What does “Common Stones” mean to us?

Naming something, whether it is a song, an album, a child, or in this case a studio can be a trying process. Initially, we created the studio name based on its relative location but Neil and I both wanted something deeper and thought provoking – something more “us.”

Neil and I both consider ourselves to be Apple fanboys, and I have read much about Steve Jobs in his role at Apple Computers. I was re-visiting some articles about him and stumbled upon a Fortune Magazine article entitled, “Steve Jobs: The Parable of the Stones,” which contained a story from a 1995 “lost interview.”

Part of that interview was his “parable of the stones,” which Neil and I both knew immediately struck a relevant chord with us:

“…what I’ve always felt that a team of people doing something they really believe in is like is like when I was a young kid there was a widowed man that lived up the street. He was in his eighties. He was a little scary looking. And I got to know him a little bit. I think he may have paid me to mow his lawn or something.

And one day he said to me, “come on into my garage I want to show you something.” And he pulled out this dusty old rock tumbler. It was a motor and a coffee can and a little band between them. And he said, “come on with me.” We went out into the back and we got just some rocks. Some regular old ugly rocks. And we put them in the can with a little bit of liquid and little bit of grit powder, and we closed the can up and he turned this motor on and he said, “come back tomorrow.”

And this can was making a racket as the stones went around.

And I came back the next day, and we opened the can. And we took out these amazingly beautiful polished rocks. The same common stones that had gone in, through rubbing against each other like this (clapping his hands), creating a little bit of friction, creating a little bit of noise, had come out these beautiful polished rocks.

That’s always been in my mind my metaphor for a team working really hard on something they’re passionate about. It’s that through the team, through that group of incredibly talented people bumping up against each other, having arguments, having fights sometimes, making some noise, and working together they polish each other and they polish the ideas, and what comes out are these really beautiful stones.”

So our studio became Common Stone Studios: Steve Jobs perfectly summed up the creative process and the magic that occurs with the right people working on something about which they are passionate. This studio is organically “collective-driven” in that everyone contributes, makes noise, creates friction, and becomes polished. Neil and I are committed to polishing ideas into beautiful stones with each project, artist, song, lyric, arrangement, and note that we can produce.

We are Common Stone Studios.

“Sign the Pole”

Because Common Stone Studios is a “collectively-driven” studio, it is important that each and every contributor leave their “mark.” We have decided to do this by having contributors “sign the pole” in the studio. As silly as the practice is, it is important to us to remember each and every person who has become a part of this extended family.

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