Pillar is a Christian rock band currently located in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Following a brief hiatus, four members from the "peak years" (Rob Beckley, Noah Henson, Michael Kalel Wittig and Lester Estelle) reunited in 2012 and released a new album One Love Revolution on August 18, 2015.
Pillar started in Hays, Kansas in 1998, when Fort Hays State University roommates Brad Noone and Rob Beckley got together with friends Travis Jenkins, Dustin Adams, and Michael Wittig, known as Kalel. In 1999, Pillar released their first album, Metamorphosis, on their own independent label, Shadrach Records. After some more touring in Kansas, they released their second independent album, Original Superman, in 2000. Around this time they relocated to Tulsa, Oklahoma, to try to find a larger fan base.
Soon after the release of Original Superman, Pillar became noticed by Flicker Records, who signed them in mid 2000. After the signing, Pillar re-cut many of the tracks from Original Superman as well as a few new tracks for release on Above, their first major label album. The album had medium success, selling almost 60,000 copies. The song "Open Your Eyes" won a Dove Award in 2001 for Hard Music Song of the Year. Also, The songs "Original Superman" and "Live for Him" helped in Pillar's success.
In 2002, Noah Henson took over guitar duties and Pillar released their breakthrough album, Fireproof. Fireproof sold over 300,000 copies, and launched national tours. It also won two Dove Awards. A year later Pillar went back into the studio with Fireproof and released a newer, richer sounding version with little tweaks in songs, including a Bonus DVD; this resulted in two versions of Fireproof on the market. Soon after the release of Fireproof, drummer Lester Estelle, Jr. joined the band.
In 2004, Pillar released their next album Where Do We Go from Here capturing No. 1 on sales in the Christian charts for weeks. The album featured multiple hits, including "Bring Me Down", and, "Frontline" which topped the charts for months, and was also one of their most popular songs. Not only did Christian shows and stations play "Bring Me Down", it was requested heavily on secular stations as well. "Bring Me Down" was also featured on the sound track for Mx vs ATV: Unleashed.
Pillar released an EP called Nothing Comes for Free in June 2006. It featured 3 new songs (including "Everything") and 4 live tracks. The other two new songs, "Our Escape" and "Dangerous", are not available on their following album, The Reckoning. The EP was only available at live shows and at their webstore. A limited number of copies (10,000) were created.
Pillar then recorded their fourth album, The Reckoning, in late 2006. Travis Wyrick (P.O.D., We as Human, 10 Years, Disciple) produced the new album, as he produced all of their previous albums, and it was released on October 3, 2006. In support of The Reckoning, Pillar embarked on "The Days of the Reckoning Tour" throughout October and November 2006. Other Christian bands on the tour included Day of Fire, The Showdown, and Decyfer Down. The Reckoning received a Grammy Award nomination December 6, 2007 for Best Rock or Rap Gospel Album, a first for the band.
Pillar has played at both Cornerstone Festival and Creation Festival. It was revealed at Soulfest 2007 that the name of their next album would be For the Love of the Game, which was eventually released on February 26, 2008. They brought back the Pillar logo from "Where Do We Go from Here" and "Fireproof" for it. ESPN used the new Pillar song, "For the Love of the Game," during montages highlighting the 2007 World Series on its program, Baseball Tonight. For the Love of the Game is the last Pillar record produced by Travis Wyrick.
Pillar helped Eowyn record her album "Silent Screams" with Beckley contributing vocals to the title track and Henson and Estelle also playing on the album. Pillar toured on the SHOUTfest tour with After Edmund and various other artists from September to November 2007. They also had a tour for For the Love of the Game from February to April 2008, with Brooke Barrettsmith, Wavorly, and Building 429.
In the fall of 2008, Pillar embarked on the For The Love of The Fan Tour, which enabled the fans to decide their own ticket price for the show. The tour lasted for three weeks and ended on September 26, 2008 in Dallas, Texas. Lester announced the For The Love of The Fan Tour would be his last tour with Pillar. Kalel was not seen playing bass for Pillar, but was being filled in by Josh Gleave (formerly with Jeremy Riddle). Later, Kalel announced on his Myspace page his decision for leaving Pillar was due to Lester's departure from the band, and because Kalel was involved with helping independent bands such as One Minute Halo and Stars Go Dim. Making singer Rob Beckley the only original member of Pillar. Kalel also stated that he wanted to be at home with his wife and two children and not be on the road all the time.
Kalel's bass part was filled in for a short time by Josh Gleave. Richard Gilliland met Pillar while preparing for the Creation Festival tour (at the time he was playing for KJ-52); he then joined Pillar as bass player and subsequently stopped playing for KJ. Gilliland's first show with Pillar was at Creation Festival. Pillar attempted to replace Lester several times. James Holloway was hired to play drums for the Creation tour. Chase Lovelace then joined the band; however, for unknown reasons, Lovelace left the band after only being a member for a couple months.
Rob Beckley stated that Rob Graves, who has worked with RED and Wavorly, would produce the new album. This was the first Pillar record not produced by Travis Wyrick and the only album recorded without band co-founder/bassist Michael Kalel Wittig. Joe Rickard of RED recorded all drum tracks for this record. The next Pillar drummer, Taylor Carroll, joined around March 2009, after the recording process of the new album.
Confessions was released on September 22, 2009. The first two singles from the album, "Secrets and Regrets" and "Fire on the Inside", were released on July 17, 2009. Pillar was touring to promote the album and supported Red on their "Nothing and Everything tour", which also featured The Wedding. Their cover of Collective Soul's song, "Shine", was released as the third single from the album.] Their fourth single, "Whatever It Takes", reached number one on June 6, 2010.
In 2010, the album was nominated for a Dove Award for Rock/Contemporary Album of the Year at the 41st GMA Dove Awards. In 2011, Pillar played only one show, at Solid Festival on October 29. During this show Taylor Caroll wasn't playing with the band because by that time he had left to pursue a solo career.
On February 2, 2012 it was revealed Rob Beckley was going to release his first solo record through idefi Music on March 14, 2012. The first single off the record, "Value of My Heart", was released on September 1, 2012. It is now downloadable for free on the renewed Pillar website. Beckley's solo album release date remains unknown.
On October 27, 2012 Pillar announced that all four members from 2001-2008 (Rob Beckley, Noah Henson, Michael Kalel Wittig and Lester Estelle) would be reuniting with plans of releasing a new album. On December 15, 2012 Pillar released their version of the traditional Christmas carol, "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen", as a free downloadable single on NoiseTrade. A new song titled "Lion Leads The Way" was released in April 2014. The heavy rock song was written as the soundtrack for the movie, "Day of War". One Love Revolution was crowdfunded via Kickstarter and released independently on August 18, 2015.