COURTESY CARA ROBBINSThe tumultuous Foxygen – Jonathan Rado

COURTESY CARA ROBBINSThe tumultuous Foxygen – Jonathan Rado

Foxygen rebounds with ‘Star Power’

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

Foxygen

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

When: 9 p.m. Oct. 24

Tickets: $22.50

Contacts: (415) 346-6000, www.thefillmore.com

artsFoxygenJonathan RadoPop Music & JazzSam France

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

Passengers ride the 14-Mission Muni bus on Friday, March 12, 2021. (Jordi Molina/Special to S.F. Examiner)
Transit officials fear Free Muni pilot could hurt already-strained service levels

Supporters say fare cuts could increase ridership, help low-income residents

The vacant property at 730 Stanyan St. in the Haight currently houses a safe sleeping site for the homeless. <ins>(Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)</ins>
Affordable housing project on former McDonald’s site delayed as city adds units

The start of construction on an affordable housing project on the site… Continue reading

Visitors read a notice hanging on the Polk Street entrance to City Hall on Thursday, March 26, 2020, shortly after the building was closed. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
City Hall reopening to the public on June 7 after long closure due to COVID-19

San Francisco will reopen City Hall to the public on June 7… Continue reading

Historic streetcars are undergoing testing on The Embarcadero to prepare for their return to service on May 15.<ins></ins>
What to expect for Muni Metro’s relaunch on May 15

Significant service restoration includes downtown subway tunnels and historic streetcars

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (10) and running back Raheem Mostert (31) celebrate after Mostert scores his fourth rushing touchdown in the third quarter as the 49ers take on the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship game at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif. on Sunday, Jan. 19, 2020. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
49ers on prime-time TV five times in 2021

Usually a team that finishes in last place and won only six… Continue reading

Most Read