The Stone Foxes
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The Stone Foxes

San Francisco, California, United States | SELF

San Francisco, California, United States | SELF
Band Rock Blues


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"The Stone Foxes have serious chops and they know it. Such triumphal lyrics as I killed Robert Johnsonshould be a clue. The whole album is like a quick trip back to the drugged-out, laid-back Seventies. If only more bands still made records like this." - The East Bay Express

"...this group of four upstarts from San Francisco is poised to go ka-boom behind their juggernaut sophomore album, “Bears & Bulls,” which contains perhaps the best blues-rock tune of the last 20 years, “I Killed Robert Johnson.” - Sacramento Press

"Most of 'Bears and Bulls' sounds like it could’ve been recorded in Muscle Shoals, Alabama in 1970—but the Foxes bring a rawness and an unpretentious gang mentality (they swap instruments freely, and all four take turns at lead vocals) to their music that keeps it fresh. 'I Killed Robert Johnson,' a witty new spin on the old bluesman myth, is an obvious highlight, but so are folksier numbers like 'Easy' and barn-burners like 'Young Man,' which recalls Kings of Leon before they cleaned up for Top 40." - Metromix

"The Stone Foxes' kick out the blues powered jams with a precision and passion that is usually the stomping grounds (no pun intended) of rock veterans. It's been a while since the blues have sounded so fresh, so good and so modern." - Associated Content

"Classic rock minded but sonically curious like modern boys tend to be, Bears & Bulls is one of the best records to slide across the JamBase desk this year." - JamBase

"The gutbucket six-string riffs and soulful shout-singing on tracks like "Stomp," "I Killed Robert Johnson," and "Little Red Rooster" show this band of twentysomethings has been pounding the old-time gospel — Stones, Zeppelin, Aerosmith — since kindergarten. In much the same way Jack White salvaged dinosaur guitar jams from the ashes of 1980s Arena Rawk excess, the Stone Foxes use these grooves to tell their own contemporary San Francisco stories." - The SF Weekly

"One wouldn't expect this NoCal quartet to outdo their self-titled debut but with Bears and Bulls they most assuredly have. Brimming with confidence, precision and enough scruff and git to make Mick Jagger smile, Bears and Bulls is a scuzzy, greasy, summer opus and just the kind of thing to keep this band on the national radar. If this doesn't turn some heads, what the fuck will?" - Absolute Punk

"Bears and Bulls, their latest release, rules...Catchy songs like ‘Young Man’ and ‘Patience’ will have you playin' air guitar in front of your mirror. Then they break it down to a very bluesy song ‘Easy,’ with so much emotion behind the arrangement and singing that it may provoke a tear." - San Francisco Chronicle

"In a time of laptops and drum machines, the roots-blues the band plays is a welcome change. Enthusiastic and talented, the Stone Foxes knocked it out of the park for the release of Bears & Bulls." - Relix

"Mr. Hangman - The Stone Foxes...this ripping jam, a rant against the death penalty, is irresistible." - USA Today

"The Black Keys' new album...Dead Weather's Sea of Cowards...The Stone Foxes' Sophmore album...these groups' popularity may be the most exciting thing in music since Zeppelin." - Elmore

“The four San Franciscans in The Stone Foxes have an energetic style that’s rooted in swampy, foot-stomping blues-rock. Their freshly released sophomore album,Bears and Bulls, tackles ambitious arrangements with diverse moods ranging from acoustic twang to thunderous electric-guitar riffs.” - NPR

...a band of ragged, Stones-y shufflers with an endless supply of truly fine whiskey rockers to wooze away the weekend with. Imagine the Black Crowes with a grudge. - Classic Rock Magazine

There is an impassioned, heartfelt importance in every note that drips from their sound and uppercuts the listener with full on rock and roll bravado. - San Francisco Examiner

It's fair to say that if future bands want an example of how best to do this, they need look no further than this astonishing record of 12 howling gems - Absolute Punk of the best opening band encores ever. - SF Weekly

You simply can’t talk about 2009 buzz bands with out mentioning this blues-driven rock quartet from San Francisco. - The Wave Magazine

So. Freakin’. Awesome. - The Bay Bridged

Everyone must get a Stone Foxes song into their iPod. - Delfin Vigil, San Francisco Chronicle

Though I know it's a fatal blunder for music writers to prophesize, I'll do it anyway: The Stone Foxes are gonna be huge. - Kat Renz, San Francisco Bay Guardian

A clear contender for one of 2009's early buzz bands. - Phoenix New Times

Reserve your seats on the Stone Foxes' train now, because once the Black Keys, White Stripes and Mother Hips crowds get wind of these four guys' throwback Rolling Stones/Buddy Guy/Muddy Waters blues rock gift package, it's going to be a full ride. - The Record (Best of the Bay)


The Stone Foxes "Bears & Bulls"
Released: July 6, 2010 (Self-Released)

The Stone Foxes "The Stone Foxes"
Released: August 2008 (Self-Released)

New Tales to Tell: A Tribute to Love and Rockets
September 2009 (Arsenal Rock N Roll/Justice Records)
Feat. our cover of "Fever"



It’s not just great song writing, warm guitars, a nut-tight rhythm section, and the occasional blues harp riffs that make The Stone Foxes’ second album, Bears & Bulls, so good; the Bay Area four-piece consisting of brothers Shannon and Spence Koehler, Aaron Mort, and Avi Vinocur have captured something else on this recording that makes the whole thing huge, and very, very cool.

Listeners sense it right away. There’s a genuineness here that’s rare and refreshing, and it’s something that can’t be achieved simply by grabbing a couple of vintage axes and plugging into a stack of tube amps. Because while The Stone Foxes may be influenced by the greats of the late 60s and early 70s like The Band, Bob Dylan, and Led Zeppelin, they never sound like they’re trying to be anything but exactly who they are. But then they don’t need to: their style of blues-rock stands on its own.

Still though, there’s something about Bears & Bulls that sets it well apart from other records. And to understand what it is, what makes this record so unique, so good, you need to know how The Stone Foxes approach their music.

“We’ll never be a traditional studio band,” says Aaron.

“Yeah, our music was written to play live,” adds Avi.

That makes perfect sense to anyone that’s been to one of their shows: it’s clear the Foxes care far more about performing their music for living, breathing human beings than an empty room filled with microphones.

So rather than holing up in a studio, writing songs in a void, then cutting an album and touring it, The Stone Foxes work their new material out on stage over a period of months, playing it for their fans. And that’s part of what makes their shows, and this new record, so special. Each song in their arsenal has evolved organically over time, taking on a unique personality while retaining the core DNA that makes it a Stone Foxes original. Every song, every lick, every fill on Bears & Bulls has had its own unique path to maturity, taking the energy and feedback from the live experience and making it a critical part of the music.

When it was time to cut the record, the band knew that in order to capture the real soul of the music it would be critical to maintain that energy, those unique aspects of each song. So Bears & Bulls was recorded with virtually no overdubs, at a studio they built themselves.

“Recording in our own studio really allows us to connect directly to the listener,” says Vinocur. “It comes right from us to the fans.”

As a result, Bears & Bulls is an audio snapshot of exactly who and where The Stone Foxes were musically when they recorded it. It’s a reflection of their live show and a tribute to the interplay between musicians and fans. It’s a moment in time captured digitally, then mixed by Alex Newport and mastered by John Cuniberti in beautiful, warm, old-school analog. Just like it should be.

Spence Koehler, who along with brother Shannon grew up in the Sierra Foothills before moving to the Bay Area a few years ago, points out another thing about the new record that makes it unique. “You know,” he says, “all the instrumentation on the recording is the same as it is live.”

Right, the instrumentation thing: The Stone Foxes don’t have a set lineup on instruments. Since each song is unique, who plays what changes depending on the song’s personality. Shannon may come out from behind the drums to sing and play harmonica while Avi replaces him. Aaron, Spence and Avi regularly swap rhythm, lead, and bass duties, and every member sings lead on at least a few songs. But it’s no gimmick: like everything The Stone Foxes do, the instrument and vocal changes are a function of the natural evolution of their music and what works best on each song.

“It doesn’t matter who writes the lyrics,” says Shannon, “if someone else has a better voice for the song, they sing it.”

And the way they play it live is the way it’s laid to tape.

So you’ve got this band of players that can actually play, writers that can actually write, none of whom seem to have much ego: it’s about the music and the band over all – not the individual. You turn them loose to create songs that evolve and mature over time, then you drop them in a studio to track a record on their own terms. As it turns out, what you end up getting is something way deeper and more heartfelt than most bands ever deliver.

You also get a hint of what they’ll become. Because this collection of songs, from the raucous fun of “Stomp” to the slow grind of “Through the Fire” from the bad ass lick that opens “Patience” to the down and dirty blues of “Mr. Hangman” could only have been created by a band that’s fearless about following their music where it leads, and has the skills to share what they learn on the trip. And it’s a trip they’re still taking: The Stone Foxes and their music continue to evolve, and continue to deliver live shows that blow the doors off of venues along the way.

When asked if there’s one thing th