Exclusive: 12 Stones to Release New Album This August
Hard rockers 12 Stones are set to release Only Human (Executive Music), their fourth full-length, on August 23. The album comes four years after 2007′s Anthem for the Underdog (Wind-up) and follows up last year’s EP The Only Easy Day Was Yesterday. Since forming in 2002, the band’s aggressive sound has earned them at least five WWE theme songs, including “Broken” and “We Are One,” as well as spots on soundtracks for movies like The Scorpion King and Never Back Down. And the band has followed, grabbing themselves multiple GMA Dove award nominations since forming over a decade ago.
Listen for the new single, which will hit radio in late June. For now, McCoy fills us in on the album’s progress, his stance on Christian rock, and what it’s like to be a Navy SEAL for a day.
REVOLVER How’s it going in the studio?
PAUL McCOY It’s going great! We’re finishing some stuff up now. We’re doing some last-minute vocals, some guitar stuff. We’re in the last week of it.
What can fans expect from the new album?
One of the things that I love about this record is that there are so many different things. We’ve got some songs that are really heavy and then some really nice songs that have a full orchestra behind them. There’s a lot of variety on this record. Those 12 Stones fans that like the heavy stuff, we’ve got something for them. And the 12 Stones people who like “Lie to Me” and stuff like that, we’ve got plenty of songs in there for them as well. This album’s our most mature for sure.
Rumors suggest that you had enough material for a full-length last year. Why did you release an EP instead?
It wasn’t our decision. We were with Wind-up at the time. They wanted a five song EP, and we did what they told us to do. When we came in to do this record we’re working on now, we showed up with over 40 songs that were pretty close to recordable. So we picked from that and wrote some more stuff when we got here to Nashville, Tennessee. I think we have a great record because of it.
Some of your older songs have been used in the WWE. Are you a wrestling fan?
I watched wrestling a lot when I was younger, but lately I don’t watch too much of it. We got to meet a bunch of wrestlers. We met the Nexus guys and John Cena when they came to New Orleans. We sat ring-side. It was really cool. I enjoy the fact that a lot of people who are really into wrestling become 12 Stones fans because our songs are used.
You won a Grammy for your personal work on the Evanescence song “Bring Me to Life.” Is that a goal for the entire band?
Absolutely. I would love to go to the Grammys and get an award with all these guys. These are guys who have been putting in blood, sweat, and tears right next to me for ten years. The thing I did with Evanescence was great, but it was done in a couple hours for me. When it’s your band doing the same thing? When that’s rewarded, that’s got to be one of the best feelings ever. But as an award winner, I’m actually able to vote for the Grammys, so that’s pretty cool.
If all that wasn’t enough recognition, you guys were also nominated for Christian music GMA Dove awards earlier in your career. Does religion still play a big role in your writing?
It plays somewhat of a role. It’s tough for me because we’re not a Christian band. We get played on Christian radio and sold in Christian bookstores because for some reason everyone latches on to the lyrics in a religious context. That’s great, but it gets bad when they get mad at you for something like having a picture with a beer in your hand. Being or not being Christian shouldn’t matter. If you hire a plumber, and he does great work, but he’s not a Christian plumber, are you not going to hire him anymore? Now that you know we’re not a Christian band, does everything you heard and all the meaning of our music for you just go away? I don’t understand how that works.
Have you kept up with any of the members of Evanescence?
By way of Facebook I talk to [former Evanescence guitarist] Ben Moody and a couple of those guys. The strange thing about all that is none of us really knew each other. We were on the same label, and it was one of those, “Yeah, awesome, I’d love to be on another record.” We honestly at the time had no idea it was going to do what it did. It was just one of those things where I flew in and tracked for a couple hours. Then I had to fly out at 5 in the morning to go back to Texas and start a tour with 12 Stones opening for Sevendust.
Speaking of tours, what are your plans for the coming months?
At the end of June, we’re actually going to Japan to play for the troops overseas. We’re playing a show on July 4 in a military base in Japan. So we’re super stoked about that. We’re very big supporters of the troops and the families of the troops.
What’s your most memorable moment from performing for military?
When we were working on the last record, we went out and played a free concert for the U.S. Navy SEALs out near San Diego. They walked us through their daily routine, and we actually got to take one of the rafts they use for training. We got to paddle it out in the ocean with a Navy SEAL. For training, you have to paddle out in the boat and get past where the waves are breaking, then turn around and come back in. They said that eight out of 10 rookie SEALs flip their boat the first time they try. A bunch of fat, tattooed rock guys went out there and kept the boat right side up and road the wave all the way into the beach. But I got embarrassed on the obstacle course, obviously.
Interview by Cody Thomas / Photo by Mark Anthony Jeffries