It used to be every band’s dream — sign to a major label, record a disc, and watch the money roll in. But after hearing what the Von Bondies went through on their big name label, it’s no wonder more acts are turning to indies.
“One of the main guys at Sire told us that we’re not emo enough,” says Jason Stollsteimer, the band’s lead singer. “My answer was good, I want off the label. But, it took two years to get out of our contract.”
Costly lawyers were involved, he wasn’t allowed to release anything the foursome recorded and he almost gave up music forever. “I stopped playing for a year and a half cold turkey because I was pissed,” he reveals. “What’s the point of writing songs when no one is ever going to hear them?”
To make matters worse, the singer got divorced from his wife of four years. “I realized I was not made to be at home,” he explains. “It was the best eye opener I ever had.”
After finally extracting themselves from Sire, and with Stollsteimer’s personal life in order, the band was ready to produce their follow-up to 2004’s Pawn Shoppe Heart and one of their most invigorating releases in years.
Love, Hate and Then There’s You, is a daring, in-your-face 12-song blast of amped-up garage rock. It’s loaded with soaring, singalong vocals and a screw you attitude that likely comes from all the trials and tribulations the band’s faced over the last few years.
Some fans might long for the blues-influenced tunes the Von Bondies released on their first disc, Lack of Communication, but Stollsteimer says he’s never going back to the old days.
“Blues purists won’t like this record,” he says. “We’re not playing blues. We’re not regurgitating something that happened 40 years ago. We know too much to go back.”
While they might have removed the blues from their past, one thing they can’t completely shake from their history is Stollsteimer’s bar fight with The White Stripes’ Jack White. The punch-up resulted in a heap of negative press for the Von Bondies.
Luckily, most of the backlash has faded, except with “obsessed Stripes fans and bloggers” and it’s not a big deal for Stollsteimer anymore, especially considering what else he’s had to deal with since.
“That’s so far behind me. It’s a tiny little blip in my life,” he says. “Getting divorced was way worse than that.”
Whatever life has in store for Stollsteimer going forward, he knows two thing for sure — he’ll never sign to another major again and he’ll keep playing music as long as he can.
“I own the songs right now and I control everything,” he says. “It’s not so much about money — I’d make more having a normal job — but this is my drug of choice.”