If The Von Bondies' drummer Don Blum doesn't like this article, I'm going to get served when he comes to town with an all-out dance fight in the streets
By Jessica Cassyle Carr
Detroit rock ’n' roll outfit The Von Bondies met around the turn of the century, drew inspiration from Tokyo's Guitar Wolf, a punk band formed in the late '80s who dress up as '50s greasers, formed their instantaneously successful band, recorded with Jack White and put out three records, to the critics' delight. Despite their success, Don Blum says the band is basically unknown. When I disagreed with him on this point in a phone interview last week he asked that I let him hang onto his delusions. OK, Don, you just eat your cherries and play your drums.
I've never seen you guys live, but I hear you have a very minimal drum set and a really big sound. So how are you able to accomplish that?
You know, there aren't a lot of intricate, technical things going on in the drum part. I think that simple things tend to sound more powerful. But a lot of the time people don't realize that there aren't any high hat symbols and only one tom.
There are a lot of people who think that you guys do '60s and '70s rehash stuff. What do you say to that?
I think that it's really simple to play that kind of music. I don't think we are that anymore, and I don't really want to be pigeonholed, but I think that the new stuff we are writing is not as simple, but more thought out. I don't take it as an insult, though, because a lot of our stuff did sound kind of garage rock.
What's the best thing about being in The Von Bondies?
I think it's ... this will sound like a cliché, but I think it's being able to play music, do something that you can get a lot of enjoyment out of; being able to do something creative that people respond to, with your friends. I feel incredibly lucky that I am in a band where we are able to stick together and remain friends for five, six years and get where we have gotten. I can't believe it.
How do you predict the show on the 28th here is going to be?
It could go great, or end in tears, with me running off the stage. We are going to play at least half of a set of our new songs, so we are going to test them out, see how the crowd reacts to them. But we haven't played that much in the past half year, so we're really eager to. We're chomping at the bits and want to get on stage.
Chomping at the bits?
Chomping at the bits, yes, chomping the bits.
OK, so I have one more question. This is the fish stick issue, strangely enough.
The fish stick?!
Yeah, the fish stick, there's a whole article about fish sticks.
Yeah, OK, so ... I was just curious to find out your feelings on fish sticks.
When I was in elementary school, there was a hot lunch program and a lot of the time we would get fish sticks, and people would use them—kind of like how in prison people would trade cigarettes for things—the kids would trade fish sticks for other articles of food, and I just think that that's wrong.
Why is it wrong?
Because it's like ... well you know what, it's not wrong, it's great.
What's wrong with the barter system?
See, I think [about] the parallels between the prison system and how things work in there, and then the public school lunch system. But you know what? I engaged in it. I loved it.
The Von Bondies play the Launchpad Thursday, July 28, with The Dirty Novels and The Darlington Horns. The show is all-ages. Doors open at 7 p.m. Tickets are $8 and can be attained at Natural Sound or on virtuous.com.