The Hounds Below
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The Hounds Below

Detroit, Michigan, United States

Detroit, Michigan, United States
Band Rock Soul


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This band has not uploaded any videos



"The Hounds Below Interview: SXSW 2010"

Formed in 2009, the Hounds Below is the new project by Von Bondies frontman Jason Stollsteimer. Unlike the Von Bondies' raucous, noisy pop, the Hounds Below finds Stollsteimer experimenting with slick lounge melodies and vintage Richie Valens-era rock 'n' roll riffs. Though Stollsteimer has been to SXSW before, this will be his first year debuting his work with the Hounds Below. We recently caught up with the indie rocker-turned-crooner to get his take on the new project in anticipation of his six scheduled shows at this year's SXSW festival.

Your music career up to this point has been focused around the Von Bondies. What made you decide to start a new project?

It's been in my head for a long time. I started the Von Bondies when I was 19, and I'm 31 now--that's a long time to do one style of music. At the beginning, I started playing in the Von Bondies because I didn't know how to play guitar, I didn't know how to sing, and we were only hitting two or three notes. But over the course of ten years, I guess everyone gets a little better. Hopefully [laughs]. When I was growing up, my favorite artists were people like Roy Orbison or Otis Redding. I've been dancing around with these songs for a long time.

Would you say you're returning back to some of the influences that you had as a kid, when you were first getting into music? Who are those influences?

Yeah. In this band, it's probably Sam Cooke and Roy Orbison. My old band used to get called "garage rock" all the time, which is fine, whatever the hell that means. I have no idea. But the new band has nothing to do with '60s revival or any of that stuff. It's more soul, more actual crooning. I'd call us a crooner band. It's more in that style. I was getting sick of hearing every song out there have auto-tune. if you go listen to the Top 40 songs out there right now, they're all crazy, crazy pitch-corrected and auto-tuned. My voice may not be perfect, but it is what it is.

Do you feel like you use a different singing voice with this new band?

The funny thing is, the Von Bondies was really difficult for me to sing. I had to shout all the time. In this band, I actually get to sing--which is more relaxing, in a weird way.

Do you find it difficult to balance two different projects?

With the Von Bondies, I'm still writing and recording, but we're not touring until the Hounds Below are done touring. Basically, I hated the fact that I'd tour for eight months in the Von Bondies and then have four months of nothing. I've always wanted to do the Hounds Below, at least for the last six or seven years, and I just couldn't find the right people for the band. The Von Bondies have had like, ten members over the course of ten years, and the Hounds Below, the root members, the main people that are in the band--it's more of a group than a solo project. The Von Bondies, over the course of having ten members, has become just me. It's weird. It wasn't meant to be that way, but it just turned out that way. The average age in the Hounds Below is like 22, 23, besides me, and the Von Bondies, the average age is like 36. People want to get married, or go do their own bands, or go back to college, and over the course of ten years you're going to get a lot of that. It's just part of being in a real band--most people can't handle it. You can be the greatest drummer ever, but it doesn't mean you're going to mentally be able to handle being away from family and friends for months at a time. You sacrifice a lot.

Have you played SXSW before, with the Von Bondies?

Yeah, four times, I think. We normally do seven to nine shows. This year I think we're doing six or seven, with the new band.

Any secrets for staying sane during what can be an overwhelming week?

Pace yourself. A lot of bands nowadays, including myself. I've been wearing these Italian vintage leather boots, like rock 'n' roll boots. It's cliche, I guess, but I don't care. They fall apart. Austin is all walking around. It makes more sense to get a nice pair of comfortable shoes. I know that's not very punk rock, but screw it. It was horrible. Last year I remember walking all the way from 6th Street to Homeslice, the pizza place. We walked all the way there, and that was like two miles. I ended up hiring a rickshaw.

How did you come up with your band name? What does it mean?

I don't know. I just came up with it one day. It sounds like a punk band, the Hounds Below. It's like the dogs that come collect the souls when you die and you go to hell. I just liked the way it sounded. I was reading some random article, and a guy was describing that he was standing on a terrace and there were hounds below. I was like, "Ah, that sounded cool." And I do love dogs, so that helps.

As the Metric line goes, who would you rather be--the Beatles or the Rolling Stones?

The Rolling Stones. It just seemed like total chaos. I think that when the Beatles did something wrong, everyone scrutinized them. When the Rolling Stones did something wrong, everyone thought it was cool. They did a lot of drugs. Probably just as much as the Beatles, but with the Rolling Stones, it just added to their lore.

Andrea Swensson is a contributor from Learn how you can contribute here. - Spinner / AOL

"The Hounds Below: Bringing the Class and Style of the 60s to Modern Rock"

Blame it on the Mad Men if you want, but all of a sudden class and style are coming back into vogue in music. With acts like Mayer Hawthorne, Fitz and The Tantrums and Sharon Jones And The Dap Kings bringing 60's soul back into the groove, it’s high time that the dudes of 90026 pack away the neon nikes and tank tops and put on a fucking shirt before they pick up their dates.

Fitz And The Tantrums

I don’t think I’m alone when I say I ache for songs with style and romance and panache. Sure, I love to dance to some synthy piece of candy floss every now and then, but when I go back to my vinyl collection…when I have an actual visceral connection to a piece of music, I’m usually not thinking of waving a glow stick in the air when I’m hearing it.

I’m not saying all music has to be as classy as the sounds that came from the Brill Building.

But tricks are for kids (and MGMT, apparently) and those who hang around in what looks like their pajamas, are seriously being shown up by the style and grace of the new crop of crooners we have coming up.

When Findlay Brown saunters onstage in a sharp suit and sings heartfelt love songs, the only thing the thing the dirty hipster to my left is gonna be pulling that evening is the un-tied laces on his dunks.

Findlay Brown

It’s very subtle, the power of suggestion. Just a phrase, a stride, a note, it can all really color your view, your mood, your opinion. That’s what music does. For instance, Findlay’s songs give off the air of a scotch and soda…or something in a high ball glass. You get the feeling that your going to be taken out and treated well. The white wall tires have been armoralled and that a steakhouse is involved. There’s a commitment there. There’s an intention. There’s thought and feeling and carbonation.

The other guy? Red bull and vodka guy? I’d probably end up having to take a cab home after he puked on my shoes.

Class. It works.

Enter The Hounds Below. A new outfit headed by Von Bondies frontman Jason Stollsteimer, the young, good looking band is another throwback to roadhouse rock and roll with Roy Orbison warbles.

The Hounds Below

At first it might seem strange that Mister VB would choose this as his next musical adventure, but if you think of his vocal quality and then think of Orbison in ‘Crying’, added with Stollsteimer’s Detroit Rock City roots, it makes perfect fucking sense.

A quick moving set at Spaceland last night, only their 16th live show ever, showed enormous promise.

In Silverlake, the land of apathy and uber cool, The Hounds had people toe tapping, twisting and dare I say, jitterbugging.You have no idea how much this means. I don’t think Jason realizes how much this meant. In other parts of the country, when a band plays good music, I’m pretty sure the people in the audience dance. In industry laden, hipster haunts in LA, it isn’t often so. To see what might of been a lindy hop (?) styled couples dance going on tickled me and I felt the need to explain this to the band. “You are making an impact. You are warming the cockles. Cockles are being warmed. Encore!”

I tried to beam a Blue Velvet styled Bat signal out to David Lynch, who seems comfortable doing the weather report currently, but when he gets a hold of this EP, he will undoubtedly be inspired to write and direct another twisted highway tale of love and immorality. I think he has his bar band cast.

Two cool and unexpected covers layered into the set were a lilting Wall Of Sound styled version of the Pixies ‘Where Is My Mind’ and The Animals’ hit ‘We Gotta Get Out Of This Place’.

Stand out tracks to get you in the righteous twangy mood such as ‘Crawling Back To You” and the stomper ‘She’s Alchemy’ can be found on their Myspace site.

I highly recommend taking in their set. It will take you back to another era, one where the boys dance with the girls and people say what they mean and mean what they say.

Okay, maybe that does sound like an alternate universe. Someone put a call into David Lynch.

The Hounds Below are currently opening for Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and will be showcasing at SXSW. For dates, visit:
- Ali on the Air

"The Hounds Below - SXSW 2010 Live Review"

The Hounds Below have only been together for 5 months but they are already rocking out at SXSW 2010. This new band was formed by Jason Stollsteimer, the lead singer of The Von Bondies. The six-piece band calls Detroit home and cites Roy Orbison as their main influence.

The band has seven performances planned for SXSW 2010 and I caught up with The Hounds below before their show at the Creekside Lounge on E. 7th. The Hounds Below create a unique sound by mixing Jason’s stellar voice with roaring guitars and adding in keys, trombone and tambourine. keys. I was very impressed with the band’s set and hope to catch them again before the week is over.

The band played several originals but I was was blown away by The Hounds Below cover of The Pixies’ “Where Is My Mind?” – this video is exclusive content found only on


"Ten Years After"

The 'perennially vilified' Jason Stollsteimer discusses his new Detroit 'supergroup,' life in the city, and the future of the Von Bondies.

By Amy Elliott

"Hey, Mom? I love you, Mom — but ... I'm in an interview right now. Can I call you back?"

Jason Stollsteimer adores this Thai place in downtown Plymouth — Little Bangkok Cuisine on Forest Avenue — where he orders the same meal (pad see ew) at least once a week. The kitchen staff, obviously endeared by him — they bring him a tall glass of Coke and his lunch without taking an order — have even taught him how to make the sauce at home (the secret? lots of brown sugar).

"My mom said, 'Haven't you done enough interviews?' I said, 'Yeah, Mom. Probably. ...'"

But now that Stollsteimer heads up the star-spangled, six-piece, Detroit "supergroup" known as the Hounds Below, the conversation has slightly changed. Yes, the Von Bondies are still the Von Bondies; Stollsteimer, their perennially vilified lead singer, is still vilified. But the Hounds Below — featuring a dark, worn sound that two-steps across the line between Elvis and Win Butler and is punctuated by sweet organs and scorching desert-sky guitar solos — present a brand-new opportunity for Stollsteimer to get his cred back.

"I totally haven't earned my right to be a musician in Michigan," he says, tongue totally in cheek. "But I have everywhere else in the world."

His time may have come, however, with this new unit that features the unbeatable team of such local professionals behind him as guitarists Ben Collins (Lightning Love) and Sean Lynch (800beloved), bassist Molly Jean Schoen (the Decks), drummer Brandon McDonald (Solar Temple Cult, Ghost City) and a still-to-be-determined keyboard spot originally filled by Jeremy Freer (the Juliets). Jason Croff filled in on keys during their early November performance at the Majestic Café — but the verdict is still out as to whether the multi-talented and multi-ensembled Croff will join the band for good.

When the singer-songwriter-guitarist first approached his dream lineup to play in the Hounds, "I thought they'd all say no," he says. "But they all said yes! So I told them two things: I promise we'll tour Europe during the first year. And that for that first year, no one will make a dollar, including me."

Following early December tour stops in Chicago and Champaign, Ill., the Hounds played a free 7-inch release show at the Park Bar. Of course, that low cost of nothing attitude is basically part of the new order of the music business. And it's a major aspect of Stollsteimer's approach to the new band, which will release a full-length album and tour widely in 2010, with gigs in Europe and possible studio time in London.

"I'll pay for the first year," he promises. "We'll lose money but build something at the same time."

The Hounds are also set to play the South By Southwest music festival in Austin this March. Stollsteimer promises that "we'll be the only band like us there unless Roy Orbison suddenly shows up from the grave."

That's a reference to the band's rollicking, Ray-Ban-clad sound, which has been built to showcase the singer's quavering pipes as well as the lush architecture of the songs. It's a radical departure from the high-voltage, troubled-youth anthems of the Von Bondies.

"Nobody sings anymore," he complains. "It's all about volume. Our songs are quiet enough that you can hear all the instruments. Our organist might be hitting four notes, but there are parts where it's just him, and it's beautiful. It's not about having your moment to shine — it's about making the song shine.

"It's fun," he continues. "There's no stress. The only people who put any pressure on us, I heard, are the [local] bloggers. And so I won't read the blogs."

Meanwhile, the Von Bondies are still cropping up in unexpected places — benefit shows for autism and the homeless in Columbus and Toronto; a shout-out as proof positive of the city's creative culture in a McCann Erickson "Selling Detroit" ad campaign; and at a big New Year's Eve bash at the Dearborn Hyatt next week, with an all-local line-up presented by 89X.

Rumors circled all year that the Von Bondies were done playing shows in Detroit, but Stollsteimer says that's just not true.

"I said we weren't playing any shows in 2009," he explains. But 2010 is a brand-new year, and the Von Bondies don't hit the stage until midnight.

The new year will also mark a decade of the Von Bondies; in 2000, the fledgling band played a New Year's Eve show at the Magic Stick, where they were spotted and signed by Sympathy for the Record Industry's Long Gone John, the same guy who gave the White Stripes one of their early big breaks.

"We played for free, between the staircase and the men's bathroom," Stollsteimer remembers. "We brought our own PA. And that's how we signed our first record. [Long Gone John] didn't even know there were any girls in the band because the crowd in front of him was so tall and we had no stage. You couldn't see anything — just my face. And my face is not a good selling point for any band," he laughs.

Next year, expect a new full-length that plays up the rawer side of the Von Bondies' sound, with a supporting tour starting in May.

"It's not going to be slick," he promises. He's already written most of the material for the new album and plans to finish recording between now and May, in between writing, recording and tour-planning for the Hounds Below.

An impulsive and prolific songwriter, Stollsteimer is often working on four or more songs at a time. His inherent creative urge gives the Von Bondies continued momentum, despite turmoil, turnover and an ongoing struggle for local respect. Even if (or when) longtime Von Bondies drummer and close creative partner Don Blum takes leave — he's 37, so that could happen sooner rather than later — his musical comrade says he'll still keep the Von Bondies alive.

"It's not gonna stop me," he says. "It will be hurtful for both of us, but I'll just keep writing songs."

Friends and haters alike have long wondered why Jason Stollsteimer still lives in Detroit. Wouldn't it be easier to leave a scene that resents him and just start fresh somewhere else? But he says he just bought a house in Ferndale and has made a commitment, at least in real estate, to stay put. Plus, he sees no reason to leave.

"I love my family," he says. "I can live anywhere. If I do [the Von Bondies], though, there's no reason for me to move. I know I can find musicians anywhere, but ... I like Michigan. I guess that doesn't mean that people who live in Michigan like me, though."

In a recent Pure Michigan campaign rolled out in mid-November — in which an assortment of local luminaries, such as Mitch Albom and the Detroit Derby Girls wreck viewers' ears with the sweet sounds of Michigan — Stollsteimer appears on the stage at the Fox Theatre, cracking open a Michigan-made microbrew.

"It's funny, because I don't even drink beer," he says. "[But] it was a great honor."

Stollsteimer doesn't think anyone in Michigan still sees him as the torchbearer of Detroit's early-aughts garage revival — "Maybe outside of Michigan," he says, "but not here" — but that doesn't worry him. His eyes are on a different prize ... and that's not fame, outrageous fortune or flag-bearer status.

He just wants to be a stranger at home — "to be able to go out, do what I want, and not get judged" — and then spend his free time traveling the globe.

"Some people save up for putting a pool in the backyard, or buying a great new car," he says. "My car is the world."

But just for the record: he has never had better pad see ew, even in Southeast Asia, than he has at Little Bangkok Cuisine. And even when he moves to Ferndale, "I'll still be here once a week."

- Metro Times

"The Hounds Below at Spaceland: Photos, Video, and Show Review"

The Hounds Below at Spaceland – Photos, Video and Show Review
When I first received the press release for The Hounds Below, I immediately took a look at it considering it was Jason Stollsteimer’s (frontman of The Von Bondies) new project. I’ve always been a fan of The Von Bondies and their edgy indie rock sound that many bands have tried to emulate. While listening to The Hounds Below, I found myself pleasantly surprised with their refreshing sound. Totally opposite of The Von Bondies,

The Hounds Below resurrect all the delectable sounds from rock ‘n roll’s glory days. From Buddy Holly to Elvis, these Detroit natives spark some sweet nostalgia with their catchy melodic tunes that they smoothly fuse together with their hip indie-pop stylings.

Led by Stollsteimer, with his alluring vocal charm, the band becomes a stellar collective with members Ben Collins on lead guitar, who by the way fuckin’ rips, the lovely Molly Jean Schoen on the bass who can roll out the groovy bass lines while looking absolutely stunning, all the while drummer Ben Luckett busts out the cool drum beats that will get your head bobbing and feet stamping across the dance floor. The band is also joined by friends on the organ, giving The Hounds Below even more of that classic early rock sound.

With only a few songs to their name, The Hounds Below played a short and sweet set at Spaceland this past Tuesday, March 2, 2010. Whether getting us riled up in a booty shakin’ dance frenzy with “Two Step” or clutching our hearts with the bittersweet beauty that is “Crawling Back To You,” the band also performed two awesome covers of “Where Is My Mind” by The Pixies and “We Gotta Get out of This Place” by The Animals. Although quite a brief performance, this is one tease I thoroughly enjoyed. The Hounds Below left us with an insane craving for more!

Stay tuned for their debut album and download some free tunes here!

Words: Sandy B.
- Grimy Goods


"Crawling Back to You" b/w "Two Step"
7" single released on ITA records



Formed by lead singer, Jason Stollsteimer in the fall of 2009, the Hounds Below are based in Detroit, MI. With Ben Collins on lead guitar, Ben Luckett on drums, and Molly Jean Schoen on bass, the band is also accompanied by a rotating cast of friends on keyboards, horns, and strings.

They released their first single in the winter of 2009, promoting it with a notable performance on Chicago's independent music show, JBTV. A west coast tour soon followed, including shows with Miranda Lee Richards, Visqueen, and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. In March, they performed at SXSW 2010, including a headlining slot at the 6 Stages Over Texas fest.

Currently, the Hounds Below are busy recording their first full-length album and are planning an east coast tour for August, 2010.