Detroit, so good they named it once - "The Sympathetic Sounds Of Detroit" provides ample evidence of an exciting "beat-happening" brewing up in the area. The Von Bondies are just one of a host of smoking combos shaking the very sidewalks of the streets. Their debut lp for Sympathy Rekkids, "Lack Of Communication", shows they are not backward in coming foward - they ably utilise classic gtr sounds from the last four decades & smother them in their own irresistable special sauce. There are hints of gutter level 50's r&r beat sensibility, ripples of 60's garage experimentalism, plenty of 70's punk rock styling & oodles of 90's alt rock sonic tomfoolery - all wrapped in a silken gossamer purse.
They look good, they sound good & they sure are good friends with Mr Jack White. Of all the Stripes asscociated bands simmering up from the Detroit scene, The Von Bondies have the most substance. Their sheer depth of reference shows them to be fans first & foremost - which is just the way it should be.
Nick Kuntz recently braved the terrorised cyber airways of the atlantic to fly into Detroit, special forces sytle, & pull off this covert interview;
trakMARX - How did the Von Bondies come together?
Carrie and I (Jason) first met back in grade school, I say 2nd grade she says 3rd. I met Marcie freshmen year in college; we both liked the same two types of music ROCK & ROLL. Don came last... I first saw Don playing drums in a band that used to play house party's I threw. He was amazing and at the time I didn't even know how to play guitar let alone own one. Watching how exciting and energetic Don was, is one of the many reasons I started playing in the first place.
When Marcie and I first started playing we formed a band, the Baby Killers, it was horrible... we had 4 songs.. which meant our sets were each song played twice. Marcie and I couldn't even tune our own guitars. Our sound was trashy Cramps-like with the worst drumming you could imagine, eventually we decided to get rid of the drummer (which ended the life of the Baby Killers).
As Marcie and I got more connected with each other musically, we got the confidence to ask the almighty Don (who was involved with 5 bands already) to join us.. which started our band... the Von Bondies. We found an amazing bass player, Lauren Wilcox, who was willing to put in the effort to help create what we are today... Unfortunately for the Von Bondies, Lauren went off to college in New York, which left us searching for a new great talent. That is when we asked our friend Carrie to try out (who ironically enough was a guitar player for a punk band, the Fags, but was willing and more than able to learn bass) and to pick up where Lauren had left off.
trakMARX - What is yr. mission statement?
To let people know that you can express the pain and the joy of wearing your heart on your sleeve through Rock n' Roll.
trakMARX - The production on "Lack Of Communication" is awesome - the gtrs take in 50's r&r reverb, 60's garage skuzz, 70's punk energy, 80's Seattle power, 90's attention to detail & yr. own blend of skewed pop - fed up with questions alluding to Mr. White yet?
No, I just wish that people would stop "beating around the bush" and just ask us how Jack has actually helped us in the studio and through touring with the White Stripes, so that we can give credit where credit is due.
trakMARX - Were residents of Detroit surprised by the UK reaction to "Sympathetic Sounds....." ?
Yes! Besides the Von Bondies, Ko and the Knockouts and the Whirl Wind Heat, everyone else has been an internationally recognized band for over 3 years or more... but of course, everyone is happy by the UK reaction and support.
trakMARX - The rejuvenation of Sympathy Rekkids has been exciting to say the least - why do you think it came about?
Long Gone John, the owner, has a great ear for raw sound. He realized Detroit was a melting pot of talent and started an international distribution of Detroit music (from out of Long Beach, CA).
trakMARX - Many Sympathy artists appear on the Blondie tribute lp - we have a sneakin feelin there may be some moonlighting going on - can you throw any light on any of the bands as we've not heard of any of them?
Actually, I haven't heard it yet. But, I believe the Come Ons, from Detroit, are on it. The Come Ons happen to be one of the two best dance bands around, the Detroit Cobras being the other.
trakMARX - There is a soupcon of Blondie in what the Von Bondies do - are you fans of the band?
Not die hard fans, but we do enjoy a Blondie sing-a-long in the Van....
trakMARX - Whose posters are on the walls of the Von Bondies bedrooms?
Marcie: T Rex, Cramps, Clone Defects and more... Don: Any "before and after" photos that I can find... Carrie: some posters of a local band, Night Moves... Jason: a "paint by numbers" Jesus picture and an old valentine card....
trakMARX - What's in the pipeline for the Von Bondies for the rest of the year & how are plans for world domination progressing?
We are leaving for the west coast october 19th and then straight to Europe and back to detroit before x-mas. And hopefully start working on the next record by march 2002.
trakMARX - When can we expect to see the Von Bondies in the UK?
You can expect the Von Bondies the second week of November, we promise you .
Nick Kuntz - Oct 2001