In the fickle world of fake music, Stonekrank is an anomoly.  Not only are they consistently one of the best selling bands on the site, but they’re also one of the oldest.  So why did it take us so long to get them to sit down for an interview?  Simple, because they never sit still long enough to do one!  After 16 albums (14 depending on who’s counting), 6 EPs, 12 singles and 2 live albums, Stonekrank is still the hottest band on Figment, and there’s no reason to think that will change any time soon.

Figment News:  You guys are the hottest band on Figment. How does it feel to be so hot?

David Stone: Well, I gotta admit, we do sometimes sizzle as we walk down the street in the hot sun. Just kidding! In all seriousness though, it’s an honor and we are so grateful.

Paul Donahue: In other words, it feels pretty damn good. Stonekrank Fans are the best!!!

FN:  Why do you think your band resonates with so many fans?

David: It’s difficult to say really, I guess it’s that we wanna keep true rock n’ roll alive and well and we think the fans understand that and support our cause. We feel like they really see where we’re coming from and can identify with our songs and lyrics.

Ronnie Jenkins: And our drum beats!

Mike Schmidt: I really feel like our music inspires people; we’ve reached out to a younger crowd now so we do our best to write the kind of music that our entire audience can relate to and in the end, I think it’s our individual songs that draw so many people in.

FN:  You just played your 2nd annual Party in Vegas Festival. What was that like and what was the genesis of that festival?

Paul: It was beyond sick, and I think the other bands who played would agree.

David: In early 2010, when we played our first Party In Vegas Fest, we just wanted to see if it’d be any fun and check out the turnout, all while partying in Las Vegas. The second time around, we were offered a tour with The Forgotten Falling and decided a big festival would be more fun instead since we could get a lot of great bands in one place. This year, though, we decided to extend the Party In Vegas Fest II over two days for a kick ass rock n’ roll party weekend.

Ronnie: As a matter of fact, we were inspired by last year’s Rockstar Energy 48 Hours Festival. This had a little more influence on our 2nd PIV Fest b/c as the name implies, it was a two day, and it featured tons of great bands playing right in the middle of the Las Vegas Strip.

FN:  Any crazy stories from the show to tell or are you sticking to the Vegas maxim, “What happens in Vegas…”?

David: Uhhh… Mike, you wanna handle this one?

Mike: Oh you suck, man. However folks, I do have a hell of a story to tell you. Saturday night, we’re playing without a doubt the most killer live show you can possibly imagine. It’s well past midnight by this time, but we kept jamming out our incredible, yet classic 22 song set list and by the time we were just beginning the song “Judas In Disguise” all the power went out and the lights shut out. I mean, all the regular Vegas lights are on, casinos and all, but they shut down the show because of some lame curfew. What sucked even more was that Anton Vukasin was nice enough to come out on stage and sing the song with us since he was there and since he was featured in our original recording of that song. By this time Dave got all pissed, I mean, so was I; we weren’t done playing yet – 2 songs to go. He then yells, “HEY! TURN THAT SHIT BACK ON, WE AIN’T DONE PLAYIN’ YET!!!” The guy who turned it off (he was a short Hispanic man with a mustache) refused and Dave comes back with “DO YOU KNOW WHO WE ARE? MUTHAFUCKIN’ STONEKRANK, BITCH!” After that, the jerk says, “I ain’t never heard of yous guys, you suck anyways.” At this point, we are all steaming. Dave probably the most furious. He puts down his guitar and starts walking toward this guy. Anton had to hold him back but not long after that, one of our fans punches him in the face. A clean swing right to the noggin. The guy is out cold after falling to the floor. Then our incredible fan plugs the power back in and switches the stage back on. We rocked out as hard as we could possibly jam and blew that crowd away after that, then closed with “The Image of Your Sorrows”. We never met the fan who punched the guy who turned off the power, nor did we get to thank him, but we may just write an upcoming song about how great our fans are. After the show, we got even more drunk, as if that was possible. All I could remember after that was a blur. Strippers and glitter, magic, the desert, and seeing the sun rise. We flew home the next day since we weren’t on tour at the time and didn’t have a bus. And my stupid band mates, I won’t say names (ahem, Ronnie and David) played a mean prank on me at the airport. It’s a little too graphic for some of our younger audience, but I’ll try to make it at least PG. They put a certain sex toy in my bag tied around a large water bottle knowing that security would confiscate it and embarrass the bejesus out of me. So that’s exactly what happened. Many laughs followed. I can’t say much more except that that was a Dick move you guys. That should spell it out for you.

FN:  So Stonekrank has been together since 2008 and you guys have released 16 albums, 6 EPs, 12 singles, 2 live albums and 2 Greatest Hits packages. Man, you’re more prolific than the Beatles. How do you do it?

David: We try to just take everything one step at a time, with the best foot forward. Music is an artistic process and I write my songs from life experiences. When I have new ideas that I think are great, I try to write them down when I can and we collectively collaborate after that.

Paul: As the bassist and backing vocalist, I try and help the flow of our songwriting process. I’ve written the lyrics for about three Stonekrank songs, but Dave’s much better at it than I am. I focus more on the groovy bass lines.

Ronnie: My first album with Stonekrank was Ultimatum and, even back then, all the guys looked up to me for the backbone to each song, laying down the freshest drum beats I can come up with.

Mike: For me, the trick is to just relax and focus on the task ahead. What some of you may not know about me is that I played rhythm guitar for the band from The Image of Your Sorrows through Ultimatum, then quit the band for a little while and rejoined just before we recorded Rock On. When I returned, I stepped in as the lead guitarist and Dave switched to rhythm. Ever since then, I’ve felt like I was really vital to this band and it’s taken my playing to a whole ‘nother level.

David: For the record, we only consider 14 of our 16 album releases to be studio albums because one of them was a re-release and the other was made up of b-sides and covers. With that being said, we felt that putting out so many releases has been necessary to our success. With a lot of material, we can reach out to more people and the fans have more stuff to choose from; there’s a little something for everybody!

FN:  Tell us a little bit about how you guys came to be a band.

Mike: Like most great things, we sort of found each other by accident.

David: He’s right. I had known early on that I always wanted to play the guitar and be a singer/songwriter, but I never could have imagined our band would turn out like this. You see, Paul and I have been friends since childhood and we had always wanted to be rock stars, but had never had a full band or the funding to get started.

Mike: I remember them calling me up at the old pizza shop where I used to work one night and ordering a large pepperoni. I delivered it to Dave’s house while he and Paul were having a jam session, with just one microphone, a guitar for Dave and an old bass for Paul with a wood finish. They didn’t even have a drummer or a second guitarist, nor did I know them at the time, I was just working. After they paid me for the pizza, I asked if I could jam with them.

Paul: I remember thinking at this point, “I’m not so sure about this guy”. You can understand my skepticism. Mike just so happened to have his guitar with him in the back of the car and asked to jam with us. He claimed he had been playing for years and that none of his other bands had ever really worked out. We liked his style and asked him to join. We were then signed to TooMuchTooYoungTooFast Records and assigned a drummer, Steve P. Withers. Despite not hitting it off with Steve right away, we learned to get along.

David: After we released The Black Album he left for personal reasons. I had been friends with Ronnie Jenkins for a while and when his previous band, Sk8er Punx, didn’t work out, we figured he’d make a nice addition to the Stonekrank family. Ronnie has been our drummer since Ultimatum.

FN:  David you’ve done quite a few side projects like Stonefly 45, Midnight Cheerleader Rebels w/ Cindy Wright, and you’ve collaborated with other bands like Eccentric Arcade. Isn’t Stonekrank enough for you or are you always looking for another challenge?

David: I’m very proud the success of Stonekrank, but yes I also seek to expand my horizons. I love getting to sing lead vocals for two bands now. Speaking of which, Ronnie, our drummer, also plays for Midnight Cheerleader Rebels with Cindy and I, which is awesome! However, I always look for another challenge. Oh, and speaking of Stonefly 45, I’ve been talking to Shane Osiris and he may be interested in getting the band back together. There may even be a new album and a tour lined up, but you didn’t hear it from me.

FN:  Do you ever sleep?

David: I try not to think about it too much. I don’t get to sleep as much as I’d like to, but after playing a long show of kick ass rock n’ roll, I love to sleep in when I can. Otherwise, we’re f***ing rock stars and we can sleep when we’re dead!!!

FN:  Any artists that you’d like to collaborate with that you haven’t yet had the chance to record with yet?

David: Cherry Vendetta! I love Cherry’s thrash punk style and have always wanted to sing with her. While I’m at it, I wouldn’t mind recording something with x-muffin-x. Maybe she and Ronnie could have a drum battle, haha.

Ronnie: You know what, man, that’s a great idea. I’m so down!

FN:  You guys won a Figgie back in 2011 for your single “Judas In Disguise”. What was that like and are awards important to you?

David: It was wonderful! We’ve always wanted to win a Figgie and who knew beforehand that it’d be for Best Single. Awards are very important to me because I see them as tokens to remind me of my success.

Paul: I loved recording that song because it was just 3 guys (at the time) having fun and playing from the heart. We pumped as much heart and soul into that song as we could and it was inspired by a song called “Onset” by Buckcherry.

FN:  Let’s talk about your most popular album to date, your first by the way, “The Image Of Your Sorrows”. Why do you think that album resonated so well with your fans?

David: Okay, there’s quite a story behind The Image of Your Sorrows. As a matter of fact, a lot of people don’t know we originally released it with no cover image. It got a bit of recognition in the beginning, but The Image of Your Sorrows became popular down the road as the band had begun to get big. We added the cover image a little over a year after we’d released the album and a poster followed around the same time.

Mike: I really think it’s that cover that made The Image of Your Sorrows so popular among our fans, because our debut album never even charted, nor did it have a big following in 2008, the year it was released.

Paul: Something about it just made it an instant classic, without becoming an instant hit. That album took years to accumulate those sales. I recognized a big jump in popularity for that record the Summer we released Ultimatum.

FN:  You put out 2 versions of your second album “Washed Up and Brushed Off”. Why?

David: That album was partially inspired by Seether’s re-releasing of Disclaimer as Disclaimer II. Essentially the same album, yet there are more songs to fill it out at the end.

Paul: We thought it was an all-around cool CD and that a second version of it with a helping hand of more songs would bring a stronger following to not only this album, but also to the band.

Mike: Seemed like the fans were drawn to Washed Up and Brushed Off II. I think it was a good move.

FN:  So doesn’t that make Stonekrank “V” technically your sixth album?

Ronnie: Well, if ya wanna get all technical about it, sure. Come to think of it, I wasn’t with Stonekrank for this album, so why am I talking?

Mike: Yeah, what the hell, man!

Ronnie: Shut up, bro!! I was with them for T.D.A.E. and you weren’t.

Mike: Touche!

David: Guys, cool it. Anyway, we feel in terms of full-length studio releases, WU&BO II was a re-release containing all of another of our albums. Therefore, we think of it more as an EP in the sense that it is an extended playing CD containing 9 more new songs at the time. Hence albums 1-5 would be The Image of Your Sorrows, Washed Up & Brushed Off, Live Fast, Smokin’ and Stonekrank “V”.

FN:  I know you have a lot to choose from, but what’s your favorite album? Single?

David: This is tough and it’s changed from time to time as we’ve matured, but right now my favorite album is Requiem. As for my favorite single? I’m gonna have to go with “Eden’s Farewell”.

Paul: My favorite album is Smokin’, favorite single is “Modern Tragedy”.

Mike: I love Ultimatum and the song “Omega, Baby!”.

Ronnie: I’m also gonna have to go with Ultimatum since it was Stonekrank’s first album with Ronnie “Muthafu*kin’” Jenkins on drums! Hell yeah, and while I’m at it, I love “Boom Mothafucka”.

FN:  What is the one song in the Stonekrank songbook that best sums up the band?

David: I can speak for the entire band in saying it’s “Taking Down An Empire”. We had a vision and we executed it. That song was the most inspired and the most inspiring song to us that we wrote on our way to the top, past the Gothzilla empire!!!

FN:  David, you also run a record label TooMuchTooYoungTooFast Records. How did that get started and what’s it like being a label boss and a musician?

David:  Oh it’s great! Very busy, but I’m livin’ the life. Seriously, this is what I’ve always wanted to do and now it’s a reality. I mean, I didn’t realize when I was a kid that I’d grow up to be the president of TooMuchTooYoungTooFast Records and a famous rock star all at the same time. It’s pretty wonderful, though!

FN:  Again, do you sleep? Eat? How do you find the time?

David: Yeah, I guess not. Wow, how am I still alive from all the meals I’ve skipped and the nights I’ve spent awake – either from playing a show or insomnia. Every now and then I find the time for life’s necessities.

FN:  What can we expect from Stonekrank in 2013?

Paul: Gee, if we knew…we woulda told you already. I don’t even think we know what’s to come.

Mike: Maybe a double album released in two halves, or something along those lines.

David: Well, I’ve mentioned that Stonefly 45 is getting back together. Some of my other bands may just have to take a break for a while. Psyche! I’ll be busy at work, as usual. Hey, it’s the life!

Ronnie: Some crazy ass, double bass, loud as hell, vibrating drums…and cowbell! Yeah, I’ll get you your fix. Truth be told, it’s the 21st century; anything can happen. I have no idea what crazy shenanigans we will get into, however next year will be huge!!

 

3 Responses to “True Rock N’ Roll: The Stonekrank Interview”

  1. Hayden Frasco Says:

    Epic interview! I remember that power-failure; I was moshing when it happened, and I was so pissed, but damn what happened next was cool.

    Awesome dudes in Stonekrank

  2. Anton Vukasin Says:

    Oh god, do I remember that show. David, you are not easy to hold back, and no one would give me any duct tape.

    Kick ass interview guys, I had been waiting for this one.

  3. theHoseman Says:

    Once again Eric, great interview. I always enjoy reading these as they give some good insight into what the featured artists are all about.

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