something, just opened the car-window, took the CD - and threw it out of the window! So the Original Mix of 'Smalltown Boy' lies now somewhere on the Motorway between Nottingham and Birmingham...", he says with a grin. "Of course we remixed the song, we have worked together with Grammy-winner Brad Blackwood, and everything sounded fine. I'm very satisfied with our version of 'Smalltown Boy' now!"
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