A Bathroom Quickie With Jason Stollsteimer Of The Hounds Below
Written by Mel Says and Nathan Ryall
“The first thing I do when I get to a venue, like five hours before we play when nobody is there, is just go in the women’s bathroom and sit on the couch,” Stollsteimer says as we are huddled in an oversized, most likely meant for the handicapped, men’s bathroom stall in Ferndale’s own “old time elegant movie theatre,” The Magic Bag. This is just minutes after Stollsteimer and the rest of The Hounds Below were done showing the masses that had gathered in the audience of the beautiful Bag, just exactly why there would be traveling to Austin, Texas in the upcoming weeks to represent Detroit at the illustrious South by Southwest music and more festival.
If you have never heard of Jason Stollsteimer, do not feel bad, simply become more informed. Stollsteimer, who formerly fronted Detroit garage rock band, The Von Bondies, truly is one of Detroit’s most brilliant shining sons and is steeped in a deep tradition of rock and roll; and along with the rest of The Hounds Below, reminds us at BackRoads with Phyllis why we love doing what we do. While watching The Hounds Below, it is very easy to hear an almost Bruce Springsteen-esque sound, and although The Hounds do have a song or two that admittedly resemble The Boss, it’s not exactly the feel they are going for. Regardless of which influences drive the amazingly polished sound of this Detroit four piece, who have now only played two shows with the current line up, we love it.
Their live show is jam packed from start-to-finish with ear-to-ear grins and other intense facial and bodily expressions from all over the emotional spectrum. It’s the sound of these Hounds that first pulls you away from the bar, but it is truly their emotional connection to the music they are playing that locks you, mesmerized, staring at four dudes on a stage spilling guts for glory. Their show, like most great shows, is full of peaks and valleys, reminding us that what is happening on stage is truly indicative of what is happening off stage and in the real world. Saturday’s set really came to a tipping point with their last song; a cover of the Pixies hit “Where Is My Mind.”
“If I’m going to do a cover, I’m going to make it my own,” said Stollsteimer, who will rarely play cover songs live. And by going through a very visible, very wild swing of emotions on stage, he did just that. From smiling to visibly angry to almost grimacing in pain, Stollsteimer took a song that usually evokes a sweet melodic madness and turned it into a journey through the emotions of a pubescent high-schooler on the road to self-discovery and capped a veritably amazing performance.
If you are not able to make it to SXSW to see The Hounds Below, fret not, you have one last chance to catch them in the Detroit area before they leave. The Hounds Below will play with fellow Michiganders Flint Eastwood, The Sights and Alexis this Saturday, March 9th, at The Loving Touch in Ferndale.