If you told someone last year that Foxygen would still be a functioning band – let alone one successfully touring behind a fearless new double-album – you probably got some incredulous looks and eye rolls.
Such was the state of affairs in 2013 for Foxygen, the combustible duo of Sam France and Jonathan Rado, who play the Fillmore on Friday.
With rumors of drug abuse, canceled tour dates, public strife between the musicians and France’s increasingly erratic behavior, few seemed surprised at reports the group disbanded.
But the stories turned out to be false. And after retooling and releasing a 24-song, two-hour album “… And Star Power,” the group rebounded.
“This current tour has been great so far. We haven't had any of our usual problems, like broken instruments or broken body parts,” says Rado, a multi-instrumentalist and laid-back foil to France's frenzied presence.
The audacious length of the album – with Foxygen’s usual schizophrenic, hyper-catchy interpretations of 1960s flower-child rock, psychedelia, blue-eyed soul and reflective singer-songwriter musings – wasn't intended to be a “f-you” moment to those who questioned the group's stability.
“This was more about pursuing the ambitions we set out for each other,” says Rado. “Two years ago, we knew we wanted to make a double-album and embrace all the tropes that go along with it. We had the material built up over the years, so we decided to go for it.”
The music intentionally was recorded in a bare-bones manner; the songs played live are more dynamic: “It's almost like the album tracks were recorded as demos for the live performances,” says Rado.
Although things have calmed down for Foxygen, the band's trademark impulsiveness lives on. At a show in Boston, France jumped into the crowd and adoring fans kept him from getting back to the stage.
“He was literally fighting people to get back. I was getting nervous that I'd have to stop playing and grab him out of there. That's how things usually are with us – we can be unpredictable, but at the same time we want to sound good and put on a great show,” Rado adds.
That volatility will likely be evident in The City, which the band cited in “San Francisco,” a popular cut from 2013’s “We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic.”
“I think that song was more about the image of the place, instead of the actual city,” says Rado. “But we love San Francisco. And getting to play at the Fillmore is an enormous honor-it's definitely one of the most famous music venues in the country, if not the world.”
Putting to rest lingering queries about its long-term health, the group intends to record another album after the current tour. “I know everyone has their questions about us, but we're doing fine,” says Rado.
IF YOU GO
Where: Fillmore, 1805 Geary Blvd., S.F.
When: 9 p.m. Oct. 24
Contacts: (415) 346-6000, www.thefillmore.com