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"SF Bands Speak: An Interview with Privies"

Privies are an all original alternative pop/rock band reminiscent of “about old school R.E.M, Sublime, AC/DC and the Rolling Stones” but offering up a sound all their own. They’re playing all over the Bay Area in the next few months (including a show tonight out in Concord) and will be in the city in July. Check out our interview with Leo Stone (their vocalist and rhythm guitar player).

What’s the story on how the band formed?

As a former San Francisco resident, I would write songs alone on my acoustic guitar. My passion for writing music had reignited after years of dormancy and years of not performing in a band. I moved to the outer reaches of the East Bay to reside closer to my day job and decided to form a band to record and perform the songs that I had written solo. After a few weeks of advertising for fellow musicians on Craig’s List, I found myself with a bassist and Cheryl, a kick-ass female drummer. I was quite surprised that other talented musicians could envision my acoustic songs transformed into full blown rock songs. We spent the next two months orchestrating the rhythms and expanding on the basic song structures that were already in place. It was then that we found a mild mannered modern guitar god in Johnny T who had just left his previous Hardcore band of nine years (Doomsday Device). Johnny T was the missing link to the music. He wrote and added guitar riffs and leads to the existing songs and completed the band. Johnny T and The Privies are bringing back quality guitar solos to the world of Rock N’ Roll. Most recently, we replaced our bass player with Keith who really filled out our sound and is a force to be reckoned with.

Is there a story behind the name of your band?

We wanted an original name. I said to the band “if I can find a band with the same or very similar name on Google or on Myspace, then I don’t want it.” After trying about 20 different names just to be let down, our bass player came up with the name “Privies”. Unbeknownst to me. apparently privies were types of outhouses although there are other definitions having to do with legal terminology. It quickly grew on us as we joked about it and thought that maybe other people would see the humor in it as well. Plus it rolls off of the tongue well and is easy to remember unlike many other bands whose name consists of 3 or 4 words.

Describe the first impression a new listener is likely to have of your music.

People generally really like our music. The music sounds somewhat familiar to them but is clearly very original at the same time. We often get comments like “good stuff” or “you guys sound really good”. We have also heard people tell us that they miss original good rock music like it used to be. Nobody does that anymore and the guitar solos (the good ones) all but disappeared.

If you had to sum up your sound, what would you say?

I would say to try and imagine what would happen if Neil Diamond, Angus Young, Elvis and Mike Ness of Social Distortion formed an all original new band in the 21st century. The Privies will make you reminisce about old school R.E.M, Sublime, AC/DC and the Rolling Stones in their own unique and original way.

What’s your favorite song to perform live?

I would probably say “She Rocks”. It’s our newest song and it’s high energy. It really gets the fans going and is still challenging for us to play.

If the band was a San Francisco landmark, which one would it be and why?

I would have to go with Haight & Ashbury, my old stomping ground. People who live in the area (not the tourists who pay $150 for trendy jeans) are very artistic and innovative. I try to write my songs with that same liberal artistic vibe. I am also inspired by bands from the 60’s like Hendrix and The Doors and believe that some of that flavor is reflected in our music.

Do you have a favorite SF venue?

Well it used to be the Stone before they closed down. Now I would have to say probably Bottom of the Hill. If you want to hear something new and fresh, I would say that’s still the place to go.

Which spots in the city can you be found in when you’re just out and about?

Since none of us live in the city, it’s kind of hard to say. When I get into town, I mostly hang out at some of the bars on Polk Street like Edinburgh Castle or The Hemlock Tavern. The Mission has some great spots as well. One of my favorite things to do is to grab a late night super burrito at any of the local Mission shops that are still open.

Where do you want to be a year from now?

A year from now, we want to have our first CD recorded and be played on local radio. We also want to be playing the larger venues like Slim’s, The Independent, Cafe du Nord and The Great American Music Hall.

If there was anything that you could make sure your fans knew, what would it be?

You are never too old, you are never not good enough, and you only live once - so follow your dreams even if it kills you! Also I would like for them - San Fran Voice


Debut album, “you have the right!” was released in August 2008 and is available through as well as

The album can also be downloaded from iTunes worldwide, Amazon, Rhapsody, Shockhound and Napster.

The entire CD is a radio-friendly roller coaster ride consisting of 11 hook laden tracks that all tell a story crossing multiple genres and bridging decades of generations! It’s no wonder that people of all ages and all different backgrounds are getting into the innovative sound of the Privies.



The Privies came to be when singer/ songwriter Leo Stone formed a band to perform the Rock songs that he had been writing acoustically. The writing was influenced by a wide range of musical influences such as The Beatles, the Pixies, Coldplay, U2 and The Hives. Ms. Cheryl came into the picture on drums coming from a lifetime of pop oriented music. Johnny T, a former hard core powerhouse lead guitarist soon joined in and the god of thunder, Boz, came into the band from an almost all entirely Punk Rock background. All of these elements blended together into what is now the Privies. A diverse collection of music that somehow melds all together as if by design. The listener is taken on a rollercoaster of emotions and musical vibes.

The band has performed all over the San Francisco Bay Area at venues such as The Great American Music Hall, 12 Galaxies, Hotel Utah, Blakes on Telegraph and Bottom of the Hill just to name a few.

The Privies made into the Semi-Regional Finals in the 2007-2008 Bodog Battle of the Bands and were ranked #5 in the country by popular vote.