The Stone Foxes are a rock n roll band with one objective: “We’re 6 dudes who believe rock n roll can move mountains, and we’re gonna play it until we move one.” They hail from San Francisco and with the release of their fourth album, Twelve Spells, they have solidified a place in the city's rich rock n roll history. They’ve played in front of thousands at festivals like Outside Lands and VooDoo Fest, they’ve headlined the legendary Fillmore Theater in their hometown and have supported acts like The Black Keys, Cage the Elephant and ZZ Top. This is San Francisco’s rock band; bearing the torch of their predecessors and ready to shake the earth.
The Stone Foxes bring the audience in. Engaging and invoking them with their commanding stage presence, even jumping down into the crowd if the mood strikes. Their fans know they are in for something action packed and they light a fire in the band, just as the band spreads fire back into them. Guitarists digging in, jumping on and off of monitors, lead vocals changing between two and four unique voices all with impassioned nuance, and keyboard and organ sounds that fill the space with smoke and burning embers. There are edgy drum tones, wailing harmonica draws and violin cries that can silence even the most raucous of rooms. But this is not a sit-down-and-watch kind of event. The Stone Foxes are an experience to dive into, to get wild with, to sweat with. Like Elvis once said about rock n roll, “If you feel it, you can’t help but move to it.” The Stone Foxes' live show is built to make you move. When a band brandishes this kind of dynamic and all-in passion on stage, it is impossible not to feel it.
On the brink of the release of their fourth album, Twelve Spells, which hits in September, 2015, the band is wrapping up a year-long endeavor of dropping each song off the record on the first Friday of each month. Foxes First Fridays are the band's way of experimenting with a fresh method of releasing songs directly to their fans when they're fresh out of the studio, instead of shelving them until the album is released. Teaming up with local SF artist Giuliana Pinto, they have created unique cover artwork for each single reflecting the song's story and character. When released, Twelve Spells will act as a yearbook and on top of the twelve studio tracks, will include photos, live recordings and video from the road.
"Twelve" Spells concerns itself with inequality of various types, being oneself and the search to find those connections and learning to see past the artifice of society. The Stone Foxes’ work is all the more impressive considering that these deep themes run through a record that barely stops to take a breath. Kicked off in a storm of feedback and then nailed down with a double-timed drum beat and fuzz bass, “She Said Riot” was inspired by stories told to the band by friends involved in the Occupy movement and also by the way that drastic gentrification in San Francisco was impacting artists and musicians. The band says, “The main character in this song is looking at these changes but has a fire lit in him to ‘steal the streets back.’ A large source of his empowerment is drawn from his memory of the people and events of the occupy movement. Those were inspirational and passionate nights. Meeting new people, uniting for a cause. The character in this song is spurred on from remembering a powerful and impassioned girl who said ‘feel the way my heart beats, come on right now, riot, riot.’”
“I Want To Be You” explores a character driven to violent extremes by the envy of a lifetime looking at magazine covers and billboards over a wicked groove. The band says, “I'm not gonna lie, I felt weird and creepy writing this one.”
But the Stone Foxes look to go deeper than your typical garage band, observing life in San Francisco – and across America – in 2015. “Greasin Up The Door Man” personifies income inequality, telling the stories of three people who aren't given a hand up, and one man who's got everything he needs to get past the doorman. The band reflects, “It's easy to look around San Francisco and see a very clear line between the haves, and the have nots. Some of us have a lot of money. Some of us don't have any. Some of us have connections because we were raised in certain circles with opportunities and options; some of us aren't given a second chance let alone a first.”
Like any good rock and roll record, ’12 Spells’ also hits the mark on those visceral moments that make life worth living. “This Town” concerns a magical night in small town, USA, blowing smoke rings, thinking of the girl who was your first love, wanting to see her and then bam, there is at the party. The narrator in “N.Y.T.” is turned on by the same things that turn him off, specifically a persona put on by a sexy recent arrival to New York.
Not all of the sentiments are universal. Singer/Drummer Shannon Koehler has had ten heart surgeries/procedures, two pacemakers, and two valve replacements. He jokes, “I take more pills that my Grandma Ruthie,” then growing serious. "I feel like my body is its own silent killer. I just tried to put that emotion on paper for ‘Cold Like a Killer.’” With a keyboard hook that will stick in your spine, “Cold Like a Killer” manages to be both sinister and defiant in the face of all of our inevitable fates. “Locomotion” is a garage burner torched with harmonica that tells the story of the Koehler's great grandpa escaping Russia during the Bolshevik revolution nearly being caught by police and jumping a train.
The Stone Foxes were originally founded by brothers Shannon and Spence Koehler. Most recently, the Stone Foxes joined forces with Vince Dewald and Ben Andrews of fellow San Francisco band, Buxter Hoot'n. The band, which writes and records music as a collaborative unit, consists of Shannon Koehler on vocals, harmonica, and drums; Vince Dewald on vocals, bass and guitar; Ben Andrews on guitar, fiddle and vocals; Brian Bakalian on drums, bass and vocals; and Elliott Peltzman on keyboards and vocals.