Some bands wait seemingly all their lives for their big break. Sometimes when it comes, it's not all it's cracked up to be. Verbena, a Birmingham, Ala.-based grunge-era act featuring Scott Bondy on vocals and guitar, was one of those acts.
After issuing a debut EP and album on Merge, the band caught the ear of Capitol Records and Dave Grohl, who signed on to produce the band's next album. Recording their major-label debut with one of their heroes behind the board must have seemed like nirvana, but not all dreams come true. Despite decent reviews and some MTV play for "My Baby Got Shot," 1999's Into The Pink and its follow-up, 2003's La Musica Negra, sunk like stones.
Bondy, however, didn't crawl behind a rock and die. Rather, he dusted himself off, stripped his music down to the bone, adopted the initials of his birth name (Auguste Arthur), and re-emerged as a folk-blues performer called A.A. Bondy. Here's a clip of his foot-stomping good performance of "Vice Rag" captured recently at the legendary 40 Watt Club in Athens, Ga., where he supported Conor Oberst & the Mystic Valley Band.
When The Devil's Loose, Bondy's second solo effort on the Fat Possum label, streets on Sept. 1. The singer/songwriter will celebrate the album's release with a series of dates beginning Sept. 2n at Mississippi Studios in Portland, Ore. His itinerary also includes at a performance at F Yeah Fest 6 on Sept. 5 in Los Angeles, before heading to the East Coast for a series of shows that will wrap on Sept. 11 at Kung Fu Necktie in Philadelphia. If you can't catch him live, I suggest you pick up When The Devil's Loose upon its release. Bondy himself says the album "sounds like a radio washed ashore after a shipwreck," which is an apt description. Solo, recording under his own name, Bondy has seemingly found himself musically, while disavowing what was Verbena. "I don't really know what I was doing before," he told Jaime Lees.
For a sample of what Bondy is doing now, visit the Fat Possum site here where you can grab an MP3 of the title track from When The Devil's Loose. Also available is "There's A Reason," a track from Bondy's solo debut, American Hearts, initially issued in 2007 on the Superphonic label before Bondy signed to Fat Possum, which reissued the disc in 2008. Below, check out Bondy's fine performance of "O Vampyre," another stellar track from When The Devil's Loose, caught live in the studio of the late, great Indie 103.1 Los Angeles.