The dB's

North Carolina, US
Artist / Band / Musician
Collector's Choice
Edited/WThomas' Myspace Editor V4.4

Yet ANOTHER wholly fan based trib gush by yrs truly, me, Leftenant Reg?

From Wikipedia's dB's page --

The dB's were a power pop group of the late 1970s and 1980s. The bandmembers were Peter Holsapple, Chris Stamey, Will Rigby and Gene Holder, all of whom were from Winston-Salem, North Carolina. The group was formed in New York City.
Stamey played bass with Alex Chilton in New York during 1977, and with Television guitarist Richard Lloyd recorded "(I Thought) You Wanted to Know" that year. A single of this song, backed with "If and When" (on which Rigby and Holder played), appeared in 1978, credited to Chris Stamey and the dB's. Holsapple joined the group in October 1978.
They released their first album, Stands for Decibels, in 1981, to critical acclaim but negligible sales. Their sound was a modernized version of earlier power pop, with precise arrangements and highly accomplished instrumental work. Stamey and Holsapple were the band's songwriters, and while Holsapple was skilled in the composing of fairly straightforward tunes such as "Big Brown Eyes" and "Bad Reputation," Stamey's songs, which include "Espionage" and "Tearjerkin'," tended to be somewhat more experimental.

The dB's - Big Brown Eyes (Live)

Recorded Live in London, March 1981.

Cycles Per Second - the dB's
The appearance was taped a few days before its March 7, 1981 broadcast. The city was London, UK. The show was a national broadcast on the nation's largest network. Three top-notch performances, one by each songwriter and with an instrumenta The appearance was taped a few days before its March 7, 1981 broadcast. The city was London, UK. The show was a national broadcast on the nation's largest network. Three top-notch performances, one by each songwriter and with an instrumental thrown in.

The dB's road manager on the tour, Dave Boxall, added genitalia to the show's logo of a performer's silhouette. This is clearly visible on the left of the screen. On "Big Brown Eyes" Will wore a pair of gag glasses with eyeballs on springs that bounce all over the place. Not so clearly visible. The eyeballs only came in blue, and Albion's publicist painted the irises brown. (Too bad they couldn't get the eyes to come out brown on the single sleeve!)

RETURN TO COMBOLAND - THE dB's Ups & Downs - LIVE - 1981
RETURN TO COMBOLAND - A personal look at North Carolina's most influential (and secret) music legacy. Documentary Seeking Co-Production Partner - Produced and Directed by Steve Boyle. This is a sample of some of the archived music videos RETURN TO COMBOLAND - A personal look at North Carolina's most influential (and secret) music legacy. Documentary Seeking Co-Production Partner - Produced and Directed by Steve Boyle. This is a sample of some of the archived music videos Steve created from 1981 to 1984.

Artist featured: THE dB's Chris Stamey (Guitar, Vocals), Peter Holsapple (Guitar, Vocals), Gene Holder (Bass), Will Rigby (Drums). It was the afternoon of Monday, October 19, 1981. I was Directing and shooting a music video for a Robert Kirkland (of Arrogance) protégée called Luky Owens & Revolver at Cafe DejaVu in Raleigh. The dB's were scheduled to play across the hall at The Pier that night and they were loading in. Peter Holsapple dropped in to watch the shoot and Robert brought him over and introduced Peter to me. I knew of the dB's from my New York days. (I was an Alex Chilton fan and had seen Chris Stamey play with Alex in NYC. I also bought Chris' THE SUMMER SUN single on ORK Records -- still have it!) At that point, knowing the dB's were playing that night, I asked Peter if it was okay to shoot the dB's performance since I had the video gear. Peter said okay, but I had to confirm with Chris. I introduced myself to Chris just before the dB's performance and he said okay but I could only shoot the first set, which I shot. Out of that set, UPS & DOWNS was the only track that performed well by me and the dB's, so I cut that song as a music video. I was lucky with the shoot in that the audio was balanced enough to make the video palatable. There was so little light on the stage -- I think there were only five lights(!!). That was pretty dark, even for The Pier.

The only other song worth cutting was TNK, which is better known as TOMORROW NEVER KNOWS. It was a great performance by the dB's, but since it was a cover of a Lennon/McCartney song, I didn't edit the track.

And as for the raw footage of the performance of that wonderful first set. It was stolen in 1985 and the back-up seems to be lost too. There's a search on for it, but I fear the worst.

Of note. The Raleigh Rock elite were in force this night. Peter had just told the audience that the album Repercussions was soon to arrive as an import. You can hear Debra DeMilo of The Fabulous Knobs yelling from the audience that it was at a store in Greensboro. And the encore included Arrogance joining the dB's on stage.

Video Producer, Director, Photographer, Editor -- Steve Boyle
Video Associate Producer -- Tony Madejczyk
Camera Assistance -- John Cline
LIVE at The Pier, Monday, October 19, 1981

For more (or less) information on Return To Comboland, visit:
For more information on the dB's, visit:

The dB's - Big Brown Eyes
Video for the song from "Stands for deciBels", directed by Emily Hubley.

The dB's - pH Factor
Live in London, 1981

They released a second album in 1982, Repercussion, which built upon the strengths of the first album, and also released singles such as "Judy." These two albums, recorded on the British label Albion, have since been reissued on one compact disc.
Stamey left the group after the second album, and pursued a career as a solo artist and producer. The group then recorded a third album, Like This, released in 1984. The band had finally landed an American record deal, Bearsville, but distribution woes caused the album to be greatly delayed. Dave Schramm of Yo La Tengo also contributed some guitar work to the band during this period.[1]
The final CD released while the dB's were together was The Sound of Music in 1987 with New Orleans bass player Jeff Beninato, founder of the New Orleans Musicians Relief Fund. Again under Holsapple's direction, this is perhaps the band's most traditional pop album. Jeff Beninato participated in the subsequent tour. Holsapple ended up moving to Beninato's home town of New Orleans.
Two CDs were released after the dB's broke up. Ride the Wild Tom-Tom collected demos, early recordings and singles, and Paris Avenue was a posthumous album by the final lineup, based on demo tapes from the band's waning days. In 1991, Stamey and Holsapple reunited (not under the dB's rubric) as a duo to record an album entitled Mavericks.
Since the group's demise, Holsapple has worked as a session musician, issued one solo album, and was a member of the Continental Drifters. He currently tours with Hootie and the Blowfish. Stamey has released solo records and is a record producer. Rigby is a respected drummer, playing for Steve Earle and others, and Holder has continued to record and produce. Beninato produced Little Queenie's""Q-Ball", is currently producing New Orleans guitar collective Twangorama and administers The New Orleans Musicians Relief Fund.
Although the dB's enjoyed only a limited popularity, their recordings were held in high esteem by critics. Robert Christgau, reviewing their first album, said "This is pop at its tensest--the precise harmonies, broken rhythms, and Byrdsy zoom effects are drawn so tight they make the expertly rendered romantic ups and downs of the songs sound intense and earned." However, their later recordings were felt by some critics to compare poorly to their first three albums. Christgau again, on The Sound of Music: "Yeah, it rocks, but when a pop group leaves it at that they're no better than their latest song, and when their sole remaining songwriter is still dissecting serial monogamy as he says bye to thirty, chances are his latest song doesn't even interest him all that much."
Trouser Press, however, favorably reviewed the recordings with: "The Sound of Music finds the dB's continuing in the style of Like This, with similarly fine results. The country elements reappear on "Bonneville" (complete with fiddles and mandolins), "Never Before and Never Again" (a brilliant Holsapple duet with Syd Straw) and "Looked at the Sun Too Long," which could easily be mistaken for a Gram Parsons tune. There's still plenty of great pop, too, and the group gets heavy on "Any Old Thing." Trouser Press described their final album: "Paris Avenue is a belated first issue of demos for what would have been the band's fifth album. The ingeniously titled tribute album is pretty good, with credible peers like Bill Lloyd, Tim Lee, Don Dixon, Steve Almaas and Bobby Sutliff doing able and, for the most part, unaffected renditions of the repertoire. Some of the arrangements take surprising liberties, but none lack evident respect and affection for the originals."
The band reunited in 2005, and has been recording a new album. The band recorded a moving version of What Becomes of the Brokenhearted to benefit the New Orleans Musicians Relief Fund. The song is available on iTunes and has helped provide help to hundreds of displaced musicians.
November, 2006 saw the release of "Christmastime," an updated version of an album released in the eighties with contributions from Mitch Easter, Ryan Adams, and many other guests. It was reviewed and recommended by USA Today in December, 2006.
In September, 2005 the "Classic" Lineup of the dB'S played two shows in Chicago, and has a show scheduled in New York on January 13, 2007. Work on the new album continues as time allows.
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