San Francisco’s bluesy rock’n’rollers The Stone Foxes bring their unique sound across the Atlantic to embark on their first tour of the UK’s toilet circuit. With four albums under their belts, releasing the latest, Twelve Spells, in August 2015, this band know how to combine country, blues and rock with an underlayer of their very own San Francisco sound. Shannon Koehler took time out of his Martin Luther King Day to talk with Audio Addict.
You start your tour next month are you excited?
I feel like we’ve been waiting a long time, even though it’s only been a couple of years, but everyone goes [to the UK] and everyone says it’s amazing. Every band has a few goals, you want to be able to meet hot ladies, get some free beers backstage and then you want to go to the UK.
The goal is to break down the wall between us and the audience. If that means grabbing someone’s shirt and yelling in their face then I’ll do that.
Is your set going to be based around the new album or the new material you’ve been writing?
I don’t think we’ll have anything totally ready, we might throw one brand new song in there, but a lot of the stuff is pretty new. ‘Greasing Up the Door Man’ and ‘Eye For Love’ was pretty recent and those songs still feel really fresh, but playing ‘Cold Like a Killer’ for a year it feels like it has developed. With our old material we are able to morph them, so they aren’t exactly like the recordings.
You are playing a number of small venues, will this be a big change to opening for Cage the Elephant and The Black Keys?
We put 110 per cent in every night and we don’t care if we are playing to a bartender or 5,000 people. We’ve done them both. I love smaller rooms as you have that connection and for us the goal is to break down the wall between us and the audience. If that means grabbing someone’s shirt and yelling in their face then I’ll do that. I just think it’s fucking rad that someone across an ocean knows our lyrics. That blows my mind.
After your music was used on the Jack Daniels ad and on Sons of Anarchy did you notice a rise in fans? Yeah, yeah we did. What I find funny is that some people who watch Sons of Anarchy are real bikers. Bikers watch that show. It’s interesting the kind of people you meet, there was a guy outside of Houston, he came up and put his hand on my shoulder said to me “Man, tonight changed my life”. He had this amazing leather jacket on and a huge handlebar moustache and that Southern accent and I said “Wow, what’s your name?” He replied “It’s DW”. I was like “What does that stand for?” and he said something really cool: “It stands for everything that I stand for”.
I will live and die for playing live. And ice cream, I love ice cream.
Coming from San Francisco was it difficult to find your sound? Were you influenced by the city?
My brother and I lived in rural California up in the mountains. Our mum had Led Zeppelin Four which we would listen to on repeat when we were eleven, and then expanded into Cream and The Kinks and we looked back and found it all came from Muddy Waters. San Francisco was the closest city for us and that was where the British invasion sound came together, it had its own rock’n’roll sound and it felt very much a part of us. That’s part of the reason why why we love it so much, because it has an amazing rock heritage.
Bowie and Lemmy have unfortunately left the earth, what were your reactions?
‘Ace of Spades’ was a song that just doesn’t stop. There’s no break, they come at you for two or three minutes and then it’s over. I think that Bowie is a little more important for the rest of the band, Lemmy was the stereotype of rock’n’roll but Bowie made us aspire to change but be ourselves at the same time. It’s really inspiring to see someone take a risk and you don’t know if it’s going to work or not but it’s exciting and if you stick to it, it might work.
With four albums down, do you think your sound is down or do you think experimentation will continue to happen?
The new album was when we really started to find our voice in a way that we had not expressed before. Maybe it’s a little darker. Although the spring will be our time to get back into writing and try and get something out this year and play as much during the summer as we can. I will live and die for playing live. And ice cream, I love ice cream.
Matt Smith @MatthewJamesSmi