Interview: 12 Stones
by Scott Juba
Published: August 1, 2004
Paul McCoy isn’t your typical 22-year-old musician. At an age when most people are just beginning to define their professional aspirations, McCoy has already firmly established himself in the career that he loves. With a Grammy Award already under his belt, and serving as the lead singer for the popular rock band, 12 Stones, McCoy has proven that no accomplishment is beyond his grasp. Now, after an impressive debut album that has sold over 300,000 copies, McCoy and his bandmates are preparing to issue their sophomore release, “Potter’s Field”. Arriving in stores on August 24th, the band’s second album is a reflection of their professional and personal growth. “(The band’s) grown musically overall,” McCoy tells me. “I think more so than that, we’ve grown as friends and as bandmates. We’ve had a chance to get to know each other and get to really work together rather than just being friends and working on the side every once in awhile.”
12 Stones is recognized for the strong Christian element that they include in their music, a component that McCoy traces back to his southern roots. “I grew up in a southern Baptist church,” he says. “For me, a lot of it was just a part of my upbringing, part of who I was, and who I am still.”
For those of the Christian faith, 12 Stones’ music is filled with hope and eternal optimism. At the same time, the band’s songs have a strong resonance with fans outside of the Christian spectrum as well, mainly because their lyrics often deal with collective themes that speak to all people. “Far Away”, the first single off of “Potter’s Field”, exemplifies this quality. “It was one of our more honest songs,” McCoy remarks. “When people keep pushing you and keep trying to make you be a way (that) you don’t want to be, it’s just kind of that anthem that we’ve got to be our own people. We just wanted to really come out and make a statement.”
As with any band, however, it usually takes much more than quality lyrics to draw the initial attention of new fans. 12 Stones has been able to reach an increasing number of people through many outlets, including their extensive touring schedule. Currently on the road with 3 Doors Down, Nickelback, and Puddle of Mudd, McCoy credits the band’s live shows for attracting a growing amount of supporters. “I think that if people don’t hear it, they can’t appreciate it,” he tells me. “I think the key to any band is to play as many shows in front of as many people as possible and spread the word that way.”
Although he enjoys performing at venues all across the country, McCoy cites the southern United States with having the best crowds. “(In the south) you can hear (the crowd) before you can see them,” he says. “They have that mentality of let’s just party and have a good time at all times.”
McCoy’s vocal collaboration with Amy Lee in the Evanescence smash, “Bring Me To Life” also drew attention to 12 Stones. When I ask McCoy if he plans to do any future collaborations with Evanescence, he replies, “That was a very last minute, fly by the seat of the pants collaboration. It would be cool. I love collabs. I love doing any kind of musical project I can. Anybody that’d be willing to come out and do some stuff, I’m always looking. But I think for the most part, we did that one thing, and it was very cool, and I’m very happy with it, but I’m not sure (we’ll do it) again.”
Given his working relationship with Evanescence, I ask McCoy if he was surprised by the sudden and much talked about departure of Evanescence band member, Ben Moody. “Not really,” he responds quite candidly. “It’s one of those things that musicians, no matter how well they play together, it’s still a person to person thing. If people aren’t getting along or that vibe isn’t there (it won’t work). That’s one of the hardest things to do with bands, is to keep them together. Everybody is so creative that a lot of times that creativity separates them a little bit.”
Hopefully 12 Stones will be able to channel their creativity in a positive manner, because as their latest single indicates, their artistic growth continues to blossom. Considering how talented they all are at such early ages, if they can stay together for years to come, they truly have the potential to become one of rock music’s most extraordinary bands.
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