Old Skool: Stately Thunderchild Manor

Way back, lo many years ago, before I was a starving artist, I pursued even less-green pastures and was a starving musician. I, along with two of the other three members of the band I was in, Come on Thunderchild, purchased a circa-1910s house in Cornelius, NC (known among us locals as “Corntown”), which we used both to live in and as a practice and recording studio.

I recently heard from a friend and Davidson classmate from those heady days who’d dug up some old pictures of various goings-on from back in the day, some of them at the house/studio, known at the time as Stately Thunderchild Manor. She’s posted a bunch of them to her Flickr account. Mostly they’re just a bunch of liquored up folks doing liquored up stuff, but I thought this pic was pretty cool:


This is the interior of our practice studio. It was originally a bedroom but (If I remember correctly) the walls, and windows beneath, were covered in several layers of sheetrock, then over that, several layers of carpet obtained from a “contact” at a local carpet warehouse who would let us know when large scraps became available in the dumpster behind the store. The exterior-facing walls also had some added noise insulation courtesy of a bank of food-service size egg palates (on the left) that the guitarist collected via his day job at Davidson’s Soda Shop.

The Manor was the (in)famous site of the Thunderchild Halloween party, which drew several hundred folks from the surrounding area, as far away as Charlotte, and was mentioned disparagingly at least once in the sermon of the church across the street. We eventually got tired of taking the minor decorations up and down each year, and as you can see our shiny pumpkin and crepe paper are still in evidence here. The guillotine and mock electric chair and other large items had to be stowed or returned, however.

The Manor is currently occupied, and beautifully restored, by the onetime guitarist of the band and his wife. I believe it’s now on some sort of local register of historical places. Had there been such a thing when I lived there though, I’m certain The Manor would have been on a local–if not national–register of disreputable places.


  1. robin says:

    Awesome. Thanks for the backstory, Ben. I would love to see pics of the restored Manor. Get on his case, wouldja?

    Meanwhile I will keep digging through my photos; I seem to remember another cool pic of the studio somewhere …

  2. joe binns says:

    ahhhh thunderchild manor. it takes me back. y’all had a nice little set up in there. i hope you are still rockin when you have the chance, ben!

  3. John Morris says:

    What a mind-blower! I remember the night in particular very well (surprising, given my general state of mind at the time.) Snow in Corntown, beers and more at Sprout and Robin’s, fun stumbling through the snow at night… I also forget how cool that studio was– both in function and in appearance.

    It’s amazing to consider the life-trajectories of the people depicted. Thanks for posting!

  4. Ben says:

    “I remember the night in particular very well”

    Ahhh… I couldn’t figure out the exact circumstances were behind that photoset, but now I recall. That explains the two locations.

    I’ve actually got a ton of pictures from that era (surprising, given that I’ve never owned a camera). At some point I’ll either scan and post them, or send them off to some service to have it done.

  5. Chico DelRico says:

    Talk about your flashbacks, those watercolored memories of the way we were;)

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