All hail The dB’s.

October 24, 2007 at 3:04 pm (Uncategorized)

To celebrate being once again able to access my own website (damn DNS servers and whatnot, first time I’ve been able to pull it up in a week, and we all know how painful that can be….) I’ll post a couple of sweet, sweet videos that have found their way to Youtube.

First off, if you know me, you know I love me them dB’s. I can still remember driving home from the old location of Vintage Vinyl in U-City back in 1985 with a cassette copy of Stands For Decibels, which I’d bought because I’d read in a magazine that there was some tangental connection to REM there (not really, other than geography…until dB’s guitarist Peter Holsapple became a member of REM during the early 1990’s at least). I can still remember hearing “Black And White” come blasting out of my speakers in that awful/beautiful mono production. Oh man, it was beautiful. I was hooked (enough to pay $25.00 in 1985 money for a white-vinyl copy of Repercussion that has a completely different track order than any other version I’ve seen….yeah, still have it, and no, it ain’t for sale) and became a fan for life.

Now, as good as The dB’s songs are (and Chris Stamey and Peter Holsapple are the best of their generation as songwriters), what makes ’em enduring landmarks of pop is the rhythm section of Gene Holder and Will Rigby (give a listen to “Cycles Per Second” if you doubt.) Rigby was just a force–playing manic rolls, weird cymbal crashes and fills, throwing in odd beats everywhere–and still keeping the whole thing danceable and appealing. Listening to those first two dB’s albums, anyway, it sounded as if the band had recruited Gene Krupa to sit in on half their songs.

So anyway, here’s some documentation of the band at the height of their powers, from Swedish TV. First up, the brilliant “Happenstance”, maybe my favorite dB’s song other than “Ask For Jill”. I’d always thought this song would be impossible to pull off live, but they (and especially Rigby) nail it:

Then how about “Bad Reputation”, a song in every way superior to every other song with that title ever recorded. (“New girl in school/She looks cool/Cool enough to cool you down like a summer vacation”):

And finally, what could’ve been the band’s breakthrough song, “Amplifier”, a video banned by MTV because….well I don’t know if teenagers still have to deal with this (I guess after Colombine they do, though) but even the slightest amount of gallows humor about teen angst was off-limits back then. Ah, well, funny video at any rate:

And sonic documentation of the greatness of the Holder/Rigby rhythm section:

“Cycles Per Second” (I think I drove my roommates nuts back in the day trying to figure out how to play this on bass; I never could get it right.)

Finally, the most majestic 2:30 of pop music ever recorded, the sublime “Ask For Jill”, which is actually about calling a girl named Jill at Masterdisk to scam onto a Bush Tetras guest list.

“Ask For Jill”

1 Comment

  1. Robinbrevard said,

    Chris – since you’re a fan of The dB’s, you & your readers might want to know about my new blog devoted to the band, its members and their musical collaborations:

    http://dbs-repercussion.blogspot.com/

    New posts with music every Friday!

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