Interview with: Don Blum (The Von Bondies)
Location: Via Email
Could you please give us a brief band history?
This fucking band actually started as the "Baby Killers". Jason, whom I often refer to as "J. Lo" started it with Marcíe after they saw this Japanese band, Guitar Wolf, play in Pontiac, Michigan. After going through a trio of bassists and a drummer, Jason and Marcie gave me a million dollars to "fill in the gaps" on drums. The bassist quit soon after I joined this fucking band, so we asked Jason's, I mean J. Lo's brother, who runs a guitar store, who we should ax to play bass. He suggested a blonde girl named Lauren. She worked out well. By this time, we were a completely different band, so we decided to change our name to "the Von Bondies". But then Lauren left to go to school, so we asked our childhood sweetheart Carrie to join. That's all.
How was the first ever von bondies gig, when, where etc?
You know, I can't even fucking remember. I think it was probably in Detroit at the Magic Stick at a Monday-night event they used to have called "the Crow's Nest." It was over two years ago, I think. Basically, we had to set up our shit by the women's bathroom, no PA, and then play for free to a crowd of young, drunk, funny-haired "crumb-bums".
You were well recieved on your visit over here to the UK, a lot of the media interest being because you came out of Detroit at a time when the music press were trying to create another "new scene". Did that surprise you?
It made us very suspicious, because everyone knows how fickle the press can be and how hype works. But, we also knew that it afforded us a chance to reach the kinds of people out there who would truly appreciate our music. I guess it was surprising. Surprising in the way you sometimes look down at your hands and see that there's cuts all over them.
Because of this sudden attention, were you cynical of the British press at all?
I have a very low opinion of entertainment journalism. I studied journalism in school and learned entertainment journalism is just sensationalism and gossip. I don't know. Journalism in general has its failings. Fuck it all.
You appeared on Later with Jools Holland, how was that for you? Had you ever been in that kind of television studio environment when there were several bands and their equipment all set up next to each other?
Playing on Jools Holland was actually a lot of fun. Never having played on TV before, we just went in and did our thing. You know how they have all the bands "jam" on the same "groove" in the beginning of the show? That was stupid, so we didn't do it. Isn't that cool?
From what has been written in recent times about Detroit, is that a lot of bands hold a strong attatchment to the blues. Is Detroit really that inspired by it or is that just journalists being lazy and pigeon-holeing bands?
Well, rock and roll is definitely blues based. Maybe asking about blues is like asking why Nick Hornsby -- or whoever you read -- writes in English. Actually, maybe not.
'The lack of communication' has now been re-released in the UK but I understand you are well underway recording a new album. Have you been writing continually while on the road?
What can you tell us about the songs that have been recorded for the new album and who will be behind the production desk this time etc?
We recorded a bunch of stuff a while ago, but we've got a lot more songs to record now, so we'll be doing more shit soon. We don't have a producer in mind yet