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Alumni & Friends

Real Rock, No Gimmicks

Rock and Roll has always had an anti-classroom attitude — from Alice Cooper taunting that school’s out for the summer to Pink Floyd chiding teachers to leave those kids alone.

 

A picture of the four bandmates of the Stone Foxes.Photo by Gil Riego Jr./The Golden Gate Express

But this isn’t so for The Stone Foxes. All four members of the San Francisco based blues-rock troupe graduated from SF State and have taken their gigantic, soulful tunes to Outside Lands in 2011 and to prime-time television. The group has come a long way since their early days of sneaking practice in a dorm room, but they have kept a grounded, humble attitude through the process.


“We’ve always tried not to have an air about what we do. We play rock and roll, and it is what it is,” said guitarist Aaron Mort (B.A., ’08). “There’s no diva aspect to it. We just want to have fun.”


All that time hitting the studio alongside the books paid off, but the hours spent behind a desk weren’t wasted. Mort puts his painting and drawing degree to work with Boonie Blues, a self-founded graphic design company. Elliott Peltzman (B.A., ’10), keys and guitar, has a Broadcasting and Electronic Communications Arts (BECA) degree and produces the Joe rock show on 107.7 The Bone.


Shannon Koehler (B.A., ’09), who plays drums, also has a BECA degree and records promos at local radio station KNBR. Brother Spence Koehler (B.A., ’07), guitar, earned his degree in visual communications design and between gigs works at a plant nursery.


Originally from California’s Central Valley, Mort and the Koehler brothers met on campus and eventually became roommates in the Sunset district. Peltzman joined the crew after graduating from SF State. Flash forward, and they are ready to release their third album.


The world is watching. NPR described the alums as having “an energetic style that’s rooted in swampy, foot-stomping blues rock.” Their song “King Bee” was featured in a Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey commercial and another song, “Beneath Mt. Sinai,” in the hit television series “Sons of Anarchy.”


The new album, “Small Fires,” will be released in February 2013. The project was funded through PledgeMusic.com, a site that lets bands pitch projects to fans who can donate to make them a reality. The band members made 129 percent of their $10,000 goal and in the process raised hundreds of dollars for San Francisco homeless charity the Raphael House. In exchange for pledges, fans were given exclusives — anything from a signed cd with a pledge of $20, to an original painting by Mort for $1,000.


The grassroots approach to creating their new album goes hand- in-hand with their style of keeping their tunes raw, real and natural. BECA Professor Jeff Jacoby, who has taught two of the band members, says The Stone Foxes know what music lovers love. “They make high-energy, heartfelt music that evokes real emotion
in their listeners.”

 

 

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