The dB's

Band members                             Related acts

  line up 1 (1978-82)
- Gene Holder -- bass 

- Peter Holsapple -- vocals, guitar 

- Will Rigby -- drums, percussion

- Chris Stamey -- vocals, guitar, keyboards 


   line up 2 (1982)

NEW - Andy Clark -- keyboards (1982)

- Gene Holder -- bass 

- Peter Holsapple -- vocals, guitar 

- Will Rigby -- drums, percussion

- Chris Stamey -- vocals, guitar, keyboards


   line up 3 (1983-84)
- Gene Holder -- lead guitar, bass, keyboards

- Peter Holsapple -- vocals, rhythm guitar, mandolin, keyboards

- Will Rigby -- drums, percussion, keyboards, vocals


  supporting musicians: (1984)

- Patrick Irwin -- keyboards

- Mark Tomeo -- pedal steel guitar

- Rock Wager-- keyboards


    line up 4 (1984-88)
NEW - Jeff Beninato -- bass 

- Peter Holsapple -- vocals, guitar 

- Will Rigby -- drums, [percussion


  backing musicians: (1987)

- Lisa Germano -- violin (1987)

- Van Dyke Parks -- keyboards, synthesizers (1987)

- Jane Scarpantoni - cello (1987)

- Jerry Smith - French horn (1987)

- Syd Straw -- vocals (1987)

- Belmont Tench -- keyboards, synthesizers (1987)


   line up 4 (1994)
- Jeff Beninato -- bass 

- Peter Holsapple -- vocals, guitar

NEW - Eric Peterson -- guitar

- Will Rigby -- drum, percussion



- The Continental Drifters (Peter Holsapple)

- Peter Holsapple (solo efforts)

- Holsapple and Stamey

- Will Rigby (solo efforts)

- Sneakers (Gene Holder, Peter Holsapple and Will Rigby)

- Chris Stamey (solo efforts)

- The Wygals (Gene Holder)





Genre: rock

Rating: **** (4 stars)

Title:  Repercussion

Company: Albion

Catalog: ALB 109

Year: 1982

Country/State: Winston Salem, North Carolina

Grade (cover/record): VG+/G+

Comments: UK pressing (no cassette)

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 4653

Price: $20.00

Cost: $66.00


Singer/guitarist Chris Stamey's first brush with success came as a member of  Winston, North Carolina's The Sneakers.  That group's 1977 breakup saw Stamey move to New York City with plans to attend NYU.  Once in New York he stumbled into a gig playing bass for former Box Top/Big Star singer Alex Chilton.  With Chilton's support Stamey subsequently recorded an instantly obscure single for the small Ork label ('The Summer Sun' b/w 'Where the Fun Is').  


Stamey's next move was to invite former North Carolina buddies Gene Holder (bass) and Will Rigby (drums) to New York to help him out.  As Chris Stamey and the dBs (it originally stood for 'drums and bass'), the trio recorded a couple of demos, including the track 'If and When'.  Unable to interest a major label in signing the band, Stamey elected to release a self financed single on his own Car Records.  Co-written with Television's Richard Lloyd '(I Thought) You Wanted To Know' b/w 'if an When' (Car catalog number CRR-7) also vanished without a trace, though the resulting attention helped the trio start to get paying club gigs. They also expanded their lineup to include singer/guitarist Peter Holsapple who had played with Stamey in an earlier North Carolina band.


Unable to interest a domestic label, the quartet eventually attracted the attention of the UK-based Albion Records.  


Produced by Scott Litt the band's sophomore LP 1982's "Repercussion" was recorded in London's Ramport Studios.  While material such as 'From a Window To a Screen' and 'Ask for Jill' retained the band's trademarked mix of 1960s commerciality and new wave attitude, this time around the set was sonically a little fuller than the debut.  Tracks such as 'Neverland' and 'Amplifier' offered up an instantly likeable mix of toe tapping melodies and goofiness ...  It's hard to come up with a good comparison, though I've seen mentions of Let's Active and even REM - take my word for it, these guys are a ton more fun than either of those other bands.   Elsewhere several tracks featured support from The Rumour's horn section (sax player John Earle, trombonist Chris Gower and trumpet player Dick Hanson).  The result is a wonderful, if largely overlooked slice of early-1980s jangle rock ...   Albion tapped the album for a pair of single:




- 1982's 'Neverland' b/w 'PH Factor' (Albion catalog number 1030) 

- 1982's 'Living a Lie' b/w 'In Spain' (Albion catalog number 1034)

"Repercussion" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Happenstance  (Chris Stamey) - 4:07

2.) We Were Happy There   (Peter Holsapple) - 2:38

3.) Living a Lie   (Peter Holsapple) - 3:25

4.) From a Window To a Screen   (Chris Stamey) - 2:34

5.) Ask for Jill  (Chris Stamey) - 2:32

6.) Amplifier   (Peter Holsapple) - 3:07


(side 2)
1.) Neverland   (Peter Holsapple) - 2:46

2.) Storm Warning   (Peter Holsapple)  2:31

3.) Ups and Downs   (Chris Stamey) - 3:01

4.) Nothing Is Wrong   (Peter Holsapple) - 4:16

5.) In Spain  (Chris Stamey) - 3:01

6.) I Feel Good (Today)   (Chris Stamey) - 4:28




Genre: rock

Rating: **** (4 stars)

Title:  The Sound of Music

Company: I.R.S.

Catalog: IRS-42055

Year: 1984

Country/State: Winston Salem, North Carolina

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: original  I.R.S. inner sleeve

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 5653

Price: $10.00


After years of record company problems including three years in legal limbo while they tried to sort out problems with the now-bankrupt Bearsville Records, 1987 saw The dB's signed to Miles Copeland's I.R.S. Records.  Produced by Greg Edwards, "The Sound of Music" tends to get overlooked by critics and fans which has always struck me as a shame since the album was nothing less than a lost treasure.  In the meantime financial desperation seems to have brought out the quartet's creative best since virtually every one of the twelve Peter Holsapple tracks was wonderful.  All hyperbole aside, jangle pop was seldom as much fun as this collection.  Great tunes with insidiously catchy hooks (check out the opener 'Never Say When'). enthusiastic performances, and a wicked sense of humor made the collection a blast to hear.  Geez, even country-tinged numbers like the Holsapple and Syd Straw duet 'Never Before And Never Again' and their paean to a race track 'Bonneville' were fun.  That latter actually managed to make me a mandolin fan.   That made it really hard to pick a favorite song, though it pressed I'd opt for the rocking 'Change with the Changing Times', the equally taunt 'Any Old Thing', and the slightly ominous breakup song 'I Lie'.   Shoot, maybe 'Think Too Hard', 'A Better Place', or the blue collar anthem 'Working For Somebody Else'?   Beats me.  In fact the only track that didn't catch my attention was the plodding 'Look At The Sun Too Long'.  I.R.S. made some efforts to promote the collection including releasing a couple of singles.



- 1987's 'I Lie' b/w 'I Lie' (I.R.S. catalog number I.R.S.-53198)


There was also a pair of 12" single:




- 1987's 'I Lie' b/w 'I Lie' (I.R.S. catalog number L33-17407)

- 1987's 'Working for Somebody Else' b/w 'Feel Alright' (I.R.S. catalog number L33-17499)


So how could an album this good not have turned them into megastars?   Well they came close.  Shortly after the album bassist Gene Holder left to join The Wygals.  The rest of the band hit the road opening for R.E.M. on their "Document" tour.  The tour garnered significant media exposure and saw the album break into the top-200 charts.  Not a massive breakthrough, but better than the past.  Unfortunately they subsequently decided to call it quit.


Holsapple became a member of R.E.M.'s touring band, before forming The Continental Drifters.


"The Sound of Music" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Never Say When   (Peter Holsapple) - 3:08

2.) Change with the Changing Times   ( Peter Holsapple) - 2:53

3.) I Lie   ( Peter Holsapple) - 4:30

4.) Molly Says   ( Peter Holsapple) - 2:16

5.) Bonneville   ( Peter Holsapple) - 2:42

6.) Any Old Thing   ( Peter Holsapple) - 3:26


(side 2)
1.) Think Too Hard   ( Peter Holsapple) - 2:59

2.) Working For Somebody Else   ( Peter Holsapple) - 3:28

3.) Never Before And Never Again   ( Peter Holsapple) - 4:12

4.) A Better Place   ( Peter Holsapple) - 3:14

5.) Look At The Sun Too Long   ( Peter Holsapple) - 2:55

6.) Today Could Be The Day   ( Peter Holsapple) - 3:21




Genre: rock

Rating: **** (4 stars)

Title:  Like This

Company: Bearsville

Catalog: 25146

Year: 1984

Country/State: Winston Salem, North Carolina

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: --

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 2215

Price: $10.00


If anyone wondered whether The dB's could make it with the departure of Chris Stamey, 1984's "Like This" provided a resounding yes.  Co-produced by the band and Chris Butler, the collection found  the band soldiering on as a trio with the always dependable  Will Rigby anchoring on drums and Gene Holder shifting to lead guitar.  Peter Holsapple capably pickied up the songwriter and front man chores.  True, Stamey's departure was a major loss, taking with him some of the band's quirkier musical moves, but this time around the group seemed to have stockpiled more than enough quality material to overcome his loss.  Maybe not the best dB's album ever, but exemplified by tracks like 'Love Is for Lovers', a remake of 'Amplifier', and 'A Spy In the House of Love' (not the Was ( Not Was) song), this was one probably The dB's most conventional and commercial outting.   Plenty of tracks to love, including  'She Got Soul' and 'Rendezvous'.  


Almost like a chapter out of Spinal Tap, having run into financial issues, Bearsville did little to promote the album, which quickly disappeared into cutout bins.   The company promptly went out of business, leaving the band stuck with a recording contract they struggled to get out of.


"Like This" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Love Is for Lovers  (Peter Holsapple) - 3:18   rating: **** stars

Ever wondered what Andy Partridge and XTC would have sounded like if they'd been born and raised in North Carolina?  Probably not, but if the muse ever crossed your mind, then 'Love Is for Lovers' might answer the question.  One of the best mid-'80s power pop tunes ever released.  Always wondered how radio missed this one.





1984's 'Love Is for Lovers' b/w 'Darby Hall' (Bearsville catalog number 7-29188)   Yeah, they'd lost a bit on the high notes, but this 2012 performance (Mitch Easter on bass), showed the band still had a certain magic.






2.) She Got Soul  (Peter Holsapple) - 2:40   rating: **** stars

If anything, 'She Got Soul' was even better than the leadoff single.  The backing harmonies and Will Rigby's drums were killer.

3.) Spitting In the Wind  (Peter Holsapple) - 3:24    rating: **** stars

Adding a skitterish, slightly ominous edge to their sound didn't hurt their commercial edge one iota.   One of my favorite dB's tunes.

4.) Lonely Is (As Lonely Does)  (Peter Holsapple) - 3:57    rating: **** stars

Wonderful ballad that should have been tapped as a single.  One of the prettiest things they ever recorded, though Marti Jones' cover was even better

5.) Not Cool  (Peter Holsapple) - 2:52    rating: *** stars

'Not Cool' found Holsapple and company adding a bit of country-rock twang the the recipe.  Personally I'm not a high fan of the genre, but this one was sparkly enough to make you bounce around in your chair.

6.) Amplifier  (Peter Holsapple) - 3:03    rating: **** stars

I'm not quite sure why they felt the need to re-record this one ...    One of the ultimate break-up tunes, opening up with Gene Holder's squealing guitar and Holsapple's bitter lyrics, 'Amplifier' was another tune where you were left to wonder how radio managed to overlook it.  The sound quality isn't very good, but YouTube has a clip of a promotional video they filmed for the song: 


(side 2)
1.) A Spy In the House of Love
  (Peter Holsapple) - 4:51    rating: **** stars

Ah ... more cowbell please.   Nah, it's not the same track as the Was (Not Was) hit - their version came out three years later.   Another dB's catalog highlight that should have garnered waves of airplay, but was criminally overlooked by radio and the buying public.   The track was also released as a 12" single:

- 1984's 'A Spy In the House of Love' (extended) b/w 'A Spy In the House of Love' (edit)'/ 'Amplifier' (Bearsville catalog number PRO-A-2230)

2.) Rendezvous  (Peter Holsapple) - 3:07    rating: **** stars

'Rendezvous' was worth hearing for the stellar refrain and Holsapple's Elvis-styled sneering vocals.

3.) New Gun In Town  (Peter Holsapple) - 3:47    rating: *** stars

The album's first minor disappointment, 'New Gun In Town' was an okay rocker, with kind of a U2 anthemic feel, but it just never kicked into gear.

4.) On the Battlefield  (Peter Holsapple) - 3:34   rating: **** stars

Stark and moving ballad that's probably the album's overlooked gem.

5.) White Train  (Peter Holsapple) - 3:20    rating:** stars

'White Train' offered up another country-tinged tune.  Nice backing vocals and the howls always make me smile, but it just wasn't my musical genre.  Pass.