Stonefeather: A funk-rock fusion

Drummer, Dave Rundell (left), Vocalist, Ian Thomas (center) and Vocalist and bassist, Zach Kibbee (right) form the funk-rock trio, Stonefeather. Photo ourtesy by Katie Kibbee, publicist for Stonefeather.

After listening to the combined rock-funk elements of the Los Angeles based rock trio, Stonefeather, it is hard to believe that this band was formed in February 2008. Each member comes from one of the three corners of the U.S., bringing their unique talents together to create a groovy rock sound reminiscent of Incubus.

Ian Thomas, vocalist and guitarist from Texas, attended the Berklee College of music in Boston before deciding to move out to California to pursue his music career. Through a mutual friend he met Zach Kibbee, vocalist and bassist, who at the time had been in another band, and also plays harmonica, drums and guitar.

Each had an interest of bringing together the sounds of rock and funk. After placing a flier for auditions at the Musicians Institute, they brought in drummer Dave Rundell from Buffalo, New York and started a trio rock-funk band.

They began to rehearse together to develop and define their band. All of the songs have been written and produced through collaboration and dedication from the trio.

“We get together as a band and just start to jam and we see how it’s going to sound,” said Thomas.

These jam sessions began to create an original sound and a band that’s able to take the old school funk sounds of yesterday and blend them with the new sounds of the commercial bands out today.

“When we originally started the idea was to fuse rock with funk music,” said Kibbee. “We were trying to combine these two opposite ideals, funk being light and fun and rock being sometimes really heavy.”

Hence the name Stonefeather, although only together for seven months, they were runner-up in the 98.7 FM “Rock Star Contest,” in September 2008.

They began recording and released their first 8-track EP (Extended Play) in December 2008, which is currently available on iTunes. They will also be releasing a 5-track EP of new songs entitled “Responsible” on Jan. 21. Since each song carries its own flavor and can appeal to all audiences it’s hard to pinpoint the type of band they are, or to attempt to categorize them into a certain genre.

When asked who their influences are, they didn’t hesitate to mention Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix and Red Hot Chili Peppers.

“I am 100% completely inspired by Flea from Red Hot Chili Peppers,” said Kibbee. “I got a tattoo of his face on my shoulder yesterday.”

Although many songs reflect these influences, Stonefeather has their own sound that makes them stand out from other bands. Their catchy choruses, distinctive harmonies, and melodic verses blend without force, which makes their sound authentic.

Their lyrics are of what most songs are about — love, relationships, existential angst, however, they don’t use cliché examples to represent these themes. Instead, they add a realistic soulful appeal to the music.

On the song “Waves,” Stonefeather merges the rock-funk sound flawlessly, while adding a ska-type feel.

“I really like the song ‘Waves’ off of our first EP, it’s indicative of what our physical sound is, it’s one of the first songs we wrote and it really defined our sound,” said Kibbee.

The echoing harmonies on songs like “Something New” and “The Only Son” off of the new “Responsible” EP are pleasing to the ear and addicting to listen to. The Stonefeather experience may turn one into an instant fan.

Although not currently signed to a major label, as most other unsigned artists, they wouldn’t mind the chance. However, it’s evident that the passion and love for the music lies in each of their souls.

Check out Stonefeather live at Molly Malone’s Irish Pub in Los Angeles on Jan.21, or for more information about Stonefeather go to www.myspace.com/stonefeathermusic.