The Stone Foxes are San Francisco’s rock band: they bear the torch of their predecessors with the knowledge that rock ‘n roll can move a new generation. 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 they have supported acts like The Black Keys, Cage the Elephant and ZZ Top. Now, with the release of their fourth album, Twelve Spells, they have solidified a place in their City’s rich rock ‘n roll history.
Your style has been described as having notes of punk, surf, Americana, rock– what do you classify it as?
Blues is at the root of everything for us, from when we started the band to our new music now. But, with all the tasty treats mixed in there that you mentioned, we keep it short and sweet by saying, we play rock ‘n’ roll.
What’s the story behind your name, The Stone Foxes?
For some reason, one of was watching a movie with Richard Gere and Julia Roberts, and she called him a “stone fox”. It just sounded like the music we were playing. And though we’re not all models, we believe we’re attractive…at least on the inside.
What time period and genre of music has influenced you as a group?
The common language that we speak is the music we grew up on, like Dylan, Led Zeppelin, Muddy Waters, The Band, all the British invasion stuff, on and on. Everything we write goes through that filter, but that’s the start of where the music comes from, not the end result. We take everything we’ve learned, listen to the musicians of today, let it stew, and in the end we play rock n roll our way. That’s what makes us who we are. We take all those sounds we love, and put it through our attitudes, our personalities, our outlook on the world, and play it hard. As far as other influences, you’d hear Kendrick Lamar, Ryan Adams, Smashing Pumpkins, Sly and the Family Stone, Beethoven, and everything in-between if you hit the road with us. We play our rock n roll, but we like to listen to a great many things.
How is Twelve Spells different from your other albums?
We reached a new understanding between all of us as a band with the new tunes on Visalia. There was a purposeful effort from each of us the connect more deeply musically, to pull for each other, to make songs that reflect who we truly are and lyrics that reflect how we feel about our current times. We went down to our friend Cody Tarbell’s place in the Central Valley, camped out in his front yard by a cotton field, and let the songs develop on the porch and in the living room. That environment allowed us to dig deep, and find a new connection that really inspired us as a group of brothers. We captured “If I Die” on the porch there, live, and then took the music to another sonic level when we recorded the other songs again with the great Jay Pellici back in Oakland at New Improved Recording. The chemistry started growing in Visalia, and we fished it back home.
What’s your favorite memory performing together as a group?
Just recently, we played at Stern Grove in San Francisco (our home town) in front of…well, a hell of a lot of people, who had packed the park. What made it incredibly special was that we had our friends with us, Kelly McFarling, Oona Garthwaite, Anna Jack and the Oakland School of the Arts Choir. Being with them in the middle of that big, powerful sound in the park, playing some of the new tunes that we’ve created such a deep bond over and sharing them with our community… it doesn’t get any better than that folks.
What’s your favorite local SF venue to play at?
We loved our first time headlining the Fillmore, headlining the Great American, playing all the festivals in the parks, but I think The Independent has the right sound, and the right size. And the staff wrote me a ‘get well’ card when I was sick… isn’t that the cutest? Glad we’re going back there in the fall.
Tell us more about The Goodnight Moon Project. What inspired you to get involved?
I used to work by the Montgomery St. Bart station a few years ago, and I found myself becoming very desensitized to the homeless folks who were on the street there. I would just keep on walking instead of talking to someone who was asking for help. So I wrote a song about it, called “Goodnight Moon”, and since then we’ve been collecting non-perishable healthy food at our shows in exchange for a free piece of merchandise, and then we take that food to local food banks. Each show creates a fantastic, very loving community every night, so we just want to encourage people to take that love home with them, and spread it to those who need a a little help.
Do you all have a pre-show ritual?
Indeed we do. We do jumping jacks, stretch, do vocal warm up exercises that make us sound like a bunch of dying horses, and then we huddle around to sing our warm up song, “Big Bottom.” It’s not the Queen song. If you’d like to hear it, you’ll have to sneak backstage and warm up with us. After that, the house turns off the lights, plays the Star Wars theme, and it’s show time!
What’s the one thing you absolutely cannot do before a show?
I can’t have anything to eat the last hour before a show. I feel like a big human-sized paper weight up there.
What’s a perfect day in SF?
Brunch, walk on Ocean Beach, look at some anti-Trump and pro-peace street art, catch a Giants game (hopefully one where they win), and play show….Bangerang.