Enjoy this unhip, uncool and un-sexy music!
Alina Peter: Vocals, Guitars
Michael Wachelhofer: Bass, Keyboards, Vocals
Steve Wachelhofer: Guitars, Vocals
Christoph Karas: Drums, Percussions
Austria may be known as the classical music center of the world, but make no mistake - Cornerstone is here to rock! The band, composed of Alina Peter (Vocals, Guitars), Michael Wachelhofer (Bass, Keyboard, Vocals), Steve Wachelhofer (Guitar, Vocals) and Christoph Karas (Drums, Percussion), got signed by the US-based label ATOM Records back in 2008 and have done 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 (Bad English, The Babys), New Model Army, and American singer/songwriter Jeffrey Gaines, to name a few. Cornerstone won the "Next Big Thing Contest", hosted by Alternative Addiction, in March 2008. 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. After the release of the debut album "Head Over Heels" in fall 2008, reviews and interviews with the band were published in magazines like Powerplay, Fireworks and Classic Rock Magazine. Some of their songs were included in the motion-picture soundtrack for the film "Little Alien", which was shown in cinema back in fall 2009 and on television.
After they released their sophomore album "Somewhere in America" in 2011, the band also appeared on numerous UK-Radio programs such as the Steve Price Show and BBC Radio. In the beginning of 2012, their ballade "Right or Wrong" won an award as “Ballad of the year”, chosen by British Rock Realms Magazine. In their home country of Austria Cornerstone has been introduced by ORF Radio OE3, Radio Arabella, Welle 1 and Radio 88.6 - the biggest national radiostations - and performed in several TV-shows. Beyond that, the band did several shows in Austria, the surrounding countries and in the UK, where Cornerstone participated in the biggest rock-events of the country, such as the Cambridge Rock Festival, the Rock and Bike Fest, or the Pop Overthrow Festival in Liverpool. In 2013, Cornerstone released their version of the Eighties-hit "Smalltown Boy" (by Bronski Beat), that appeared in the charts. All the proceeds for this single went to the "Room to Breathe"-campaign, a charity organization for the research and treatment of the immunodeficiency disease cystic fibrosis at the Nottingham City Hospital. 2016 Cornerstone released their third studio album "Reflections", which was produced in collaboration with Harry Hess (Harem Scarem, Billy Talent, Muse, ...) in Canada. The band is going to tour through Europe again, including United Kingdom, Germany, The Netherlands, Luxembourg and of course Austria. There will also be a few more concerts with Gary Howard (Flying Pickets, Alan Parsons Project). With their power ballad “Whatever”, composed by Alina Peter and Michael Wachelhofer, they participated in the pre-voting for the wildcard of the Eurovision Song Contest and achieved #4, the contest was hosted by the Austrian Broadcast Company (ORF).
Head over to somewhere in America
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 – who also happens to be a direct descendant of Napoleon Bonaparte! - joined the group, and they began to cover 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 arose - 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 serendipitously joined the band and boosted their career. With those two musicians the band also recorded their debut "Head Over Heels".
After the worldwide promotional tour for the album there were further personnel changes - "Somewhere in America" was recorded with Mike Pawlowitsch on drums and singer Patricia Hillinger - but the optimum Line-Up was established after touring with the talented Alina Peter and Christoph Karas, who had experience playing in local bands. It was pure coincidence that these four different people, who so perfectly complement each other personally and musically, got together. 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".
Let's help this poor Smalltown Boy
In 2013, the band did another very sucessful tour through the United Kingdom, including an appearance at the legendary Cambridge Rock Festival and countless radio- and press-features. Everything started fine, but in the middle of all the action Cornerstone’s UK-booker suddenly had to go to hospital due to severe pain in his chest. "It was heart-attack city first", Michael said, "we went to visit him in Nottingham Hospital and we were shocked how frail a person could look like from one day to another. This was our first contact with an illness called Cystic Fibrosis. So we've decided: let's go into action! We found out 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 of doing an Erasure-cover in aid of this, but they didn't feel comfortable enough 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", adds Wachelhofer."
"The lyrics of the song hit the CF-topic quite perfectly.“ says Steve Wachelhofer. "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". The recording process was far from easy, and it took the band around 3 months to complete. The guy who did the very first mixdown couldn't handle it correctly, and so the single turned out horribly. “I remember quite clearly, we were somewhere on the M1, listened to the first mix of 'Smalltown Boy', and I asked our Booker 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...", says Michael Wachelhofer 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!"