20 Questions: The Stone Foxes’ Shannon Koehler

The Stone Foxes have proudly released their music without the backing of a label. Co-founder Shannon Koehler explains how his father encouraged him to "stick with music".
The Stone Foxes

Last month, PopMatters hosted the premiere of The Stone Foxes’ live performance video for “This Town” from their September release Twelve Spells. The week before the premiere of their video, The Stone Foxes were in New York City for a sweaty, headlining show at the Mercury Lounge. They also visited a studio to record some tracks for the world wide web. We had a beer and hung out with the guys in between recording sessions and got to know them a little better. Drummer and singer Shannon Koehler co-founder the band with his guitarist/brother Spence and their friends, Brian “The Buffalo” Bakalian on bass, Vince Dewald on guitars, Elliott Peltzman on Keys and Ben Andrews on guitar and violin, round out the group.

The San Francisco indie-rock five-piece have gained a following through song placement in advertisements for BMW and Jack Daniels as well as on television shows like Legit and Sons of Anarchy. These licensing deals have given the band an opportunity to finance their own album, forgoing the typical new band step of signing to a record label. Shannon took a stab at PopMatters ’20 Questions’ and his responses hint at his humor, his love for San Francisco and some of the band’s corporate sponsors.


1. The latest book or movie that made you cry?

Let me ask you this, if you know what it means to love, how do you NOT cry watching Sleepless in Seattle? Grab a bottle of wine, pint of ice cream, put on the VHS, and let the tears rain down.

2. The fictional character most like you?

I have an imaginary friend named Pablo Santo who loves giving out Christmas presents and eating candy canes. We’re pretty similar in a lot of ways.

3. The greatest album, ever?

We haven’t heard it yet, but when Nick Cave and Tom Waits get together in a studio with Dr. Dre, we will.

4. Star Trek or Star Wars?

“Explore the final frontier, we will.” – Gandalf

5. Your ideal brain food?

A long quiet subway ride in morning. Nothing sparks the brain like boredom.

6. You’re proud of this accomplishment, but why?

Because I’m the greatest, that’s why! (What are we talking about?)

7. You want to be remembered for …?

Being the guy who loved his neighbor more than forty bucks.

8. Of those who’ve come before, the most inspirational are?

[Bob] Dylan, 2pac, [John] Steinbeck, Mavis Staples, all our San Francisco forefathers…I don’t have enough space to answer this question.

9. The creative masterpiece you wish bore your signature?

Scarlet Johansson’s….you know…I’d like to sign them some time. For a small fee of course.

10. Your hidden talents . . .?

I can do a mean Michael McDonald impression. But it’s not that hidden if you hang around me, I like to do it around dusk every day.

11. The best piece of advice you actually followed?

My dad told me to not get a real job and stick with music when I graduated college. Pretty cool dude.

12. The best thing you ever bought, stole, or borrowed?

Our bank called me today and said someone used our band credit card info to buy $900 worth of stuff at Nordstrom. Hope your new coat is warm, bastards!!!

13. You feel best in Armani or Levis or…?

Levi’s and Chuck Taylor’s. Not because we’ve partnered with them before or anything….selling out is so lame…we would never….

14. Your dinner guest at the Ritz would be?

Donald Trump. I just wanna see how big of an ass hole that ass hole really is. I bet it’s even worse in person.

15. Time travel: where, when and why?

I wanna go back a week ago and not forget my sweatshirt at the venue in Chicago.

16. Stress management: hit man, spa vacation or Prozac?

Having a few beers and laying out on the docks by the river in Austin at night. Nothing can go wrong there.

17. Essential to life: coffee, vodka, cigarettes, chocolate, or..?

My pacemaker. It makes my heart work. It’s pretty essential.

18. Environ of choice: city or country, and where on the map?

On the docks of Huntington Lake in the Sierras Nevada [Mountains in] California. I don’t have the exact coordinates on me.

19. What do you want to say to the leader of your country?

Dear U.S. Government,

Please stop using my tax dollars to kill people.

Thanks, Shannon

20. Last but certainly not least, what are you working on, now?

We’re getting ready for our first UK tour in February! But that’s after our cross country and New Year’s blowout in San Francisco. After all that we’ll hunker down and try to write the best damn record we’ve ever made.