Blues rockers Stone Foxes on fire

COURTESY PHOTOConflict-driven: The Stone Foxes’ latest album “Small Fires” is fueled by fervor and various perspectives.

COURTESY PHOTOConflict-driven: The Stone Foxes’ latest album “Small Fires” is fueled by fervor and various perspectives.

 “This album should be played loud,” read the line notes of “Small Fires,” the new third outing from Bay Area blues-rockers The Stone Foxes. And rightly so. The disc – anchored in the gravelly vocals of frontman Spence Koehler and fiery harmonica of his drumming brother Shannon Koehler) crackles with Willie Dixon fervor, from the sinewy “Everybody Knows” to a stomping “Ulysses Jones,” a gravelly “Cotto,” and the forlorn “Goodnight Moon,” sung from the perspective of a homeless man. “It’s a totally conflict-driven record, whether it’s violent or religious or economical, given the hard times we’re living in,” says Shannon. “So if you have a ‘small fire’ of an idea you’re trying to get out? You’d better say it.”  

You have a song about notorious boxer Miguel Cotto, and your album cover features a kayoed pugilist next to a bloody human heart. Big fight fan, are you?

Ha! Actually, anti-violence is a real passion of mine, and I’m a pacifist myself. But for some reason, I really get into boxing. So maybe I’m not a very good pacifist. But I was watching some classic old fights on ESPN Classic, and I ran across this fight with Miguel Cotto and Manny Pacquiao, and it was just unbelievable that this guy Cotto just had no idea when to take a hint. And you could see Pacquiao being the merciful god – he probably could have killed that guy. So it was an interesting life lesson through boxing – sometimes your pride can drive you to keep getting up when you really shouldn’t.

Your cover of Slim Harpo’s “King Bee” recently was in a commercial for Jack Daniels’ Tennessee Honey. How did you get that hookup?

 Well, they were looking for a blues-rock band and talked to KROQ in L.A., and they said they knew us. So they called me and said “Hey – can you do a demo in two days?” But we were in Austin at SXSW, playing shows. So it was just absolute madness. We’d play a show, then go into this recording studio, come back and play another show. They wanted “King Bee,” but a rock version. So we did a couple of different tries, and they were mellow things. But then we played in this church house in Austin, banged out a great demo, and did the recorded version here in S.F. at Hyde Park Studios.

Was there free booze involved?

No. They just gave us money, which is fine. And of course, you wish the song was an original. But we did with it what we do to songs, and if that’s the gateway to somebody learning about us and our music, then that’s awesome.  

IF YOU GO

The Stone Foxes

Where: Fillmore, 1805 Geary Blvd., S.F.

When: 9 p.m. Saturday

Tickets: $21.50

Contact: (415) 346-6000; www.livenation.com

         

 

 

artsentertainmentmusicPop Music & JazzStone Foxes

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Giants second baseman Donovan Solano scores on a double in the seventh inning against the Dodgers at Oracle Park on July 29. (Chris Victorio/Special to The Examiner)
Will the Giants make the playoffs? Kris Bryant may be the answer

By Chris Haft Special to The Examiner You’d be hard-pressed to find… Continue reading

Tiffany Carter, owner of Boug Cali West Coast Creole Shack in San Francisco’s La Cocina Marketplace, was dismayed by gentrification she found when she returned to her hometown to start a business. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
SF Black Wallstreet: Helping residents build wealth, reclaim spaces they’ve had to leave

Tiffany Carter moved back to her hometown of San Francisco five years… Continue reading

A prescribed fire at Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks was conducted in June 2016 to reduce hazardous fuel loading, increase watershed health, and restore the natural fire cycle in the Redwood Canyon area ecosystem. (Photo courtesy Rebecca Paterson/National Park Service)
Experts, UC scientists discuss wildfires in the state’s riskiest regions

Wildfires are nothing new in California’s history, but the magnitude and frequencies… Continue reading

Fourth-grade students at Lucerne Valley Elementary School don masks and Western wear for a “Walk Through California” history day during in-person instruction. (Courtesy of Krystal Nelson)
Confusion over mask mandate for California schools sparks tension between districts and parents

By Diana Lambert EdSource Shifting rules around mask mandates at schools are… Continue reading

In his extensive filming of The City during the pandemic, Eric Goodfield said he has been “observing how the environment affects the behavior of people.” (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
Filmmaker Eric Goodfield fixes lens on SF’s COVID days

140 days of shooting in The City made for ‘greatest adventure’

Most Read