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Where PJ Feels At Home: An Interview With PJ Bond Part 2

01/07/2011 1 comment

On January 2nd, 2011 I posted the first part of my interview with PJ Bond. If you missed it here is the link in which you can read it.

This evening I am posting the second part which goes more into detail about how PJ feels touring as a solo artist.

Did you grow up in New Brunswick?

No, I went to college in New Brunswick and on my breaks I went home. Once I moved out of the dorms and moved into houses I would stay there all Summer. That’s where I found a couple of guys and started a band called Out Smarting Simon. We then started to tour and occasionally I would stay at my parent’s house and then moved back to New Brunswick. Once Out Smarting Simon stopped touring I started to live in New Brunswick permanently. It wasn’t until 2008-2009 that I actually moved out of New Brunswick. I was pretty much there for about ten years on and off. That to me is why I call it home. My hometown is the most important things that matter to me. I kind of hold an attachment to that place really.

Now what I want to go back and talk about is the bands you were previously in including Out Smarting Simon and The Color Fred. As far as playing in those bands what would you say some of the challenges are playing as a solo artist then when you are playing in a group live with four or five different members? Do you ever miss being apart of those groups when you’re playing live as a solo artist?

I think the hardest part is probably the touring aspect. When you tour with friends or people you don’t know very well, you know I’ve played as a hired musician the first tour I did with one of the one of these bands I had only rehearsed with some members of the bands I think twice for about two to three hours each time and most of the time we spent playing music, so I really got in a van with a bunch of people that I didn’t really know. But eventually we became really great friends.
If you have a long drive and are telling stories together there is something really magical and beautiful about that.

I am actually staying with an old friend of mine right now who played in Out Smarting Simon with me and we went out last night and we brought up a lot of things we loved about touring together. You know when you have the great late night conversations where you get down and deep about things you really care about? Being with three people is a memory I’ll never forget.

Thankfully being alone and touring, as a solo artist has given me the time and opportunity to hop on tours last minute and filling in on tours. When I was in Europe I had six days off and I filled five of them in. I hopped in a van with one of the bands and one of the guys in the band I know was a promoter and would say to the promoters of the clubs “hey, I know this really cool dude…. can he play for ten minutes while were setting up?” Almost with out fail they would say yes. And I would get to play a full set. My set is really easy. I just pretty much get up there and play. So being able to that is really positive and I have had a lot of opportunities to do that.

I think its cool when someone lets me stay at his or her house and would let me stay for three days. You sometimes also don’t get to connect with people when there are four or five other people. There are definitely ups and downs so one of things that work really well for me is I can be stubborn and thick headed about things. Not that I like being that way but I also don’t like the feeling of having to get into fights with my friends about certain things. Example if I am writing a song I don’t have to go to anyone and change anything that I don’t want to. On the contrary I don’t really have anyone there to give me suggestions on ways to make things better.

I found out about almost everything that makes being a solo musician really beautiful so it also has a flip side to it.

Now when you first started playing solo did you ever get nervous about what people would think since you were so used to being in Out Smarting Simon? And that they might be a little bit more harsh with you if they go see you live. Did you have any fears about that?

I guess you could say I wasn’t really worried about that so much. Within that framework you didn’t see me worried but I did however have some self-doubt at times. My first solo show that I remember playing that I guess I would consider solo in this respect I played a few of my actual songs and it turned into an actual PJ Bond set. I was really nervous about that. I ended up playing for a few of my friends in a basement and I had water on one side and whiskey on the other and basically grew into the set. I always like to bring that up to the points of progress and thinking that its now so different from that show. It is definitely a reflection for me.

I really don’t think I get nervous about what other people think. It’s about what my brothers and friends think and how they feel. As far as audience numbers go I am really lucky that I have a lot of really supportive and honest friends.

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PJ Bond will be playing at Curmudgeon Records at 31 West Main Street in Somerville, NJ 08876 on Saturday January 8th,2011 with The Waltz (featuring Brian the singer/guitarist of PENFOLD), Michael James, Mike San Giovanni and Brian Bond. Show starts at 7pm and ends at 10pm

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Where PJ Feels At Home: An Interview With PJ Bond

 

By: Karen Mitchell

Hailing out of New Brunswick, New Jersey PJ Bond has an acoustic  indie-folk sound that has been spreading to the ears of hardcore, punk and emo fans all over the world. Coming from a family that has been playing music for years and being in bands such as Marigold, The Color Fred and Out Smarting Simon, I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to see PJ Bond live just a few weeks ago at the Court Tavern in New Brunswick, New Jersey. I was so intrigued by his presence and his performance I wanted to learn more about him. I was lucky enough to have an hour and a half conversation with PJ going over his background and his lifestyle. I can honestly say PJ is genuine, honest and has a strong passion for the music he writes and plays.

(Here is part 1 of the interview. Part 2 will be coming out soon!)

To be completely honest with you the first time I actually heard about you was when I saw you live at the Court Tavern a few weeks ago. I wanted to say you played a great live set. Can you tell me about your background in music? Has anyone else in your family played music?

My father plays a little guitar and piano so growing up we did have instruments in the house.

My younger brother Brian Bond plays both solo and also plays in a band called Communipaw, which is one of the best bands I’ve heard.  My older brother plays in a band called Sirius B and they are a great band to go see live as they are a lot of fun. Sirius B is almost hard to categorize because they have a very original sound, but people tend to lean towards giving them a Middle Eastern rock sound.

I’ve pretty much been around music my whole life in that respect. I wanted to fully embrace it.

Growing up what were some of your main influences as far as groups and solo artists?

I’ve always been heavily into rock music. As a really young kid and in Elementary school I was big into Guns N Roses and I got into Nirvana around Middle School. Around High school is when I got into what was called ‘emo.’ I know the term is ridiculous but I respected bands like Sunny Day Real Estate. Through out all of that, I can say that scene is where I felt at home. One of my favorite bands was called Penfold, which is a band from my hometown. They kind of had that 90’s sound. It was cool to hear that sound that I loved so much coming from a band that not only lived down the street from me but also came from my hometown.

As far as solo artists I remember being young and hating Tom Taylor. I thought his voice was really annoying and I never got into artists like Neil Young. Although I can say now, as I got older I can really appreciate and love artists like Neil Young. I love the music and can really appreciate the song writing.

What was it about emo music that made you feel at home?

You can’t always describe why you love things. But there are certain elements that you can pick out that really appeal to you. When I was in Middle School, my older brother actually took me to go see a band called Penfold, which they were playing at the Battle of the Bands at the local High school. It was real exciting because I would be hanging out with my older brother and other older kids. To me there was something really cool about that. We got to see this band play and my brother had said that the singer had only been playing guitar for about a year or so. After hearing that it was an inspiration. I thought if he could do it, and that I have been playing guitar I could do it too. I wanted to make this happen.

But Penfold, they had that sound that I loved. I don’t know if I loved the sound because it totally appealed to me, or if I just liked the fact that a local band was writing their own songs. I’ll never forget when I got into Sunny Day Real Estate.

In my head I could hear Penfold sounded like the Smashing Pumpkins and some other band mixed together, but I couldn’t figure out who that other band was. So, when I finally heard Sunny Day Real Estate, it was like a light bulb went off in my head. That was the sound that I’ve been waiting to hear. You know that was really where I felt at home. The other things about it were I have always loved Nirvana, but I never had the anger that was associated with it or the angst and the sense of loss. I grew up in a nice town with a good family. I didn’t have a lot of negative aspects that some people grew up with.

Emo was more or so about eternal despair or some feeling of like a fulfillment. Obviously there are the cliche and heartbreak songs. But as a whole I think that it kind of got washed with this broken heart. Their are plenty of songs and plenty of bands that all of their songs are about heartbreak. I think I found a lot of comfort in that because those were the feelings that I was feeling. I didn’t have the “I hate my parents,” attitude that Nirvana exceeded, but I did have that same feeling of knowing that I wanted something more.

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