It has not escaped the notice of its home town fans that the Von Bondies haven’t played a show in the Detroit area in four years.
“Oh yeah, people are (angry),” notes frontman Jason Stollsteimer. “Honestly, I’ve gotten drunk, angry phone calls from acquaintances who should not have my cell phone number, yelling at me.
“They just don’t get it. Of course we love it here; the Detroit crowds are great. But I’d feel like I’m ripping people off. I’d feel like I’m giving the same show I’ve done for the 60 other times we’ve played in Michigan. You have to have a reason to come back — not just to do a show, you know?”
The Von Bondies come home again this weekend, however, as one of the headliners of the Detour Rock City Festival. The group comes with new music, too — four songs from an EP, “We Are Kamikazes,” that Stollsteimer and drummer Don Blum, the only original members in the band, financed themselves. An album, “Love, Hate and Then There’s You” — the long-awaited follow-up to 2004’s “Pawn Shoppe Heart” and it’s hit “C’mon C’mon” — is also in the offing now that the Von Bondies have extricated themselves from their major label deal with Sire Records and plan to announce a new affiliation “any day,” according to Stollsteimer.
“It does feel like we’re starting over,” says the singer-guitarist, who curated tonight’s Rock City Fest lineup. He adds that “it doesn’t make sense for us to be on a major. Majors are for bands that sell 500,000 to a million records. We’re happy selling 100,000; we’re proud of that. But majors aren’t.
“In a funny way, we’re veterans, but right now I feel like a kid — although my back feels like a veteran. But my head and heart and how nervous I felt getting onstage tonight feels like a kid. We definitely don’t want to give up on this.”
The Von Bondies perform at Friday (June 13) as part of the Detour Rock City Fest at the Majestic Theater, 4140 Woodward Ave., Detroit. The festival runs through Saturday (June 14) at the Majestic Theater Complex, with a Saturday lineup also at the Contemporary Art Institute of Detroit, 5141 Rosa Parks Blvd. Tickets are $20 per day, $30 for a weekend pass. For schedules and information, visit www.detour-mag.com/rockcity.
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