Shannon Koehler, lead singer for San Francisco rock band the Stone Foxes, has been dealing with health issues – his heart in particular – most of his life. But his 11 open-heart surgeries weren’t something he talked about when it came to the band. Until now.
Koehler addresses the subject on “Cold Like a Killer” from Stone Foxes’ latest album, “12 Spells,” which means he’s talking about it publicly for the first time.
“I’ve had more of a reason to talk about it. It’s just sort of part of my life ever since I was a little kid and had my first big surgery when I was 10 to put in a new valve,” says Koehler.
The Stone Foxes current tour brings them to Visulite Friday; it marks the high-energy rock band’s first Charlotte show.
“I had this time when I was on some new medication. You’re taking a lot of meds, and you can’t move really well. I’m 26 and I feel like I’m 80- or 90-something. I had that in my head,” he says of what inspired “Cold Like a Killer.” “That’s one of our favorite songs to play.”
Koehler started Stone Foxes with his brother and writing partner Spence (who no longer tours). Originally a drummer and now the singer, Koehler injects his passion for life into Stone Foxes’ rock ’n’ roll swagger (a bluesy garage-glam merger of the Stones, Black Crowes and Cage the Elephant).
“When you check in with your mortality at such a young age, I think you appreciate the fact that you need to do something with this life you’ve got. You need to treat it for the piece of gold that it is,” says Koehler, who got a new pacemaker a few days before a performance at a San Francisco 49ers game.
“We’re underneath the stadium in the green room. I checked my bandage and it was bleeding a little bit. I called my doctor and made sure it was OK,” he says. “I think we know life can go by pretty fast and it’s important you take advantage of every opportunity you have to connect with people. We do it every time we play, and play as hard as we can.”
It’s important for the songs to have deeper meanings as well, he adds.
“When we write songs we try to say things that are important to us and that we feel connected to. For this album (bassist) Vince (DeWald) wrote a song about gentrification, something that’s kicking San Francisco’s a** right now. Songs about income inequality and racial inequality. We’re a fun rock ’n’ roll band, but we want to say something important because life is important, and I think that’s the connection with the heart stuff for me.
“We could songs about girls all the time. We sing a couple. There’s other important things in life too.”
When: 9 p.m. Friday.
Where: Visulite Theatre, 1615 Elizabeth Ave.
Details: 704-358-9200; www.visulite.com.