The Von Bondies

The Von Bondies

Infobox musical artist
Name = The Von Bondies

Background = group_or_band
Origin = Detroit, Michigan, USA
Genre = Alternative rock
Garage rock revival
Punk blues
Indie rock
Years_active = 2000–present
Label = Majordomo Records
Sire Records
Sympathy for the Record Industry
Dim Mak Records
Intheact Records
Alias = The Baby Killers
Associated_acts = Jason and The Hounds Below, Jerry Harrison, Butch Walker, Jack White
Current_members = Jason Stollsteimer Don Blum Leann Banks Christy Hunt

The Von Bondies are an American alternative rock band, whose current line-up is composed of Jason Stollsteimer on vocals and lead guitar, Christy Hunt on rhythm guitar, Leann Banks on bass guitar and Don Blum on drums. Their brand of rock has been compared to bands such as The Pixies, The Gun Club and Mudhoney.Fact|date=September 2008

The original line-up formed at the 1997 Cramps/Guitar Wolf show by Stollsteimer and Marcie Bolen.Fact|date=September 2008 They went through a variety of names, including The Baby Killers. They also had many member changes before settling on the band name The Von Bondies in 2000. Blum joined the band around 1999 after attending numerous Baby Killers shows, while Leann Banks was picked via an audition. The Von Bondies got their break by playing a New Years Eve show in Detroit, Michigan in 2000. In attendance at the show was Long Gone John label owner of Sympathy for the Record Industry. Which led to Sympathy releasing the band's debut album Lack of Communication in 2001.

In March of 2004, the band released their sophomore album and major label debut Pawn Shoppe Heart on Sire records. The album reached a peak of #36 in the UK and #197 in the Billboard 200.Fact|date=September 2008

The Von Bondies have completed 6 headlining tours of the United Kingdom/Europe, two of Australia, and ten of the United States. For those tours the band brought along opening acts such as The Kills, Kasabian, Franz Ferdinand, Modey Lemon, SSM, The Subways, The Stills, and The Donnas.Fact|date=September 2008 They have also appeared on "Late Show with David Letterman", "Last Call with Carson Daly" and "CD:UK".Fact|date=September 2008 The Von Bondies released "Raw and Rare", a live album, through Dimmak Records in 2003. They released "Pawn Shoppe Heart" through Sire Records in February 2004 to positive reviews. It was produced by Jerry Harrison of Talking Heads and co-produced by Jason Stollsteimer. They released the song "Cmon Cmon" as their first single and the song shot to popularity in summer 2004.

A shortened version of "Cmon Cmon" is the theme song to the TV series "Rescue Me" and is performed live by the band in Michael Winterbottom's film "9 Songs".


Early days

In 2000 Jason Stollsteimer attended a concert by Japanese garage punk band Guitar Wolf. At the time, Stollsteimer was working a job as a bowling alley bartender. The performance spurred him to create his own band, The Baby Killers, who toured with fellow Detroit bands The Detroit Cobras, The Go and The White Stripes. After recruiting Lauren Wilcox on bass, Marcie Bolen on rhythm guitar and Don Blum on drums the band changed their name to The Von Bondies.

While playing a handful of shows in the Detroit area, the quartet recorded singles "It Came From Japan", an ode to Guitar Wolf, and "Nite Train". Jim Diamond produced the Von Bondies' debut album, "Lack of Communication", in late 2001. [cite web|url=|title=Welcome Back|] It was recorded in only three days.Fact|date=September 2008

Lack of Communication (2001-2002)

Lack of Communication is the first album by garage rock revival band The Von Bondies, released in 2001 by Sympathy for the Record Industry, and released in the UK by Sweet Nothing Records. Much darker than subsequent directions undertaken by the band, the album was said at the time to have been produced by Jack White of The White Stripes. However, since a highly-publicized altercation between Stollsteimer and White, the band now says that Jim Diamond was the album's producer. In addition to Detroit garage rock, the album also displayed other influences, such as the jazzy showtune-esque song "No Sugar Mama." The tracks "Shallow Grave" and "Nite Train" both display surf rock passages, amidst their heavy pummeling and lyrical morbidity. "Cass and Henry" is a sparse, almost spoken word narrative of a nocturnal encounter with a tall stranger. "In the Act" and "Sound of Terror" contain droning slide guitar and considerably slow tempos. On the last track, after a silence following the song Rock 'n' Roll Nurse, there's a hidden bonus track: a cover of Sam Cooke's Bring It On Home to Me, with Marcie Bolen on lead vocals.

Amid the national and international focus on Detroit's garage rock scene, the Von Bondies emerged with this very strong full-length debut. Lack of Communication succeeds, like much of Detroit's garage rock scene, by sounding reminiscent of bands of the past -- in this case, the MC5 and Gun Club -- while still standing on its own merit. The album must also contend with the huge shadow of Jack White (White Stripes), who had not only become a high-profile figurehead for the Detroit garage rock revival, but took the Von Bondies out on their for US tour. That said, Jason Stollsteimer's vocals are to Jack White what Gene Vincent's were to Eddie Cochran: cut from the same cloth, but slightly more forceful and aggressive (the analogy is all-around high praise, yet still surprisingly appropriate). The album is also full of the sort of distorted-guitar hooks and heart-on-the-sleeve tales of relationships in the dirty city ("Cass & Henry," "No Sugar Mama") that will be endearing and expected by fans of the Detroit garage rock revival. As such, the band pushes the mold just enough to avoid pure derivation: the four-piece setup allows for more interesting interplay than the de rigueur striped-down blues setup; Marcie Bolen and Carrie Smith are given many opportunities for shared vocal duties (the chorus of "Going Down" in particular stands out); and Don Blum's drumming somehow swings while playing what is essentially forceful, straight-ahead rock. Furthermore, as a final, hidden track, Bolen takes lead vocals on a well-executed cover of Sam Cooke's "Bring It on Home to Me." Beginning with the prominent, opening title track, the Von Bondies don't so much smolder on Lack of Communication as they do burn, and, in the process, nimbly straddle the line between being fresh and familiar.

Pawn Shoppe Heart (2003-2005)

Pawn Shoppe Heart was the major label debut album from The Von Bondies, the Detroit-based quartet whose provocative persona, unerring instincts and alluring approach to the essentials of great modern music have elevated their status as one of today's most influential and innovative young bands after just one independent release.

Twelve potent and persuasive original songs comprise their Sire/Reprise Records debut release, produced by Jerry Harrison of Talking Heads and Modern Lovers renown and convincingly underscoring their place among the cultural cognoscenti. The UK immediately embraced The Von Bondies, where the notoriously finicky N.M.E. described them as "Representing the perfect thrift store-clad antidote to tearily solipsistic emo, boneheaded MTV mope-rock and sexless indie warbling. The band exhilaratingly recasts the last 40 years of American music into one immaculately chelsea-booted whole."

Sire Records, the pioneering alternative imprint, was the natural choice for The Von Bondies big label debut, although Jason admits that he was initially reticent about the move to a major. "Credibility is important to us," he asserts. "We've got to keep close to the people who come to see our shows night after night."

The group relocated to a San Francisco recording studio in early 2002 with producer Jerry Harrison to begin work on the record. "We were really insistent about finding our own sound," Jason recounts. "We were never happy with our first record. It's always been a challenge to capture the power of our live show but I think we've come a lot closer this time."

"As far as the new songs are concerned," he continues, "I'm pleased with the direction they've taken. We'd been playing most of them live for over a year, so we knew what we could do with them. But at the same time, we were determined to stretch as far as we could. I even wrote some new material during the sessions that ended up on the record. Early on, I think we started out pretty much as a live band, but we're more well-rounded now. We've learned to channel our energy and to encourage our own evolution."

The result is Pawn Shoppe Heart: Full-on, guitar-overdriven, real rock 'n' roll, straight from the heart and totally committed. From the opening notes of "No Regrets" to such key cuts as "C'Mon, C'Mon," (the album's first single and video), "The Fever" and the title track, Pawn Shoppe Heart is, purely and simply, what rock 'n' roll is really all about.

Broken ties

On the evening of December 13, 2003, an altercation occurred between Stollsteimer and the White Stripes frontman Jack White during the record release party for the band Blanche at a Detroit music club. Stollsteimer was treated for injuries at Detroit Receiving Hospital. On March 9, 2004, White pled guilty to an assault and battery charge, and was required to attend anger management classes and pay a fine. [cite web|url=|title=Jack White Pleads Guilty to Assault Charge|]


The Von Bondies have finished recording their new album. It will be called 'Love, Hate and Then There's You' [cite web|url=|title=The Von Bondies Sign To Majordomo|] and will be released on February 3, 2009. They are currently touring in anticipation of their album, and in the meantime will release a limited-edition 7-inch single of "Pale Bride" from the forthcoming album, backed with the non-album song "Falling In Love [cite web|url=|title=The Von Bondies Sign To Majordomo|] "


*Jason Stollsteimer: Vocals and guitar
*Leann Banks: Bass guitar and vocals
*Christy Hunt: Guitar and vocals
*Don Blum: Drums and percussion

Past members

*Lauren Wilcox: Bass guitar (2001)
*Carrie Ann Smith: Bass guitar and vocals, (2001-2004)
*Yasmine Smith: Bass guitar and vocals, touring member (2004-2006)
*Marcie Bolen: Guitar, (2001-2006)
*Alicia Gbur: Guitar, keyboards, vocals, touring member (November 2007-March 2008)
*Matt Lannoo: Guitar, touring member (November 2007-March 2008)



*"Lack of Communication" (Sympathy For The Record Industry, 2001)
*"Raw and Rare" (Intheact Records/Dim Mak Records, 2003)
*"Pawn Shoppe Heart" (Sire Records, 2004)
*"Love, Hate, and Then There's You" (Majordomo Records, 2009)


*"We Are Kamikazes" (Intheact Records, 2008)


*Nite Train 7" (D wreckED hiT Records, 2000)
*It Came From Japan 7" (Sympathy For The Record Industry, 2001)
*It Came From Japan CD Single (Sweet Nothing, 2002)
*Tell Me What You See 7" (Must Destroy Music, 2002)
*C'mon C'mon 7" (WEA international, 2004)
*C'mon C'mon CD Single (WEA International, 2004)
*Tell Me What You See CD Single Part 1 (WEA International, 2004)
*Tell Me What You See CD Single Part 2 (WEA International, 2004)
*Tell Me What You See 7" (Sire Records, 2004)
*Pale Bride 7" (Majordomo Records, 2008)


*Sympathetic Sounds Of Detroit LP/CD (Sympathy For The Record Industry, 2001, SFTRI 623)
*X-Mas Surprise Package Volume 4 7" (Flying Bomb Records, 2001, FLB-118)
*New Blood - The New Rock N Roll Vol 2 CD (Artrocker, 2002, RRR 33003)
*X-Ray CD01 (Swinstead Publishing Limited, 2002, CD01)
*Rough Trade Shops Rock And Roll 2xCD (Mute, 2002, CDStumm 212)
*The New Rock Revolution CD (NME Magazine, 2002, NME CD 02-?)
*Dim Mak 2003 Sampler CD (Dim Mak, 2003, DM 045)
*X-Mas Surprise Package (The Collector's Edition) CD (Flying Bomb Records, 2002, FLB-122)
*Smash Music Sampler CD (Smash Music, 2004, smash 008)
*Sympathy For The Download 00 CD (Record Collection Music, 2004)
*House of Wax Soundtrack (Maverick Records, 2005)
*Rescue Me Soundtrack (Nettwerk Records, 2006)
*Lost Boys: The Tribe Soundtrack (Adrenaline Records, 2008)


Music Videos:
* [ It Came From Japan]
* [ C'mon C'mon]
* [ Tell Me What You See]

DVDs featuring the Von Bondies:
* 9 Songs - Features a live performance of "C'mon C'mon" as one of the nine songs. (2004)
* In Her Shoes - Features the song "C'mon C'mon" (2005)
* Later With Jools Holland - Louder - Features a live performance of "Lack of Communication".


External links

* [ The Von Bondies Website]
* [ The Von Bondies on]
* [ Live photos of the Von Bondies]
* [ Interview with The Von Bondies, The Scenestar, Jan. 2008]
* [ Interview with Jason & Alicia from The Von Bondies, NYC Feb 2008]

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