Friday, April 27

Peter & Chris - Idiot's Delight, NYC 1991

Peter Holsapple & Chris Stamey      
WXRK-FM, New York City
“Idiot's Delight” with Vin Scelsa
June 30, 1991
FM (sound quality Ex-)
Chris and Peter, Mavericks-era publicity shot
photo by Carol Whaley
Highlights: a great-sounding set with full band, including a brief, light-hearted “Take Five"
BIG THANKS to glenn s for the share!

01 band intros        
02 Lord of the Manor        
03 Geometry        
04 Here Without You        
05 Haven't Got the Right        
06 Taken        
07 Angels        
08 She Was the One (first few secs. cut)        
09 The Child In You        
10 Something Came Over Me*        
11 Take Five (brief run-through)                 
12 You Don't Miss Your Water*        
13 outro

         *10 and 12 appear on Chris' Fireworks album, which was released a few months after this appearance.

NOTE: I need to figure out how much interest you have in Holsapple-Stamey posts ‘cuz I have a lot of material. Please leave comments: do you like ‘em? Do you prefer earlier ones like these, or “Here & Now”-era shows? Give me some feedback.

Chris Stamey
Peter Holsapple
Alan Bezozi
Ilene Markell
Dave Schramm

Vin Scelsa’s “Idiot’s Delight”

Vin Scelsa has been doing his “Idiot’s Delight” show on some New York City radio station or other for about 45 years. Last I heard, he’s at WFUV. Back when this show was recorded, the station was WXRK (now defunct).

Hats off to Vin for championing our guys and their music!

Friday, April 13

Peter's 1989 Australian Adventure

Peter Holsapple
Melbourne, Australia
“Fast Fictions” 3RRR-FM Radio Show
David Vodicka, interviewer
Feb. 13, 1989

Pre-FM soundboard (sound quality Ex-)
Highlights: A relaxed-but-engaged Peter sings & plays the heck out of 10 songs

Peter Holsapple: seeing & hearing double
Marty Perez photo / B.O.B. Issue 33

1.   Soul Kiss
2.   Storm Warning
3.   Elvis, What Happened?
4.   Lonely Is as Lonely Does
5.   Bonneville
6.   Today Could Be the Day
7.   Second Time Around
8.   Why Did You Sleep With My Girlfriend?
9.   The Next to the Last Waltz
10. The Child In You

Alt. Link 

These live acoustic tracks come from a 3-hour marathon radio session with announcer David Vodicka (one of those interview-plus-live-in-studio-performance thingies). The occasion was a stop in Melbourne on R.E.M.’s 1989 “Green” world tour, during which Peter played sideman extraordinaire. Later, Vodicka created and sold cassettes of the live songs as part of his “Fast Fictions” tape series. Apparently, he did this without Peter’s permission or approval. As you can read in his comment below, Peter didn’t think too much of the whole thing — but the fans get to enjoy it anyway...

Here’s what Peter said in Sept. 2007, in a comment he posted at (which is where I first heard about these performances):

“I was in Australia with R.E.M. and got invited to do a radio interview. We couldn't get at any of the tour guitars, so the disc jockey's friend provided a rusty old axe which popped a string early on. I honestly don't love the cassette, since I was never consulted about its release and still find it going for exorbitant amounts and felt the performance was iffy at best.”

Hey Peter, I paid a hefty price for a copy of the tape, but I think it’s worth it — and, if it makes you feel any better, anyone who wants can now have a listen.

BONUS FEATURE: Printed Highlights 
from the Radio Interview

Thank God for Bucketfull of Brains, the great indie/alt rock music ‘zine from England. Jon Storey & co. love The dB’s, and have had the good taste over the years to feature articles about, interviews with, and reviews of our heroes. In B.O.B. Issue 33 (March-April 1990), they published excerpts from Peter’s 1989 radio interview with Vodicka.

Here's the article in 5 high-resolution files ("Cool, Keen & Eccentric" indeed...). You may want to snatch them from the blog and use your pdf reader's zoom feature, depending on how good your eyes are. 
For the full multi-media experience, I recommend downloading the songs first & playing them while you read the interview.
Front cover
Page 1

Page 2

Page 3
Page 4

Friday, April 6

Stands for deciBels REVISITED

The dB’s 
Stands for deciBels REVISITED 
the debut album in alternate mixes & live versions

sound quality: variable, but none less than VG
BIG THANKS to lilpanda and others who uploaded or shared live shows I used for this post
Cover of The dB's iconic debut; still amazing after 30 years.
Stephanie Chernikowski photo; Victoria DeVeraux tinting

01 Black and White (alt. mix) 
02 Dynamite (live) 
03 She's Not Worried (live) 
04 The Fight (live) 
05 Espionage (live) 
06 Tearjerkin' (alt. mix) 
07 Cycles Per Second (live) 
08 Bad Reputation (alt. mix) 
09 Big Brown Eyes (live) 
10 I'm In Love (alt. mix) 
11 Moving In Your Sleep (alt. mix) 
12 [blank – 10 secs. of nada]
13 Judy (live)*
*Judy did not appear on the album as originally issued. It was first released on the “Judy” 7-inch single, and later added as a bonus track to some versions of “Stands for deciBels.”

1, 6, 8, 10, 11 – from Stands for deciBels rough/alt. mixes production cassette
2 – Cat’s Cradle, Carrboro, NC 1981-10-24
3, 5 – Philosopher’s Club, Winston-Salem, NC 1979-12-28
4 – The Ritz, NYC 1982-02-22
7, 9 – The Ritz, NYC 1981-06-12
13 – Maxwell’s, Hoboken, NJ 1982-02-26

front & back cover art included in the download

The dB’s:
Chris Stamey – guitar & vocals
Peter Holsapple – guitar & vocals
Gene Holder – bass
Will Rigby – drums

I had a great time putting this one together. The main inspiration is a special share from lilpanda. He has a collection of tracks tagged “Pre-Signing Demos” (c. 1980). However, after listening to them many times over, I came to realize they sounded a lot like the finished masters for Stands for deciBels, but with interesting differences. Certain instrumental passages I was hearing in these versions aren’t on the masters, or have sounds that are much less prominent in the final mixes.*

I decided the collection was probably from a work-in-progress production cassette, created as the debut was being recorded. It’s not uncommon for artists and producers to create collections of rough mixes before final mixing and mastering. I’m guessing this passed from a friend to a friend, etc., until it was eventually shared with other fans. Some versions in the collection sound so much like the masters that I chose not to include them here. (One, a great demo of “Dynamite,” was released later on Ride the Wild Tom Tom -- so go listen to it there!). For the live versions, I tried to pick tracks that married good sound quality with a great and/or aurally interesting performance. The live tracks are effective reminders how amazing Will and Gene are as The dB's rhythm section. They are the group's secret weapon and unsung heroes...

Stands for deciBels was released in January 1981 
— more than 30 years ago.


*Geeky observations about the alternate studio mixes, 
for fellow obsessives:

1. BLACK AND WHITE - You can hear the difference right off the bat in the extra reverb on the vocals and the prominence of the electronic (?) hand claps from the opening notes. In the master, however, the hand claps fade in & out, alternating with an additional double-time percussion part, like a fast-ticking watch. In the master, the acoustic guitar track is much more prominent in the mix (I'm not sure it's there at all in the alt. mix). There are other differences you can find, in this & the other alt. mixes (if you're the trainspotter type). For example, there's a tambourine part beginning in the alt. mix version at 2:38 that lasts about 15 seconds. It's not in the master mix, which instead has Will thrashing away on the cymbals in the same part of the song.

6. TEARJERKIN' - The difference between this alt. version & the master lies in which instruments are emphasized in which mix. One example: the main keyboard part is less prominent in this one than on the master, where the keyboard's edgy tone is put in the foreground. You can also hear it in the bridge starting at the 3:00 mark: in the master, there are added sound effects missing from this version.

8.  BAD REPUTATION - Like some other alt. mixes in the "Pre-Signing Demos" collection, this one's differences present themselves after repeated A-B comparisons to the master version. Some differences lie in the mix, which has less reverb overall in the master version. The rhythm guitar part is much more prominent in the master as well. Other distinctions are more immediate, such as the guitar solo at 2:18. It's also there on the master, but a different take is used instead of the one featured here. 

10. I'M IN LOVE - The biggest difference between this alt. mix and the master can be heard in the bass lines. In this version, it's a standard electric bass sound throughout the track (albeit played with Gene's incredible technique). In the master, however, the familiar bass sound is rarely heard. Instead, a rhythmic bass part played on (what sounds like) a keyboard is heard on most of the track. Also, a squealing electric guitar line is heard in the background at several points in this version, but very little on the master.

11. MOVING IN YOUR SLEEP - This one has the most subtle and hardest-to-detect differences. You can hear them mainly in the bass parts (some later sections were re-done for the master) and the mix (the acoustic guitar is far more prominent in the master than in this alt. mix). Almost didn't use this one, but then I realized The dB's never seemed to have played this song live (at least before 1988) — so here ya go!

Critics have noted that Stands for deciBels stood the test of time and today is widely considered a classic. One of the main reasons for its well-deserved reputation can be heard in these alt. versions: at nearly every point when additional parts or sounds were considered for the debut album, the band and their collaborators chose the more classical path, shunning trendy "New Wave" techniques and effects.