Joel Stevens chats his alter ego and Foxton Kings vintage inspired roots

Last week, Perth based Foxton Kings made some huge waves with their gritty, anthemic new single, Burn. Since their genesis, the west coast rockers have since cemented themselves as one of the most authentic groups on the scene.

“Foxton Kings killer new release Burn, encompasses a deliciously brutal fusion of ruthless guitar riffs and intricately crafted, gritty vocals that’ll demand your attention from beginning to end.”

Following the release of their electrified, alt-rock single Burn, Foxton Kings’ lead vocalist, Joel Stevens took a moment to reveal the background that makes the tough-as-nails band tick.

Give us some background! How and when was Foxton Kings formed?

Cliff (FK guitarist) and I met while playing in a metalcore band together in 2014. We both share a love of vintage cars/fashion/music, as well as modern heavy rock, and decided to form a band that we could use to indulge our mutual interests.

Where did the name come from?

Through exploring different ways we could embody vintage styles in Foxton Kings, I created an alter ego, Harry. Harry has probably a good 20 years on me, he’s an early riser, a working-class citizen and a product of his era, which is circa 1950’s. He loves cars, rock and roll and drinks heavily to curb his stubborn male-rage, haha…we do have some things in common, but I think Harry had a much tougher upbringing than I.

Anyway, the street that I grew up on, which is also where we’ve written most of our releases, is called Foxton Drive. We thought that ‘Harry Foxton’ was a fitting name for a tough-as-nails, repressive greaser from the 50’s, haha. I didn’t want our project to be a solo act – what we do is as much about groove and riffage as it is about Harry, so the name Foxton Kings is an echo of the idea that is Harry Foxton.

Do you ‘get into character’ before a show?

I do! Often I’ll listen to the soundtrack of a classic film. I’m currently oscillating between two at the moment; The Public Enemies and Rebel Without A Cause.

Also – I’ll have a close neck shave with my blade & brush. Full old school kit, razor sharp and skin smooth as a babies bum, haha. Vocal warm-ups in the car are a thing, too.

To what do you attribute your love of the ‘vintage’ era?

I grew up in quite a traditional working-class household with old school values and spent a lot of my adolescence in the shed with my dad, working on old cars and motorbikes. We used to get up super early on a Sunday to go to swap meets and markets for parts. I guess it started there. My pride and joy at one point was a 1961 Holden EK.

I suppose that my interest in vintage motors turned me on to the culture associated with those vehicles when they were the cutting edge – I find a nostalgic charm in vintage possessions and styles. It takes me to a place that I can lose myself in; I find it soothing. I’ve always been a bit of a ‘modern day greaser’.

Where do you gather your style inspo?

I trawl Instagram and Google for old photos. WW2 photos of servicemen or a 60’s barbershop ad to see what the gentleman in the chair is wearing. Or classic films – James Dean in the 50’s is always good value!

I’m relentless on the Knickerbocker Social and Indigo & Goods Insta pages. Pickens & Party from Melbourne and Elroy in Perth both stock really great vintage threads too.

How did you get started playing music?

Nan used to take my brother & I to church when I was about 5, that’s when I first heard live music. I desperately wanted to learn the guitar but my older brother was given one as a birthday present, and I just couldn’t handle the idea of being in his shadow, haha! So at age 10 I picked up the drums.

It wasn’t until about age 17 that I started playing the guitar, more to accompany my voice as I tried to emulate my musical idols.

Musical influences – past and present?

During high school and was deep into Alexisonfire, Yellow Card and the Chilli Peppers. After high school, I was right into heavier styles & toured over east in a metal-core band.

But when I finally picked up a guitar towards the pointy end of high school I discovered Howlin’ Wolf, Roy Orbison and one of my all-time favourites – Johnny Cash.

These days, I’m obsessed with Jack White and Jay Buchanan (Rival Sons), also Esme Patterson and C.W. Stoneking.

Tell us about the new single ‘Burn’?

Burn is a short & sweet thrasher, sitting at just under 3 minutes. It’s a tale of unrequited love and is accompanied by perhaps the most ‘off-the-cuff’ musicality that you’ll find on our forthcoming EP ‘With Love’, which is set for release in the new year!

Check out Burn below!

Any other plans for 2019?

A whole bunch! Foxton Kings are gearing up for our biggest year to date. Not to give too much away, but we’ll be some busy boys in 2019. We’ll be quick out of the starting gates, too. Very excited!

Foxton Kings ‘Burn’ Single Launch Tour

November 8 – Ric’s Bar, Brisbane
w/ Airvoyance (fb event)

November 9 – Captain Cook Hotel, Sydney
w/ The Dead Set, Five SurVive, Watching Wolves, The Rucksaks, Octavian

November 10 – Central Club Hotel, Melbourne
w/ Black Alpine, Vicious Addiction, Lace and Whiskey, Sedon, Phoenix Daniels

November 17 – The Aardvark, Fremantle
w/ Command A Panda, Grace Sanders, Tether