Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Von Bondies -- "Lack of Communication" (2001)

Baby, I didn't mean you no harm
I just had some fun with some friends
I mean some girls in the city

If by "some friends" the singer meant "some girls," then I think we can be confident what he meant by "some fun."  Or do I have to draw you a picture?

"Lack of Communication" is a good name for this song.  But I'm guessing there's going to be a lot of communication soon between the singer and the woman he is singing to -- and that aforesaid communication will come in the form of divorce papers, or a frying pan upside the head, or perhaps both.

April 22 is an interesting date.

(I started to write "April 22 is sort of an interesting date."  What is wrong with me?  Why did I feel an urge to qualify that statement?  What am I afraid of?  That someone is going to disagree with me?  So what?)

April 22 is an interesting date when you write it "4/22" because 4 = 2 + 2 and 4 = 2 x 2.  (That still works if you're European and write it "22/4" instead of "4/22," which is an incredibly stupid way to write a date.)

It's also an interesting date because of all the interesting people who were born on that date.

Immanuel Kant
Novelist Henry Fielding, who wrote Tom Jones, was born on April 22.  So was famed philosopher Immanuel Kant.  

Two interesting Russians shared a first name and an April 22 birthday -- revolutionary leader Vladimir Lenin and  author Vladimir Nabokov (who wrote Lolita).

Also born on today's date were J. Robert Oppenheimer ("Father of the Atomic Bomb"), Green Acres star Eddie Albert, violin virtuoso Yehudi Menuhin, jazz musician Charlie Mingus, pin-up queen Bettie Page, actor Jack Nicholson, and movie director John Waters (Pink Flamingos).

If you prefer your glass half empty instead of half full, there were a number of interesting deaths on April 22 as well -- including famed photographer Ansel Adams, former president Richard Nixon, newspaper humorist Erma Bombeck, and pro footballer and Army Ranger Pat Tillman.

Porn star (and Ivory Soap
model) Marilyn Chambers
Probably the oddest April 22 fact I have for you is that the most famous porn movie star of her generation, Linda Lovelace (Deep Throat), died on that date -- while the next most famous porn star of that generation, Marilyn Chambers (Behind the Green Door), was born on that date.

I saw Deep Throat when I was a senior in college.  My "Sociology of Mass Media"  professor showed it to the class and had us fill out a questionnaire, the results of which he discussed when he testified for the defense in an obscenity prosecution of the movie.  Our class of some 30 students magically grew to about 300 students that day.

Can you imagine what would happen today if a college professor decided willy-nilly to screen hardcore pornography for his class?  It wouldn't be pretty, boys and girls.

Today I could have chosen to feature a song by Glen Campbell, Peter Frampton, or Richie Havens -- the man who opened at Woodstock.  (The first two were born on April 22, while Havens died on April 22.) 

Or I could have even featured a song by one of the stars that RCA Victor record executive Stephen Shoales (who died on April 22) recruited to that label -- that list includes Chet Atkins, Eddy Arnold, Homer and Jethro, Hank Snow, Jim Reeves, and Elvis Presley.

Jason Stollsteimer
But I picked a song by the late, great Detroit garage/indie band, the Von Bondies, whose lead vocalist, guitarist, and main songwriter was Jason Stollsteimer -- who was born on this date in 1978.  

Today's featured song is the first track on the Von Bondies' eponymous debut album, which was released in 2001.  (No, I don't know what Von Bondies means.)

No one does garage rock better than Detroiters, and the Von Bondies fit right in with all the great Detroit garage rockers -- the MC5, the Stooges, the White Stripes, the Detroit Cobras, and all the others.

White Stripes' frontman and all-round music genius Jack White was an early supporter of the Von Bondies, and he produced their debut album -- which sounds at times like the MC5 but more often sounds like the White Stripes.

The Von Bondies
According to Aaron Warshaw of Allmusic, "Jason Stollsteimer's vocals are to Jack White what Gene Vincent's were to Eddie Cochran -- cut from the same cloth, but slightly more forceful and aggressive."

White and Stollsteimer had a major falling-out a couple of years after Lack of Communication was released.  The two got into a fight at a record release party at a Detroit club one night in December 2003.

Stollsteimer ended up going to the hospital for treatment of a bloody nose and badly bruised face.  That doesn't sound took bad until you see his mugshot:

Jason Stollsteimer
White's only injuries consisted of cuts to his left hand.  So I guess it's pretty clear who kicked whose ass.

Here's what the MTV.com website had to say about the affair:

A press statement from the Von Bondies' management claims "Stollsteimer was violently attacked by Jack White of the White Stripes without warning or provocation."  It continues: "White approached Stollsteimer during the concert, physically forcing him against the speakers, and began shouting.  Stollsteimer attempted to turn his head [to] face White but refused to engage in conversation.  Visibly angered by Stollsteimer's unwillingness to argue or fight, White spat into Stollsteimer's face and punched him in the head and face repeatedly.  White then forced Stollsteimer to the ground and continued his attack until White was restrained by several crowd members."

The Von Bondies singer filed a complaint against White, who may be hit with misdemeanor assault charges.  White later filed his own complaint, insisting he fought back in self-defense after Stollsteimer threw him to the floor and began choking him.

Jack White was later charged with aggravated assault.  He pled guilty, and was sentenced to attend anger management classes.

Jack White in court
What caused the fight?  White told the judge that Stollsteimer had been bad-mouthing White in the press.  It seems that White took the sole producing credit for the Lack of Communication album when the band felt that Detroit musician/producer Jim Diamond did most of the heavy lifting.

White is one of the palest, skinniest dudes you've ever seen.  Stollsteimer must be a bigger p*ssy than I am if he got pounded by Jack White.

The Von Bondies disbanded in 2011.  Stollsteimer is currently the frontman for Hounds Below.

Here's "Lack of Communication":

Click below to buy a good live version of the song from Amazon:

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