The heady blend of knuckle-dragging garage rock and greasy soul on the Von Bondies’ third album, Pawn Shoppe Heart (Sire), would be enough to make any band’s name. Alas, the Detroit foursome is waaay more notorious for the dustup frontman Jason Stollsteimer had with much bigger White Stripe Jack White last December at a Motor City club, an encounter which left Stollsteimer looking pretty tore up – and White facing an assault rap (he pleaded not guilty). Figuring that the quartet needed to unwind from their recent trip to the three-ring media circus, L2T graciously invited them to the Rio Grand, on the ground floor of a Howard Johnson in New York, for a few drinks. And we were right – the drinks were few… – Gabe Soria
ROUND 1 Surprise, L2T!
CARRIE SMITH (bass), red wine We are all lightweights and we cannot do five rounds. I’m going to tell you that straight up.
MARCIE BOLAN (guitar), raspberry margarita I haven’t eaten much today, so this little bit is affecting me already.
DON BLUM (drums), shot of tequila Jason could never do five rounds.
JASON STOLLSTEIMER (vocals and guitar), strawberry daiquiri One drink and I’m all right. For every round that I don’t drink, Don will drink the extra drink.
ROUND 2 Surprise back, Von Bondies! [To kill time with the lightweights, L2T seizes an opportunity to show the band their illustrated portrait in that week’s New Yorker.]
CARRIE, red wine Our parents are going to be so happy!
JASON, nursing his strawberry daiquiri from round 1 [To Carrie] You’re holding a bass! They got the person right for once.
DON, shot of tequila I’m wearing a tie!
[Having avoided the subject of White all night, alarm sets in for Stollsteimer when he sees his beaten-up, cartoon image.] JASON Do I have a bandage over my nose and a black eye? Wow. They had to not class it up.
L2T, blue margarita How long do you think it’s going to take for people to stop focusing on the Jack White incident?
JASON [Rolling eyes] The rest of my life. Until I’m dead – or I lose my eyes, I don’t know.
ROUND 3 It’s bedtime, lightweights!
JASON, barely finishing his strawberry daiquiri and getting ready to leave Kids, don’t be a fool, stay in school. It’s drugs, not hugs.
CARRIE, nursing her red wine from round 2 Just for the record, since this is print media, Jason’s eyes got really big when he said that.
JASON I’ve, uh, never done drugs. [Jason says goodbye and is off like a prom dress, keenly ditching out on further probing about the Jack White smackdown.]
CARRIE Is that your third or fourth round?
DON, gin and tonic It’s only my third round.
CARRIE But you know what? I had two rounds, add ‘em up…
DON The rhythm section’s at five.
MARCIE, still working on her raspberry margarita from round 2 The guitars are at…
MARCIE [Disappointedly] No, two and a half.
DON The guitars are all flash – and no substance.