Even the most avid Von Bondies fans found it difficult to sing along with the band on its summer tour.
"Almost all our set is new songs," frontman Jason Stollsteimer said. "So we see a whole audience of people staring at us going, 'When are they gonna play "C'mon, C'mon?" ' "
There is a light at the end of the tunnel for fans, however, as those new songs are scheduled to be recorded this fall for the follow-up to 2004's Pawn Shoppe Heart. The Bondies have already written 15 new songs and are still going strong.
"The first two records, especially the last [one], was written mainly on the road," drummer Don Blum said backstage at the San Diego Street Scene festival in late July. "But this new record, we came off of our tour in January and we all started working in a practice space, so it was kind of more focused on songwriting."
This approach has made for a process that is more collaborative on the whole.
"Don, now, is writing songs," Stollsteimer said. "He's never written songs before and he's adding a whole new aspect. I mean drummers are based around getting kids dancing, where I more worry about lyrics. So we're putting it together and writing more melodies for kids to sing along with."
Stollsteimer is, of course, writing too, directing several of his songs at young people. "I'm actually going back to when I was like 20 years old and realizing that I seriously thought I wasn't going to do anything with my life," he explained. "I'm trying to give kids the idea that there's something more [to life] than just turning 21 and [being able to] drink at a bar. It's very simple. It's not a revolution."
The Von Bondies have the songs ready for the most part — they just need to pick a producer and studio.
"We could record in Detroit, we could record anywhere," said Stollsteimer, who made headlines in 2003 for scuffling with fellow Motor City rocker Jack White (see "Jack White Pleads Guilty To Assault Charge, Must Take Anger-Management Class"). "To me, I'd like to get out. I live there year-round, so I don't want to be there when I'm recording a record, trying to get new ideas. I mean the truth is, if you don't have good songs, it doesn't matter where you record."
As for who will helm the album, the band has a few producers in mind but "if we say them now, they might not want to work with us," Stollsteimer said.
"We're trying to push ourselves more too, just to like try different things," Blum added.
"Singing in key, tuning — you know, the hard things," Stollsteimer joked.