GRAMMY-nominated group the Common Kings have returned with a new single “Stand By Me (Drew Forever)“. The song is a loving tribute to Common Kings keyboardist Drew Stoch who tragically passed away in 2020. Stoch was a multi-talented music producer and keyboardist who had brought energy and creativity to the stage in everything he did.
The guys in Common Kings sat down with The Pier to talk about the new single, how Drew’s death impacted the band, and share some incredible memories of their fallen brother.
Tell us a bit about how you guys met Drew Stoch and how he came to play keyboards for Common Kings.
We initially met Drew over the phone in 2018 before our summer tour with Rebelution and Stephen Marley. We were introduced to each other by our brother and legendary producer, Don Corleone who we were working with at the time on our One Day EP. We had told Don that we were looking for a keyboardist for our upcoming tour to compliment our style of music while at the same time was willing to push the boundaries a little and he said “I have THE guy”. Well, Drew blew us away, he exceeded all expectations. Not only did we add a whole new dimension to our live performance we didn’t know could exist. His choice of sounds, samples, and effects completely blew our minds away and Drew left everything on stage every night.
Drew tragically passed away on December, 17th 2020. Where were you when you heard the news and how has his passing impacted Common Kings?
We’ll never forget that moment. “Covid” was still in the air in some places and things were still slowly opening back up, especially in the music industry. However, we were still working in the studio chopping away at our album “Celebration” and planning for upcoming shows. Uncle Lui had been talking almost every other day with Drew about songs we were working on, and hoping to get back to touring in 2021, and then all of a sudden we didn’t hear from him for a few days. At first, we didn’t think anything of it until we received a call from our boy Veer who said he along with a few others had been trying to reach Drew as well. After a couple of days of calling and driving by his house and knocking on the door, Veer and a few other close friends broke into his house and found him in his studio slumped over in his chair. When we got the call, we were gutted, just devastated. Uncle Lui was on the road driving back from Vegas and had to pull over for a few hours to process the news. We just couldn’t believe it was real.
His impact on us transcended music, creating a bond that touched every facet of life. We shared a connection that goes beyond the stage, from sports to politics, and his absence has left an irreplaceable void. You can still hear and feel Drew in our live shows, we have his performance embedded in our show tracks. To this day, before every show we get together and say a prayer and we always end it with “Drew FOREVER”.
Can you give us a couple of your favorite memories of Drew that stick out when you think of him?
One of our favorite memories is how Drew got his nickname “Dr. Strange”. During our Marvel-loving days. we took a quiz assigning Avengers to each of us. Drew, true to his on-stage and studio magic, turned out to be “Dr. Strange.” It was so accurate that the name stuck. He was a magician when it came to manipulating sounds and sonics during our live shows which added a whole new dimension to our live performance. Drew aka “Dr. Strange”, that’s been his nickname ever since.
The new single “Stand By Me (Drew Forever)” is a tribute to Drew. Can you tell us when you guys decided to record a track for him and what was the overall vibe in the studio? How did you manage to capture his spirit in the studio?
Before Drew passed, we were making plans to fly out to Miami to start working on a new album at his studio. So in Jan of 2021 in honor of his memory, we flew out to Miami and got to work. Writing a song for Drew was automatic. We had already started a few ideas before we left for Miami. And it wasn’t till we started working on a track based around the cult classic movie “Stand By Me” that it all started to come together. The melody and lyrics just all seemed to fall effortlessly into place. There wasn’t a dry eye in the room.
What’s next for Common Kings?
Get ready for our upcoming project, the Side “B” Juice County Album. We will be releasing a series of singles starting this December, offering a different vibe from “Celebration” but one we believe is just as exceptional. Join us on another storytelling journey with the Kings in our upcoming album, “Juice County”