June 22, 2024 The Best Source of News, Culture, Lifestyle for Culver City, Mar Vista, Del Rey, Palms and West Los Angeles

THE STONE FOXES play the VIPER ROOM, Sat. July 30

The Stone Foxes. Photo by Mike RosatiSwing House Rehearsal and Recording Studios rocked last week when The Stone Foxes hosted a listening party for the follow up to their self-titled debut CD, “Bears & Bulls.†Despite missing members—Shannon Koehler (the band’s main drummer) who had an emergency appendectomy and was at the hospital recovering, and his brother, Spence Koehler (the main lead guitarist) who remained with him—Avi Vinocur and Aaron Mort delivered unparalleled acoustic versions of “Reno†and “I Killed Robert Johnson.â€

The party kicked off with a sneak preview of The Stone Foxes music video “Stomp,†which according to a press release from Shannon Koehler is, “meant to be a primal expression of how we all use and abuse our planet. We tried to get to the root of our music by staying natural—no electronics—just vocals, woWriter Taylor Van Arsdale and musician Avi Vinocur at Swing House.od and metal.â€

The band, though they hail from San Francisco, sounds more southern rock inspired, but with their funky blended bass lines and harder-edged rhythm guitar riffs, they’re a solid fusion of past meets present. Great thing about The Stone Foxes—they don’t take themselves too seriously. Vinocur’s entertaining and natural stage presence combined with the guys’ tongue and cheek performance in their music video attests to this fact, but once you hear them play you realize they’re all seasoned musicians. The multi-talented and diversely instrumentational foursome does not have a traditional line-up, rather they take turns playing various instruments and singing lead—no easy feat.

Their sound is a modern day amalgamation of older blues with modern elements tossed in the mix. Think Buck Cherry meets Jet meets 38. Special. Vinocur, who sings lead on “I Killed Robert Johnson,†“Reno†and shares singing lead on “Easy†has a pleasing timbre to his vocals. There are no pure acoustic tracks on the CD (something I was missing during my drive home) but that’s not to say the CD doesn’t completely satisfy, because it truly does.

Tracks such as “I Killed Robert Johnson†bluesy and hard rocking with a catchy refrain and “Reno,†which pulls a familiar riff from The Allman Brothers’ “Whipping Post†deliver the goods. “Patience†and “Easy†are also worth mentioning. I had a chance to chat with the affable Vinocur after the playback.

TVA: What are your influences? What did you listen to as a kid?
AV: A lot of Beatles, a lot of Sixties stuff, I almost didn’t get into the modern era until after high school. I discovered Ryan Adams and vocally I’m really into him. I love how he controls his voice. I love Devendra Banhart, fun stuff. I’m really into lyrical things, where the lyrics come together, like Jeff Tweedy. For this group…musically, The White Stripes and The Black Keys.

TVA: Where are you from originally?
AV: I was born in Danbury, Connecticut but I moved to Manhattan Beach when I was six or seven years old.

TVA: How’d you meet the guys in the band?
AV: I used to play folk music a lot. I was living [in Los Angeles] and was trying to figure out where to go to college. I went on tour up north and played at a café and opened for Aaron and Spence. They didn’t have a bass player, so they said, ‘If you come to school [in San Francisco] we can get an apartment together and play.’

Note: Vinocur then applied and was accepted to San Francisco State University; where he graduated in 2008 with a degree in Radio and Television Broadcasting.

AV: We jammed in the garage a lot, and the three of them had a band, so I started filling in for them as a bass player.
TVA: But you sing?
AV: I sing three songs on this CD, but I’m not the main singer. We all write the songs together. We all switch off singing some covers.

TVA: How’d you guys come up with the name for the band?
AV: Shannon, our drummer, is a very old soul and describes people, especially women, in very antiquated terms, so he would say, ‘Oh, she’s a stone fox.’

TVA: I thought, when I saw the name that you were a bunch of women!
AV: (laughter) A lot of people think that, but no.

TVA: If you’re in the audience and you’re watching your band what do you want the audience to take away from the experience?
AV: I want them to have fun, because really we’re just having fun. We’re not the best musicians we’re just guys that make noise together and have fun doing it. We switch off instruments a lot; Aaron will play bass on some songs, Shannon our drummer plays harmonica, I’ll go play drums, Spence plays pedal steel.

TVA: Your harmonies were nice and tight.
AV: Thank you. That was complete luck!

TVA: Last question. What does your shirt “E>K>U>K>†say and mean?
AV: Perfect! This is a very punk minded band I was in a long time ago. We tried to call ourselves ‘Eartha Kitt’ and we couldn’t do it so we went by ‘Eartha Kitt U.K.’ and then it became ‘E>K>U>K’

The Stone Foxes currently reside in San Francisco but will be playing at the Viper Room on Saturday, July 30. For more information check out: www.thestonefoxes.com

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