If you hail from the garden of England and you love your metal loud with a hint of southern rock and a splash of Grunge, then you’ve no doubt heard of Stone Kings. The five piece have been tearing up Kent and beyond since 2010 and show no signs of stopping anytime soon. With about a million shows to their name, two albums, with a third in the works as well as some amazing music videos Stone Kings are rapidly making a name for themselves as a band to watch out for. We met frontman Gregg Stageman to find out a bit more about the band that is slowly tearing the UK a new asshole….
The Black Flag: So tell us a bit about the band. Who’s involved and how did you get together?
Gregg Stageman: Stone Kings formed after my last band Twilight Green disbanded in February 2010. It left myself, my brother Ryan and our lead guitarist Gary still wanting to continue, but in a slightly grungier, heavier new direction. So we called up Dom who Ryan and I had met on a college course some years before, and he was up for it, so we jammed and it worked. And then we put out an ad on join my band looking for a drummer, which Gav responded to and we clicked straight away, that first rehearsal sealed it really.
There was a line-up change in early 2012 when Ryan left to work on a different project, so we brought in Dan on bass and moved Dom onto guitar. The new line-up worked very well from the get go so we were very lucky in that respect.
TBF: What are the bands main musical influences and why?
Gregg: We all have very diverse musical tastes, spanning punk, grunge, hard rock, nu-metal, heavy metal, stoner rock, Avant garde and prog. So yeah a lot of different influences go in to make what we end up creating between the five of us.
TBF: Your described as Hard rock/metal band is this an adequate description?
Gregg: It’s hard to describe our sound as it covers so much ground, but yes it’s definitely rooted in hard rock/southern rock, grunge and the various genres of metal.
TBF: Although you’re from Kent you’ve played gigs all across the UK. What’s been the highlight so far?
Gregg: There have been a lot of highlights. Playing the Bulldog Bash in 2011 was certainly one. Getting to play the Willow Festival in Peterborough for the last two years running has been awesome! Such a good response from the crowd, and definitely some of the biggest crowds we’ve played to.
We’ve also had the pleasure of supporting some great bands like Zico Chain, Electric River and Slam Cartel (coming up in December), as well as playing with an array of great unsigned bands from around the country.
TBF: You’re currently in the studio working on your third album. Tell us about your previous albums (Stone Kings and Reset). What can we expect with the new album?
Greg: With our debut album, Ryan, Gary and I actually wrote 14 songs over the course of a weekend, literally the same week that Twilight Green broke up. These are the songs we were jamming when Dom and Gav came on board, but once we had a full band, some songs got dropped and some new songs got written till we ended up with the 12 that we decided would make up the first album.
It was a blend of grunge, hard rock and southern rock, with some stoner influences in there too. We recorded it at the studio where we rehearse and it was produced by our lead guitarist Gary, as was Reset and as will be our next album.
We were really proud of the end result. We felt it was a really solid album, every song having a different feel, while the whole had a very distinctive sound that would be the blueprint for Stone Kings and the springboard for the following albums to branch out from.
It was released in the summer of 2011 and was generally very well received. Then we started work on the 6-track EP that would follow this album, what ended up becoming titled Reset. During the process we lost Ryan and gained Dan, and it had been a real period of transition for all of us. The 6 songs we ended up with showed a progression from the songs on the first album, while not losing our signature sound.
Grungy, heavy, powerful and emotive, Reset ended up being a very solid EP/mini-album and was also very well received by our fans.
The next album, which we are currently working on, will be a progression again. Harder and heavier than its predecessors in a lot of ways, we’ve taken this one in a different direction to our previous albums, while still retaining our sound, but there is something added to it. I don’t want to give too much away at this point but I think our fans will be pleasantly surprised.
TBF: You’ve had a few videos produced. My favourite being ‘Reset’ which has a whole unnerving feel to it. What the story behind it?
Gregg: For the Reset video we got in touch with my good friend Pat at Eyes Alive! Productions. He listened to the song a lot to get a feel for it and get some ideas, and then I spoke to him and gave him my perspective on what the song was about and meant to me, and he ended up coming up with a treatment that we really liked.
For the whole band shoot, Pat found a broken down old barn which just looked like a really cool and grungy location, and the style he was filming in was very Gonzo style, with Pat holding the camera and moving around us all as we played getting some really cool angles, and also shots that were right up in our face so that the audience is as close to the action as possible and basically so we had nothing to hide, which was a really cool way to do it I think, like “This is us.This is Stone Kings!”
Then there was one shoot I did in front of a graffiti covered wall in an underpass just performing the song to the camera. The other shoot was me and the two models in the video, filmed in a cavernous underground basement below a venue, with myself embodying the emotions I was conveying in the lyrics as much as possible, and the two models were basically like extreme versions of the crazy emotions going on in the song. I think Pat’s idea was that they might be figments of my imagination, but they add a nice touch to the visual aspect of the video and the emotions being conveyed.
TBF: Where can we catch you guys next?
Gregg: Our next gig is at Platform 5 in Ashford, and venue we love and have played many times now, supporting Slam Cartel for their Xmas Party.
Gonna be a great night! And will be nice to rock out one last time this year before we break for Christmas. Although in between times we’re obviously going to be in the studio working on the new songs.
TBF: Anything else you want to plug?
Gregg: Yeah if you’d like to hear our music to date, you can stream it all at http://stonekings.bandcamp.com, where you can also purchase our albums and merch.
If you’re on Facebook, give us a like at facebook.com/stonekingsmusic and Twitter at twitter.com/stonekingsmusic
There’s also a ReverbNation page (reverbnation.com/stonekings)
And our main website -> www.stonekings.co.uk
TBF: Where do you see yourselves in five years’ time?
Gregg: Hopefully still making albums, playing shows and festivals, and maybe we will have explored some new territories and other countries by then. Just as long as we’re still rocking and flying the Stone Kings flag it’s all good!