PJ bond (US)
PJ Bond probably is the kindest person you’ll ever meet. Besides that he writes some real great songs. Touring the world relentlessly we caught up with him in Holland to ask him some questions. This is what he had to say:
Please tell us a bit about yourself first. Who are you, where are you
from, and what do you do?
My name is pj bond and i write songs and travel around singing them. I’m originally from new jersey in the US, but I gave up my home in April 2009 and have been roaming around the planet making friends and singing songs ever since.
What made you love music?
That’s a tough question. I’m not sure anyone can fully articulate why they love things, just maybe what they love about those things. I just know that music always made me feel something I’ve never been able to find anywhere else. Perhaps music taps into something deeper inside me than most things are able to. It helps me make sense of my emotions, forces me to confront things about myself and others, to explore, to open up. But I suppose on the basest of levels, music taps into our pleasure centers, and I am a man who appreciates being stimulated.
As far as specific bands, well, as a young boy I loved guns n roses, but when I finally understood nirvana, all bets were off. If before I was very interested in music, at this point I become obsessed.
You’ve left all the stuff you own to tour the world. What made you
decide to do this?
It was a bit of a gradual thought process that culminated in one final swipe of a decision. First, I had been touring loads as a hired musician and feeling incredibly disconnected and disheartened. I was playing to more people than I ever had, was making more money than I ever had and was miserable.
During this time my mother got hurt and she lived close to where I would occasionally work when not on tour, but all of this was an hour from where I lived. Since i was touring so much she and my dad would always ask me to visit when I was home. Around this time they also planned to sell their house and travel for a bit before buying a new one. I had to deal with my hired musician job, move my stuff from childhood out of their house and since my mom got hurt she needed a lot of help. So I got rid of my apartment, moved into my parents house for a few weeks to help my mom and get rid of all of my stuff, all while planing the next few months of touring. Then on April 15, 2009 I set off for tour and by the time I’d come back through new jersey my family was gone. It was a pretty surreal feeling but it was something I felt I needed to do to really pursue my heart and live life the way I felt it deserved.
What job(s) do you have when you’re home?
In the last two years I’ve only really had a few jobs. In the first few months I did a three week tour selling merch for a band, then in the summer of 2010 I worked about 70 hours a week for two and a half months. I worked full time in a screen printing shop which was incredibly hot and then id leave there and go work in a kitchen which was also incredibly hot. But, other than that I’ve scraped by on a mixture of selling things, playing music and some credit cards.
You love vinyl you said, but because of touring you don’t have a place
to keep it. How is that for you?
It’s definitely a bummer that I can’t collect all of the records id like to by bands I’ve met and love but that’s one of the many things I’ve had to give up and it’s not so bad. Usually im ok with it because i know all of the great things i get to do because im less tied down. However, It affects me the most when I see other peoples awesome collections and we sit around listening to records together. That’s when I most miss it and wish i had ability to do that.
The last year you’ve toured all over Europe are there any specific
place(s) you recommend? Maybe a nice/weird/curieus anecdote you’d like
to share with us?
Well I fear that by talking about some places I’ll be implying that i didn’t like others or I’d neglect to mention some people I really love. In the interest of answering the question I’ll say that I really love Swansea, wales. They have an amazing scene with incredible people and awesome bands. I’ve played there 5 or 6 times and it’s always different and always rad. The guys who run the venue mozarts are awesome, Trev and the swfu kids really work their butts off to book great shows, make cool flyers/posters, promote well and take care of everyone, bands and show-goers alike. It’s a rare place that has really become like a second home to many people, me included. Oh, and my buddy Al built a tiki bar in his backyard, so you really can’t beat that.
I also really love austria and named my most recent record for it.
As far as anecdotes/stories go, well there’s loads. A short list would include:
- ive been told that I’m not allowed to be sober in hillentrup, Germany.
- I have a swfu tattoo for wales and a Hillentroopers tattoo for hillentrup.
- once while playing in oberwart, Austria I broke two strings in one strum halfway through my last song. So I took off my guitar and just sang in everyones faces. They then picked me up and forcibly crowd surfed me. That was pretty amazing.
- i did my first euro tour mostly on trains and once while in Germany I got on a sleeper train that split halfway through the night and I was on the wrong half. Luckily I’d been worried something would mess up and eventually was able to get off and reroute. I was sick and heading from the south of Germany to groezrock in Belgium. After an almost 15 hour travel I showed up to find out my name wasn’t on the list. I basically just bullshitted them until they gave me a pass and let me in to find my label and friends. After playing two impromptu sets and with no voice I scammed a tent and sleeping bag and kind of slept in the near freezing night before getting up and hitching a ride to the UK. Oh, the beauties of touring without transport.
On your “Alphabetical” record you recorded with a band. Do you, or do
you ever see yourself, tour with a band?
I did one tour for two weeks with a band. We were called “pj bond and some motherfuckers.” it was amazing and we sounded really good but it was a holiday for two of the guys and the other is in a band with my brother. The way I look at it is that I love making records with other people on them but for now its easier to tour alone. Some day I’d love to tour regularly with a band, especially in Europe. I really think that would be a very different and very enjoyable experience.
Most of your songs deal with personal or social subjects. Do you think
you’ll ever switch to writing songs with a different topic, i.e. more
I think that people who write the best songs are the ones who write about the things they feel most interested in. I am interested in politics, but not as much as I should be to write well about it. There are so many people writing really interesting, exciting stuff that deals with politics, and they do it in ways I feel are much stronger than i could. That being said if I felt specifically strong about something where I thought I could articulate it well I’d be happy to do it. Also, as you say, I write a lot about social things, which at times is very much social/personal politics. I haven’t released them all, but I’ve written on subjects like homophobia/coming out, sexual/physical abuse, self hatred/mutilation and I think these are incredibly important things to talk about.
Above all, I try to write good songs about things that matter to me, because I feel by being the most honest I can be I will achieve the best I can and set a good example. Hopefully others will see this and write/talk about the subjects they feel most passionate about and if so we will end up with a variety of important issues and less people faking feeling things because they think it’s cool or that they’re supposed to. The more honest we can be, the better, I think.
Is there anything you’d still want to do musicwise?
I want to do everything with music. This year I plan to start a heavy/rock band, release some quiet music, write more and better songs and do as much as I can. It’s a bit hard while traveling all the time but we will see what happens.
Anything you’d like to add?
Thanks so much for asking me to do this. It’s a pleasure and an honor to get to think about and talk about what I do with people i care about.
Also, I think the world is filled with good people who want to do good things, but I also think we sometimes get side tracked by what we think we “should”’ do or what we think others say we should do. Be honest, be quiet, listen. Feel good about what you do. Be passionate, don’t settle, love lots and dont be afraid. Get in touch if I can help. One love, pj.
PJ just recently toured Europe and released his latest album “22 April: Vienna, Austria” onShield Recordings. Be sure to pick this up and to see PJ live when he’s playing a town near you, which will be soon probably. Here’s his website.