The Von Bondies
They've only just released their debut album and they're appearing on one of the hottest UK Tours this year with The White Stripes. The connection goes back way further than this tour though - the bands have been friends for years, Jack White signed the band to his Sympathy For The Record Industry and produced the Von Bondies debut album "Lack Of Communication". Lead singer Jason Stollsteimer reveals all about the Von Bondies, what he thinks of The White Stripes success and what he really thinks of the UK Media right now.
Q: I heard it was all a bit mad on the flight over here. How's it going so far in the UK for you?
A: It was pretty bad flight. We got through 3 wine bottles and at the end of the flight the White Stripes gave us a bottle of champagne for good luck. There wasn't enough seats on the plane for us to keep our guitars (obviously you can't put them in storage) so they gave them their own seats - so we were back in economy class and they we right up front in 1st class with their own little guitar seat belts!!!
No one in England can dance!!!! Even for the White Stripes they just stand there and seem very timid. In America if you pay what would be ten pound here - if you don't move then why would you got to the show!!!
Q: So you're on the same label back in the states. You're from Detroit - do the similarities end there?
A: We both just play old style rock and roll with no effects pedals. If you look at a band like Muse - they have about 10 effects pedals...anyone can sound good with a bunch of pedals!!! I'm not saying I'm an amazing guitarist but I don't like pedals - it takes away from what a guitar should really sound like.
Q: It's about keeping it real then?
A: I actually like hip-hop but I don't like the rock / hip-hop crossover stuff. In America its like a joke that 12 year olds listen to and since we've been to the UK i'm glad to see its seen pretty much the same way. It doesn't make any sense to me singing about the nookie or the cookie or whatever those bands sing about.
Q: Who was the big influence on you then from a musical perspective?
A: Screaming Jay Hawkins definitely. He was the first man that actually had a stage show...he'd come out on stage in a coffin...Marilyn Manson had nothing in him!!! He had this paper that would explode in a ball of fire and you've got to remember this was in the 50s.
Q: What's the atmosphere like in Detroit now the White Stripes have made it. Is there a sense that "we can do it as well" around the local music scene?
A: There's not a big scene out in detroit. When they play a gig over there maybe 500 people will come and see them. But I don't think they (The White Stripes) even realize they've made it. In America none of us have made it and this sort of exposure they've got over here won't happen for another two years over in America.
You can make it in Japan and nobody in America would ever know. You could make £1 million pounds in England and nobody in America would ever know or even care. If you don't make it in America you haven't made it!!!
Q: Detroit is in a state of poverty. Before the Von Bondies got together it must have been a bleak time for you, surely?
A: I made what would be £3 an hour in America and I started playing guitar in the last 2 years. This is what happened from it. We had no dreams of making any money and I hadn't even seen the ocean until June this year. I had no way of leaving...there was no money and when I started the band we didn't have any hopes. We were just playing to about 10 people in a basement for about a year.
Detroit is just a big empty city. You can definitely hear it and people are saying why don't you record your next album in LA...it would just be a totally different tone. Those huge beautiful buildings from the 1950s and 1960s would just be empty and the streetlights would be blacked out.
Q: In Manchester there's kind of two options for bands - the miserable Smiths styled bands or the lad culture like Oasis and The Happy Mondays. Is it like that in Detroit?
A: That's not in Detroit. Out of six people in two bands there's nothing...cigarette's and alcohol yeah...but we just can't afford drugs and even if we could its just not an option!!!
Q: "Lack Of Communication" must have quiet a difficult album to record. I believe it was inspired by a break up?
A: It was really easy because I needed to get it out. Its hard to listen to though. The girl doesn't even know I played guitar or sing - one day I'll leave it on her car window with a note saying love from Jason!!! They're not happy songs and those people who came to see the shows will be able to tell...its just hard to block it all out sometimes.
Before the band started out I was a broken person...like she totally broke my heart. It drove me to drink but I'm young enough. After we broke up I found out she got engaged 3 years after - I went to congratulate her and the fiancee and just before I left her she hugged me and said "There hasn't been a day where I haven't thought about where you were"...you've got to remember she didn't know I was in a band or anything like that...and she phoned me two days later and called off the wedding.
We started dating again but only lasted a few months because we were just different people. So there you go another break-up album!!!
"Lack Of Communication" is out now
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