Come one, come all! Today marks a special occasion. Over the past two months I announced details about my second book. Now for the first time ever you can catch an actual sneak peek at the project!
As you may recall the book features articles I wrote based off my interviews with various musicians in the pop/rock/indie/alternative genres. This sneak peek preview spotlights near 20-year music veteran Jason Stollsteimer.
The following excerpt captures the beginning to the Jason Stollsteimer selection.
Music fans will likely recognize Jason Stollsteimer for the alternative rock band The Von Bondies. His experiences with The Von Bondies provided much to talk about, from starting the band and the band’s first international tour to lessons learned from dealing with management and why The Von Bondies ended. Since departing from The Von Bondies Stollsteimer stayed in the music scene, first starting The Hounds Below and most recently PONYSHOW. In January 2012 I spoke to Stollsteimer about The Hounds Below. Three plus years later in March 2015 specifically for this book I spoke to Stollsteimer again, focusing our conversation on his overall music career.
With The Von Bondies vocalist and guitarist Jason Stollsteimer lived what probably every musician wishes to and then walked away. That wish: make a living playing music. Through speaking to Stollsteimer certain factors emerged which he deems more important than a band’s financial viability. Factors such as authenticity and enjoyment, sentiments he rekindled by first starting The Hounds Below and later his current band PONYSHOW. Points too emphasized during our 45-minute phone conversation.
Becoming a Musician
Some might say Jason Stollsteimer entered the music scene late. He started his first band The Von Bondies after high school at age 19. Stollsteimer explained the circumstances. “I was working in a cubicle and I was miserable. The reason I was miserable because I didn’t know of anything else.”
Starting a band did not seem a saving grace, at least initially. “Being in a band seemed like a horrible idea. All my friends were in bands and they were miserable so I didn’t see how that was a better option.”
Horrible idea or not Stollsteimer pursued his musical venture. Thinking back he reflected on why he perhaps enjoyed a better experience than his miserable friends. “A lot of my friends were in bands that were particularly imitating their idols. They weren’t saying anything. They were just figuring out new ways to invent their favorite Nirvana song with their own lyrics.”
While others did their best Nirvana imitations Jason Stollsteimer used songwriting as a therapeutic opportunity. “Like I was saying, I was miserable… So when I started my first band it just word for word what was going on in my life. I wasn’t singing songs of sci-fi or future robot armies or something.” Rather, “It’s how I vented life’s frustrations was through songs.”
Frustrations Turn into Fun
Utilizing songwriting as a therapeutic platform led frustrations turning into fun. Time and time again during our dialogue Stollsteimer brought up that word “fun,” beginning with discussing his first tour to Europe with The Von Bondies. Stollsteimer recalled, “Some of the shows were full. Some of them weren’t. We played with The Hives. We played with The White Stripes.” The Hives especially left an impression on Stollsteimer. “Seeing that band made me realize how much fun they had every night. Maybe that’s the Swedish way but I’ve never seen an American band put on a show consistently that new and fresh every night.”
A little later during our conversation I commented how Stollsteimer’s passion to perform live stood out to me the first time I spoke to him in 2012. This left Stollsteimer emphasizing fun again. “In my own experience (a band) should play the smallest place possible no matter the sound because to be honest with you, nobody knows any of your songs when you first start. Just play as hard as you can and have as much fun as you can and people will see it.”
Those not enjoying themselves, Stollsteimer gave harsh but well intended advice.
- Billy Jack Skillet (Lucid Grey)
- Jake Nielsen
- Stacey Randol
- Eric Halborg (The Swayback)
- Dave Erickson (Summertime Dropouts)
- Todd Wilkinson and Chuck Doom (Team Sleep)
- Chris Hendricks
- Andrew WK
- Maddy Walsh (The Blind Spots)
- Steve Mackin (Mulu Lizi)
- Mike Hill (Tombs)
- Jesse Magee (Leftstronger)