Interview: The Von Mons

von-mons

The Von Mons throw it back to the dirty, wild and wonderful days of rock ‘n’ roll from the ’50s and early ’60s. If you were raised on vinyl or just discovered it, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about. It’s the kinda beautifully visceral and raw, wonderfully dissonant and yet laden with grooves, rhythm and melody. It’s exciting music that we often forget about, but The Von Mons are an awesome reminder of this awesome time in American music. But let’s get one thing straight, this isn’t some sort of suit wearing, retro act. No, The Von Mons live firmly in the now and their recorded work is the kind of music that begs you to see them live. You want to see the sweat hit the guitar strings, you want to feel that energy and bombasticity they put into the music.

Recently, I caught up with Tyler Kolling of The Von Mons as we did this interview to preview their gig at Happy Mondays at the Wonder Bar in Asbury Park. However, due to that “blizzard” known as Juno, the show was cancelled. However, we dig this band so much and their music is just so good, we couldn’t hold onto this one any longer. Enjoy!

The Von Mons Are (Name – Origin – Age – Astrological Sign – Job):

Cory Williams –  Neptune City, Neptune – 14 moon cycles –  Ford Taurus – rhythm guitar and vocals

Casey Estelle – Wayfarer – Old Enough – Capricorn – bass and vocals

Tyler Kolling –  Wanamassa, NJ – 42 – Scorpio – drums and vocals

Sean Gulbin – Evans Area, Wall-tucky – 17 and a 1/2 – Scorpion – Lead Guitar

The Story of Our Name: Sean, Tyler, and Cory had been playing around together for a year or so mostly in Sean’s garage and calling themselves a variety of names. When Casey joined we narrowed our variety of names down to a slim set of 4-5 different choices. One night Sean had a dream that he played in a band called Von Mons. We decided to make that dream real and chose the name. Fulfill the dream.

We’re based out of: Asbury Park, NJ

Any new music coming out: We are currently working on our debut album. We are recording the whole thing on a 1983 Tascam four track cassette recorder. Should be out by summer for sure. We have a self recorded demo already out on our Soundcloud.

You’ve seen us before [in other bands]: Sean had a brief stint with Disney as a child model. Kid had great looking eyes. Just look right through ya.

Our sound has been likened to: Yesterday some sand-encrusted vagrant said we have this whole 50’s rock ‘n’ roll drunk beach party vibe.

Can you talk about the artists that have inspired you? Also, what people in your life have inspired you to create music?

We are inspired by a number of bands from a number of genres. We play garage rock. Gritty sloppy rock ‘n’ roll with some interesting influences. We think kinda what we are trying to do is a sort of rock n roll conservationism – we use nostalgic imagery of clothing, cars, music, films, etc. that reminisce about the time of rock n roll’s formative years. We live forever in the raw, unrefined, very new (at that time) territory of ’50 – 60’s rock ‘n’ roll, and as a result we are raw and unrefined. It’s this obsession with rock’s golden years that is our inspiration and the subject matter which we preserve in our music, sometimes subconsciously and sometimes on purpose. The Sonics, Sam the Sham and his Pharaohs, The Belles, Teddy and his Patches, Fallen Angels, Ritchie Valens, and THEM are just a few bands from that era that we really dig. There are a ton of other bands that influence us as well but it’ll go on forever.  My (Tyler) biggest influence is probably my older brother Brandon. He played in a bunch of bands and was super good at drums, but he passed away when I was 19. He was a real unique guy. Didn’t give a shit what you thought about him and like I said before – was super good at drums. Taught me the little I know about it and when I started playing I used his old 60s Slingerland kit.

Photo Credit: Jeff Crespi
Photo Credit: Jeff Crespi

What is one of your favorite and/or most outrageous moments you’ve had performing with The Von Mons?

One moment that sticks out as a really great moment is when Asbury Lanes gave us the honor of opening up for King Khan and the Shrines and when we finished our set a lot of the guys came up and said how much they liked the show. They are a band we look up to and to hear the guys not just giving you the old “Hey great set guys,” but instead talking about specific things they really liked was cool, you know? Felt like they were really being genuine about it. Another great time was playing the all-day Indian Summer Music Festival. A bunch of our friends were there to hang and to play. It was on a Saturday in September 2014. Beautiful weather. All around good time. As far as outrageous goes, we get a bit wild sometimes. Any of the homo-erotic stuff that goes on during the live shows is what people probably find the most weird.

There are so many bands out there in the Asbury scene to check out — outside of your sound, which no one else really has, what do you think separates The Von Mons from everyone else?

There are a ton of bands in the Asbury scene doing something similar. Not to say they sound like us. They don’t really. But what it comes down to is that everyone is trying to offer a fresh perspective on rock and roll. That’s what sets us apart as well. We are just taking what we think is cool, what we like to play, and offering it to people. Hopefully they like it and want to dance and have a good time, and if they don’t like it that’s cool too. We just hope they still have a good time at the show. I guess that’s why we sometimes get a little wild on stage. It’s another form of entertainment. A ‘plan b’, if you will. “Those guys sucked but they were funny” or “those guys sucked but I loved when they did….” We wouldn’t mind hearing that as much as we wouldn’t mind hearing that people dig our music.

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If someone read this interview and never heard you before, but decided to check you out, what song would you recommend they listen to in order to understand what The Von Mons are all about?

I would recommend you check out our Facebook and find out when our next show is and come see us play. Recordings sshmercordings. The live show is where we really try to have fun and play good rock ‘n’roll. 

What can the people coming out to see you guys perform expect to see from you guys in terms of a live experience?

Super fun time America.

What’s on the horizon for The Von Mons in 2015?

Hopefully playing some fun shows with some cool people. Releasing our debut album. Beginning work on a second album. Getting some shows – inside and outside of Asbury. And just having a lot of LOLS and YOLOS with all the peeps and heads in the hood.

For more on The Von Mons, check out their Facebook page.

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Bill Bodkin is the Owner, Editor-in-Chief and Co-Founder of Pop-Break. Most importantly, however, he is the proud father of a beautiful daughter, Sophie. He is beyond excited that Pop-Break will be six years old in 2015 as this site has come a long, long way from the day he launched in it in his bachelor pad at the Jersey Shore. He can be read every Monday for the Happy Mondays Interview Series as well as his weekly reviews on Law & Order: SVU, Mad Men and Hannibal. His goal, once again, is to write 500 stories this year (a goal he accomplished in 2014). He is a graduate of Rutgers University with a degree in Journalism & English. Follow him on Twitter: @PopBreakDotCom
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Bill Bodkin is the gray bearded owner, editor-in-chief and co-founder of Pop Break. Most importantly, he is lucky husband, and proud father to a beautiful daughter named Sophie. He can be seen regularly on the site reviewing The Walking Dead, Doctor Who, and is the host of the site's podcast, The BreakCast. He is a graduate of Rutgers University with a degree in Journalism & English. Follow him on Twitter: @BodkinWrites

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