Friday, March 30

Bowery Ballroom NYC 2007

The dB’s
Bowery Ballroom
New York, NY
Jan. 13, 2007

audience recording (sound quality VG+)
BIG THANKS to the taper and ALL PRAISE to glenn s for the share!

Highlights: LOTS, but I think “Molly Says” and "If & When" make a great double-header.
Rob sez: I did a little sweetening to the tracks as received, and I think they sound quite good (if I do say so myself…)

The storied Bowery Ballroom in NYC
The Bowery Ballroom sold out for The dB's show in 2007

1.  Black and White 
2.  Dynamite
3.  Big Brown Eyes  
4.  Cycles Per Second  
5.  Lonely Is as Lonely Does  
6.  Ask for Jill
7.  Molly Says  
8.  If and When
9.  World to Cry
10. talking/tuning
11. Living a Lie* 
12. Happenstance  
13. Love Is for Lovers
14. In Spain 
15. band intros  
16. Neverland  
17. Let's Work Together** 
18. Amplifier
19. Nothing Is Wrong
20. White Train
       *Track 11 begins with the intro lines to "We Should Be In Bed"
        **Track 17 is a Wilbert Harrison cover (introduced and sung by Will as a song composed by a North Carolinian, sung in tribute by a fellow North Carolinian). Harrison was born in Charlotte, NC, circa 1929 and died in Spencer, NC, in 1994. His best-known song is "Kansas City," which reached #1 on the Billboard charts in 1959.

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

Andy Burton - keyboards

Find reviews of the show at No Depression  
and The Big Takeover.

H-Bombs (feat. Peter & Mitch) - Live 1978

Cambridge Inn
Duke University
Durham, NC
March 18, 1978

soundboard recording
BIG THANKS to the taper and batchain for the share!

*Keep scrolling for "WHAT ALL GOOD dB’S FANS 
H-Bombs members admit they had more flyers & 'zines than actual gigs...
Hank Numb photos / Jerry Williams collection

Repercussion: see below to read about the connections between H-Bombs and The dB's.

Highlights: The 96-Second (sic) Blowout medley is a particular favorite, but also check out the “freaky” distorted vocal effects on “Bomb Scare” (how many young, impressionable minds were blown by this one performance alone?!?) 

batchain says: Guessing this is from a 2nd or 3rd generation cassette. The band did record some of their shows to reel-to-reel. The sound though is remarkably good.

ROB SEZ: Those who know the 3-song H-Bombs EP get to hear live versions of them all here. I recommend you bring your sense of humor to this listening experience…

Disc 1
01 Intro
02 Death Garage
03 Wrong Kind of Girl
04 You Love It
05 Postcard Romance
06 In a Little While
07 Money from England
08 Mind Your Manners
09 You Told Me
10 Twilight
11 Danger Danger Danger
12 Big Black Truck

Disc 2
13 The Lonely Bull (Herb Alpert Cover)
14 Bomb Scare
15 Baby Hang On
16 Take Me Back In Your Arms Again
17 Looking 'Round Corners
18 96 Second Blowout/Baby What's Wrong With You/Seeing Eye Dog
19 Sixty-five Comet
20 Caroline
21 A Heart Is Not A Home
22 Dunbar Street (aborted)
23 Komm Gibb Mir Deine Hand (Beatles cover - in German)
24 B & G Commercial
25 You Can't Catch Me (Chuck Berry cover)

Disc 1
Disc 2

MF linx (MP3@320):
Disc 2

Peter Holsapple: guitar, vocals
Mitch Easter: guitar, vocals
Robert Keely: bass, vocals
Chris Chamis: drums


After the demise of The Sneakers, members Mitch Easter, Robert Keely and Chris Chamis formed a short-lived band with Peter Holsapple called H-Bombs in the fall of 1977. The few shows they did are the stuff of local legend in Chapel Hill & Durham, N.C. Other than one 7-inch EP released on Car Records, there would be no other H-Bombs releases — despite fanciful discussions of a double-grooved 10-inch album.

Writing for the essential “NC Music History Dot Com” blog, music journalist Fred Mills has this summary of the H-Bombs’ brief musical “career”:

Chapel Hill’s H-Bombs may have only enjoyed a brief existence — roughly, from the start of UNC’s fall semester in 1977 to the end of the spring semester in ’78 — but the handful of highly memorable gigs they performed, and their helping to jumpstart the Triangle punk/new wave scene, meant that they left behind an influential and relatively sharp-looking corpse. Not only did the quartet inspire numerous other musically-minded individuals (including yours truly, who didn’t pick up a guitar but did embark upon a career as a rock writer that, for better or for worse, is still going strong), in the wake of the band’s demise several of the cadaver’s vital organs were ripe for harvesting: Guitarist/vocalist Peter Holsapple would move to New York and join Chris Stamey’s dB’s, bassist Robert Keely and drummer Chris Chamis would form the much-loved Triangle combo Secret Service, and guitarist/vocalist Mitch Easter would eventually go on to Let’s Active fame.”

Read the rest of Fred’s most excellent essay and browse through the other stuff on the NC Music History blog.

Sam Hicks, in an online article called “How North Carolina Got Its Punk Attitude,” gives some background info on the H-Bombs. Hicks describes them as a “neo-punk group”:

“Peter, Mitch Easter, Robert Keely and Chris Chamis played at street festivals, around campus, The Mad Hatter (previously The Town Hall) or Cambridge Inn on the Duke campus. At the first H-Bombs show, Peter and Robert handed out 2-4 page ‘flyers’ called Biohazard Informae, which began a long history of 'zines & music working together toward a common goal.

“Although this band really can't be considered 100% punk, they were pretty strange, and would later play with punk bands who said they could drive a crowd away with the best of them. In mid 1978, with college over [Holsapple dropped out after year 3] and nothing in Chapel Hill but ‘the same 40 people to play to’, the band dissolved.

“The ‘Death Garage / Big Black Truck / 96-Second Blowout’ single (CRR-5) was recorded at Mega Sound Studio in Bailey, NC [with initial recordings taking place in NYC]. The single featuring three H-Bombs songs was released in 1978 on Car Records after the band had already broken up. Peter & Mitch are actually the only people on the record, but since these were songs Peter had written & performed with the group, the cover says, ‘Peter Holsapple of The H-Bombs.’ ”
Read the rest of Hick’s article at Perfect Sound Forever.

Here's what Peter himself wrote about the H-Bombs in 2004:

“The H-Bombs, which was me, Mitch, Robert Keely from Sneakers on bass and Chris Chamis on drums, existed for about a year or so from 1977 to 1978. There were a handful of gigs in the Chapel Hill area, many of which got taped apparently. There’s even a film made by Richard Kern (now a big name in NY underground filmmaking) of us at Duke University, performing with our friend Jonathan Sharpe seated in an easy chair, reading the paper through the whole set.

“Most of the stuff we did was either written by Mitch or myself, with Robert’s ‘Twilight’ being an exception and a brace of irritating covers (like ‘Komm Gibb Mir Deine Hand’ and ‘I Fought the Law’). Our first gig was at a Chapel Hill street fair, preceding the Apple Chill Cloggers (!) We had more posters than gigs. I would bet that Robert still has all of them somewhere, tucked away in his archives. Biohazard Informae, our little fanzine, was also a product of that time.

“I think it was a good band, but who knows? I was never in the audience for it. By the way, Chris Chamis, who served nobly as a dB's sound man for a spell, and I saw each other for the first time in years at Ziggy’s in Winston-Salem a month or so ago. Chris plays drums for an excellent Beatles/60’s band called Backbeat. If you get the chance to see them, do so.

“ ‘Money From England’ was about alleged cash that was supposed to arrive to help Ork Records in NY put out an H-Bombs recording. Suffice to say, it never arrived. I recently came into a live CD of the H-Bombs that is almost listenable! We sure had a lot of material!”

At the risk of turning a musical footnote into a PhD thesis, here’s a few lines from Peter and Mitch about the band in a 2007 feature story about Mitch by Fred Mills in Magnet magazine:

After Sneakers, Stamey headed to New York and started The dB’s, while Easter and Holsapple teamed up to form the H-Bombs back in Chapel Hill. Debuting at a street fair in the fall of 1977, their timing was perfect: Punk was in the air, and the H-Bombs’ marriage of pop and garage proved hugely influential locally.

“The H-Bombs was a short-lived group, but it served a great purpose,” says Holsapple. “New wave was just hitting the area, and we seemed to fit right in the niche.”

“I was a little too old to totally buy into the punk scene,” says Easter. “I was still listening to what Roy Wood and Jeff Lynne were doing. But I was pleased that we got something going on.”

If I get up a real head of steam, I might re-type Will's alleged review of a (mythical) H-Bombs album. The review was published in 1978 in The Daily Tarheel, the campus newspaper of UNC-Chapel Hill. I call it "alleged" not only because the album did not exist, but because the article was actually a reprint of a review Will wrote for TDH (using his nom de plume) of The Sneakers' (actual) album. In the review, Will turns flowery music crit phraseology into a low-brow art form...

Friday, March 23

Friday's, Greensboro, NC 1981 (guest post)

The dB's
Greensboro, NC
Oct. 20, 1981

audience recording (sound quality VG) - see upgrade HERE

BIG THANKS to the taper and ALL PRAISE to fantom for the share!
Like this one? G-R-E-A-T shot of the guys. 
I'm guessing 1981 or '82.
I am very enthused about receiving and sharing this amazing show. It's the blog's first musical contribution since launching, from fantom, veteran blogger and big-time dB's fan (his comments about the show are below). Fantastic performance, and the sound quality is just right for a show like this (there's persistent, but not annoying, chatter).

No less than Peter Buck of R.E.M. helps set the scene in describing the venue (from an interview with David Fricke in 1990, taken from R.E.M. - The Rolling Stone Files, p. 114):
“There was a place in Greensboro, North Carolina, called Friday’s. It was a pizza parlor, and the guy had bands play. It was an L-shaped room; you could see through the bar to the ovens, with the guy with the long stick with pizzas on it, and see us, too. He’d charge a dollar, we’d get 150 people in there, and we’d get the door. People would let us sleep on the floor. There were clubs like that in every city.”

Outside Friday's, long ago, on a busy night
Rusty Moore / LoudFastPhoto
(check out more excellent photos by Rusty Moore here)

A groovy flyer from Friday's
fantom says:

"This is the dB's on their first real national tour ("a bare-bones affair, with band, equipment, and road manager Jim Ford all packed into one non-stretch van" that "went as far west as Kansas City", swinging through their home state. The crowd's psyched, the band is excited. Check out particularly the interplay on 'The Fight'. Pal Mitch Easter makes a special appearance on 'Louie Louie' when it still sounds kinda fresh. 

"This set has a lot of overlap with the show recorded a few days later at the Cat's Cradle (, dipping into both material that the members recorded solo or in pre-dB's combos and in one case, what they would release after leaving the band - as well as choice covers. I believe my source recorded the concert himself and despite a bit of chatter between tracks, it shines through well.

"This leg of the tour was also captured the previous night on video It seems pretty clear from the set's length and encores that the dB's must have been the headliner at Friday's, but a number of R.E.M. gig databases list the dB's as opening for R.E.M. at the club that night. Granted R.E.M. had released their debut single of 'Radio Free Europe' to acclaim a few months earlier, but the dB's had released their first full length at the start of the year and just returned from a long summer recording session for their second in London and were playing to the home crowd."

01 Intro
02 (I Thought) You Wanted To Know
03 Bad Reputation
04 Dynamite (cuts out mid-song)
05 Big Brown Eyes (cuts in)
06 I Feel Good Today
07 pH Factor
08 Ups and Downs
09 Nothing is Wrong
10 The Fight
11 If And When
12 Black and White
13 Big Time
14 Judy
15 Tomorrow Never Knows
16 The Summer Sun
17 Storm Warning
18 Excitement
19 Time Has Come Today
20 We Were Happy There
21 Happenstance
22 Neverland
23 (bring Mitch on)
24 Louie Louie*
25 Death Garage*
26 Let's Live For Today*

(wanna burn it? good place to break b/w Discs 1 & 2 would be after track 14…)

MP3@192 (best available quality)
Alt. Link

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

*Mitch Easter - guitar & backing vocals on last 3 songs 

Sunday, March 18

The dB's at South By Southwest Fest

Chris & Peter belt it out in B.D. Riley's at The dB's showcase on March 16.
John Anderson photo / The Austin Chronicle

Sounds like a good time was had by all at South By Southwest, including Chris, Will & Peter (Gene couldn't make it, and Mitch Easter filled in for him on bass). Brett Harris filled out the sound with keyboards and additional guitar.

May 9Under the heading "better late than never," YouTuber garrde has just posted a video of "The Adventures of Albatross and Doggerel" from the March 16 afternoon show at The Gingerman Pub. Watch it here.

March 29: Just found one more review of The dB's March 16 showcase at B.D. Riley's in the Nashville Scene. The generally sympathetic writer, Mark Gold, was surprisingly whiney about the group playing so many new songs (which I'm pretty sure is what most artists do when they're about to release a new album...). Maybe he was one of the people who kept yelling "Amplifier," which the guys didn't play. In any event, the editors had the good taste to run this nice photo of Peter about to eat the mic, taken by Eric England:
March 22: Wow -- didn't expect to see a professionally-shot video of The dB's at SXSW, but here it is: 5 songs from their March 17 performance at Threadgill's in Austin. (Not just St. Paddy's Day, but also Will's birthday...) Don't know how long this one's going to be available, so I recommend watching it soon ... like now ... I mean, you need to hit that link immediately. BIG THANKS to Music Fog for posting it and to Peter for pointing us to it.
March 20: Chris M. Junior of Goldmine magazine posted the photo of The dB's setlist (below, on left) from their March 16 showcase. [MJ, who was on the scene and shot the six videos referenced below, says "If and When" is the only 1 of the 4 encores on the setlist to actually get played. Presumably, the guys were up against the festival's time constraints...] Junior offers some tidbits about the show that others did not in his SxSW wrap-up, here. The setlist on the right is courtesy of Blurt magazine, which hosted The dB's Friday afternoon at The Ginger Man pub. See more of Blurt's coverage here.
Setlist for 3/16 afternoon show
Setlist for 3/16 evening show (showcase)

March 18: Writing for, Chris Thompson had a glowing review of Chris' solo set the evening of March 17 with members of the Tosca String Quartet. Chris' many projects led one blogger to quip that, at least at SxSW, Chris had to be the "hardest working man in show business"...

Thompson reveals something I didn't know: Chris has a forthcoming album called Lovesick Blues! Poking around, I found these two rough mixes from the album that Chris quietly posted a few days ago: "You and Me and XTC" and "If Memory Serves" (later, they were removed from SoundCloud). Those posts indicated the album is being produced by Jeff Crawford. Neither one sounds rough to me...
March 18: Here are three great reviews of The dB's March 16 showcase at B.D. Riley's: the first is by Jim Caligiuri of the Austin Chronicle (who wrote the preview story linked at the 3-14 update below), a second by Parry Gettelman posted on Austin360, and a third enthusiastic report by Jim DeRogatis, a Chicago music journalist who's written about The dB's in the past. Teenage Kicks was there and also seemed very impressed.

Here's Jim DeRogatis' photo:
Got videos? The blog Musical Justice posted these six videos from the March 16 show. Two are from the new album, including "Kaleidoscope," a title not previously known. YouTuber cstoltze posted "Tomorrow Never Knows" from the same set.

March 16: Thomas Conner of the Chicago Sun-Times offered this description of The dB's March 14 show in his South By Southwest blog for the newspaper. In the same post, he also talks about Chris in his role as musical director of Big Star's Third live performance at SxSW and reviews the performance. (Bob Mehr of the Memphis Commercial Appeal also has a review of the Big Star's Third performance at SxSW with quotes from Chris.) There are 4 photos from The dB's Wed. show here at Austin360 (see photos 86, 88, 89 & 90).

March 15: This story by Gary Graff says that in its first South By Southwest appearance on March 14, The dB's played new songs "That Time Is Gone," "Before We Were Born" and "I Didn't Mean to Say That" (the latter had not been mentioned in any previous reports about the new album). (Love to read these upbeat reviews by guys like Graff who obviously get what The dB's are about...) YouTuber Leemoid posted "Neverland" from this performance.

The dB's (minus Gene, plus Mitch) play The Dogwood on March 14.
Dana Plonka photo / Riverfront Times 

March 14The Austin Chronicle had a South By Southwest preview story about the band, with a few quotes from Chris & Peter about the new album. Also breaks this piece of news: Gene will be replaced by Mitch Easter on bass for the SxSW shows since Gene can't re-arrange his schedule.

Friday, March 16

Alex Chilton Tribute 2010 (feat. Chris)

'Thank You Friend'
Cat’s Cradle
Carrboro, NC
May 28, 2010

(Chris Stamey, musical director)

soundboard recording (quality Ex-)

BIG THANKS to the taper & uploader!

DAMN. I'm really hating the thought of those folks who were frolicking down in Austin at SxSW Fest recently -- without me! -- and hearing the first of The dB's reunion shows since RSD 2011 in Atlanta (OK, the ones in Austin were minus Gene & plus Mitch, but you get the idea...). Anyway, I was thinking about how to console myself and remembered that I had this show. It features Chris, who was musical director, and Mitch plus Eric Peterson, who played guitar with The dB's during some of their live tours in the 1980s.

Uploader's notes: A special thanks goes to Doug Edmunds and Alex Maiolo for arranging this show. All of the show proceeds went to Future of Music Coalition, an advocacy group for musicians and their healthcare needs. Please see if you feel inclined to contribute. I've tried to identify most of the people playing but I know I missed a few of them. Generally the performers are noted above the songs they are playing. Also there has been a fair amount of editing to remove extended empty periods between performers.

Rob says: This tribute show is clearly a labor of love; but musically, it's a rather mixed bag. But all the performances are enjoyable, and some are true gems (eg, Chris’ performance of “I Am the Cosmos” on Disc 3.) Perfect sound quality from a soundboard master tape.

Preview article for the show, with comments from some performers, is here at IndyWeek.Com
Chris playing at a Big Star's Third live performance, NYC 2011
Ted Barron photo
The Magic Babies w/ Jen Richelson
01  Soul Deep
02  Cry Like A Baby
03  Don't Lie To Me
Holden Richard w/ Chris Stamey
04  Try Again
Jeff Carroll, Greg Humphreys, Lynn Blakey, Jane Francis, Ann Humphreys
05  Thirteen
Adam Price, Matt McMichaels, Wes Lachot, Doug Edmunds
06  What's Going Ahn
07  Life Is White
Jeff Carroll, Eric Peterson, Doug Edmunds, FJ Ventre
08  Back Of A Car
09  Everyday As We Grow Closer
10  -banter/band intro-
Jay Manley, Jane Francis, Doug Edmunds, Wes Lachot, Lisa Lachot
11  September Gurls
12  Jesus Christ
Tom Maxwell
13  Nighttime
14  Holocaust
15  -banter-

Stars Explode
01  -band/song intro-
02  Way Out West
03  In The Street
Lynn Blakey & Ecki Heins
04  -intro/#5 false start-
05  Watch The Sunrise
06  Give Me Another Chance
Chris Stamey
07  She Might Look My Way
08  -audience drummer request-
09  Downs
Jeff Hart & Mockpile
10  Oh My Soul
11  When My Baby's Beside Me
Doug Edmunds, Alex Maiolo, Missy Thangs, Tim Logan, Stu McLamb, Ecki Heins
12  Big Black Car
13  Stroke It Noel
The Huguenots w/ Doug Edmunds, Lisa Lachot
14  You Can't Have Me
15  -banter/thanks friends-

Mitch Easter, Chris Samey, Doug Edmunds, Pat McGraw
01  The Ballad Of El Goodo (Doug Edmunds - vocal)
02  My Life Is Right (Pat McGraw - vocal)
03  She's A Mover (Mitch Easter - vocal)
04  I Am The Cosmos (Chris Stamey - vocal)
Greg Humphreys
05  I'm In Love With A Girl
06  The Letter
John Howie, Jr & the Rosewood Bluff w/ Jay Manley
07  Free Again
08  Alex Chilton (P. Westerberg)
09  Thank You Friends

Alt. linx (MF):
Disc 1
Disc 2
Disc 3

Heartbreak Hotel 1984

The dB's
Heartbreak Hotel
St. Louis, MO
July 14, 1984

audience recording
BIG thanks to the original taper & glenn s for the share!

Highlights: a rare live performance of "Darby Hall" and pre-The Sound of Music performance of "Any Old Thing."
Nice hat, Will. Cool shades, Gene & Rick. Nice ... nice PEN, Peter!
Record store, Houston, TX 1984 (Stephanie Chernikowski photo)
Rob Sez: One of the earlier shows in the tour promoting Like This. So early, in fact, that Peter says the album is not out yet, and due to be released “next month”. The band sounds well rehearsed and glad to be playing again in public after a long absence. (Fair warning: the vocals sound a tad distant and there’s a dropout a coupla secs. long at the beginning of “New Gun”.)

1. Intro > Neverland
2. We Were Happy There
3. Love Is for Lovers
4. She Got Soul
5. Spitting In the Wind
6. Amplifier
7. Bad Reputation
8. Not Cool
9. Darby Hall
10. A Spy In the House of Love
11. Living a Lie
12. Rendezvous
13. New Gun In Town
14. White Train
15. Nothing Is Wrong
16. Black and White
17. pH Factor
18. Any Old Thing
Alt. Link
The dB's:
Peter Holsapple
Gene Holder
Will Rigby
Rick Wagner

Friday, March 2

KCRW-FM "Snap" Session 1987

The dB's
“Snap” Live Session
KCRW Studios
Santa Monica, CA
December 3, 1987

FM broadcast

Interviewer: Deirdre O'Donoghue (R.I.P.) Deirdre had an awesome radio voice and was a strong supporter of The dB’s.

BIG thanks to markp for the recording & TheCommish for the reup. I used Audacity to do some minor tweaking (noise reduction, etc.) But the torrent files as I received them were pretty amazing, compared to the crappy MP3 version I had for many years.

Fans of The dB’s seem to be split into two basic camps. Camp A believes the group wasn’t worth listening to after Chris left the band to pursue a solo career. Camp B believes the post-Chris, Peter-led dB’s made great albums and played great shows. Since I’m in the latter camp, I’ll be posting material from throughout The dB’s career. If you’re in Camp A, you might want to give this a listen, at least the abbreviated song-only set. It makes a good case that even without Chris (and even with a brand-new member, as with this session), The dB’s made compelling music.

Special highlight: Peter forgetting the words to “O Holy Night”!

New recruit Eric Peterson is the long guy with tall hair (Janiss Garza photo)
01 intro
02 Today Could Be the Day
03 banter
04 Change With The Changing Times
05 banter
06 Molly Says
07 Working For Somebody Else
08 banter and band introductions
09 This Is Where I Belong
10 White Train
11 banter
12 Amplifier > I'll Take You There
13 banter
14 Home For The Holidays
15 banter
16 O Holy Night
17 banter
18 Bonneville
19 banter
20 Spitting Into The Wind
21 She Got Soul
22 New Gun In Town
23 banter
24 Neverland
25 outro

FULL SESSION (with interviews):
Alt. Link

SONGS ONLY (very little chit-chat):

The dB's:
Peter Holsapple: guitar, vocals
Will Rigby: drums, backing vocals
Jeff Beninato: bass, vocals
Eric Peterson: second guitar