Ex-Von Bondies Frontman Starts Over With Hounds Below
First Listen: Hear "For You And I," from Jason Stollsteimer's new band.
With the Von Bondies comfortably put to bed after 14 years and three albums, Jason Stollsteimer is ready to unleash the Hounds. The Hounds Below, that is.
Stollsteimer actually formed his current group in 2009, and the two bands co-existed until last year, when the Von Bondies officially disbanded. Now, Stollsteimer tells Billboard.com the Hounds Below "is full-time," including an album set to come out this spring, a slew of shows at the South By Southwest Music + Media Conference and an extensive European tour set to begin May 25 in London.
Song Premiere: "For You And I"
"I feel very young... like I'm starting over," says the Detroit-based Stollsteimer, noting that the Hounds Below -- which he also manages -- is his first all-male band. "It's like the first time for me all over again. The main thing is we better go out there and be good. No matter if I have a fever or a broken leg, I've got to at least roll around on the ground sneezing as fast as I can for an audience, to be entertaining. We've got to go out and bring it every night, but I feel like we can do that. I think we have a chance."
The Hounds Below has released a single ("Crawling Back to You" in 2009) and a self-titled EP in 2011, but the group has been hampered by frequent membership changes until settling into the current lineup of Stollsteimer, drummer Griffin Bastian, guitarist Skye Thrasher and bassist Jesse Shepherd-Bates. By his own count, Stollsteimer says he's experienced 11 band member "flake-outs," including a bassist who left shortly before recording sessions for the album during February in Ann Arbor.
"From the very beginning, I have zero people left in the band," Stollsteimer notes. "Sometimes it's just because we didn't get along, which happens in bands all the time. Another person is possibly too deep into drugs and they kind of disappear. Other people are in, like, 10 different bands. So we never had a chance to grow ever because it was changing so often. It's been kind of a flatline for a long time. These guys I have now...love music and they want to tour, and that's all they want."
Stollsteimer describes the nine songs slated for the album as "all over the map, really. Some of it's pretty heavy. Some has a little bit of an 80s vibe. It's like...a party now, an aggressive party. It's a good time, very story-oriented songs, kind of a little tongue-in-cheek at times, which I never really did before. I was always serious in the Von Bondies. This time we were just trying to have fun and write good songs." After going back into the studio to record another three songs, most likely for B-sides, Stollsteimer is planning to release the album on his own Intheact Records at first, selling it online and at shows and then consider any label offers that might come the group's way.
"I want to see how far we can get without the help," he explains. "A real label, a bigger one, should only sign a band if the band can thrive and succeed on its own, so I want to get us to that point."