The dB's

The dB's are an American rock group, who first came to prominence in the early 1980s.[5][1]

The dBs
The dBs performing in New York on December 6, 2007
Background information
OriginNew York, New York, United States
Years active19781988, 2005present
Monkey Hill
Associated actsAlex Chilton, Richard Lloyd, the Individuals, R.E.M., Hootie and the Blowfish, Continental Drifters, Steve Earle
MembersPeter Holsapple
Chris Stamey
Will Rigby
Gene Holder
Past membersRick Wagner, Jeff Beninato, Harold Kelt, Eric Peterson

The band members are Peter Holsapple, Chris Stamey, Will Rigby, and Gene Holder. Although the members are all from Winston-Salem, North Carolina, the group was formed in New York City in 1978. In 2012, the band completed its first new studio album in 25 years and its first in 30 years with the original lineup.[6]


During 1977, Stamey played bass with Alex Chilton in New York,[7] and recorded "(I Thought) You Wanted to Know" with Television guitarist Richard Lloyd. A single of the latter song, backed with "If and When" (on which Rigby and Holder played), was issued in 1978, credited to Chris Stamey and the dB's.[8]

Holsapple joined the group in October 1978 after moving to New York City from North Carolina. Their second single, "Black and White", was issued by Shake Records in 1980.

British label Albion Records released their first album, Stands for Decibels, in January 1981, to critical acclaim but negligible sales.[9]

According to Trouser Press, the group drew from 1960s pop and psychedelia as well as 1970s pop groups like Big Star, but the songs by composers Stamey and Holsapple were too distinctive to merely copy their sources of inspiration.[10] While Holsapple was skilled in the composing of fairly conventional tunes such as "Big Brown Eyes" and "Bad Reputation," Stamey's songs, such as "Espionage" and "Tearjerkin'," tended to be somewhat more experimental and quirky.[8][10]

They released a second album on Albion in 1982,[11] Repercussion, and also released singles such as "Judy." These two albums were later reissued on one compact disc.[8]

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 with Bearsville Records, but distribution woes caused the album to be greatly delayed, and Bearsville folded the same year. Rick Wagner joined the band on bass, and Holder moved to lead guitar.[12]

The Sound of Music, their last album before their breakup, was released in 1987 with New Orleans bass player Jeff Beninato, founder of the New Orleans Musicians Relief Fund.[13] The album cracked the Billboard 200, hitting No. 171.[14] Beninato participated in the subsequent tour. Holder left the band to join the Individuals, and Eric Peterson was recruited on lead guitar after replacing temporary guitarist/keyboardist Harold Kelt.

Several albums were released after the dB's broke up. Line Records compiled Stands for Decibels and Repercussion with the addition of two bonus tracks, first in 1992 as dB's First/ Repercussion, then in 1999 as Neverland.[15] Ride the Wild Tom-Tom, released in 1993 by Rhino Records, collected demos, early recordings, and singles. Paris Avenue, issued in 1994 by Monkey Hill Records, was a posthumous album by the final lineup, based on demo tapes from the band's waning days.

Other projects

Following the dB's breakup, Holsapple worked as a sideman, serving as a full-time auxiliary guitarist and keyboardist for R.E.M. for four years, beginning with the Green world tour and continuing through the 1991 Out of Time album.[16][17] After leaving R.E.M., he toured with Hootie and the Blowfish[18] and then joined the Continental Drifters. He released one solo album, 1997's Out of My Way.

Stamey has released six solo records and has worked as a record producer. In 1985, the Christmas Time holiday-themed mini-album was issued by Coyote Records, credited to "Chris Stamey Group with Special Guests the dB's". It was later expanded to a 17-song CD in 1993, retitled Christmas Time Again and featuring contributions from Mitch Easter, Ryan Adams, Marshall Crenshaw, Don Dixon, and others, and then again as a 21-song CD in November 2006.[19]

Rigby played drums for Steve Earle and others, and Holder continued to record and produce.

In 1991, Stamey and Holsapple reunited (not under the dB's moniker) as a duo to record an album titled Mavericks.


The classic lineup of the dB's reunited in 2005 and performed two shows in Chicago and two in Hoboken, New Jersey.[20][21]

Also in 2005, the band recorded a cover version of the 1966 song "What Becomes of the Brokenhearted" to benefit the New Orleans Musicians' Relief Fund.[22]

Bowery Ballroom in NYC hosted the dB's in January 2007,[23] and in February 2007, the band performed at Cat's Cradle in Carrboro, North Carolina.[24]

In March 2012, Holsapple, Stamey, Rigby, and Mitch Easter (substituting for Holder) played at South by Southwest.[6]

Falling Off the Sky, their first new studio album in decades, was released in June 2012 by Bar/None Records.[25]


Studio albums


  • Amplifier (1981, Albion Records)
  • Revolution of the Mind (2013, Orange Sound)


  • "(I Thought) You Wanted to Know" as Chris Stamey & the dB's (1978, Car Records)
  • "Black and White" (1980, Shake Records)
  • "Dynamite" (1981, Albion Records)
  • "Big Brown Eyes" (1981, Albion Records)
  • "Judy" (1981, Albion Records)
  • "Neverland" (1982, Albion Records)
  • "Living a Lie" (1982, Albion Records)
  • "Love Is for Lovers" (1984, Bearsville Records)
  • "I Lie" (1987, I.R.S. Records)
  • "Picture Sleeve" (2011, Orange Sound)

Compilation albums

  • Amplifier (1986, Dojo Records)
  • dB's First/ Repercussion (1992, Line Records)
  • Ride the Wild Tom-Tom (1993, Rhino Records)
  • Neverland (1999, Line Records)


  1. Mark, Deming. "The dB's | Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved 23 July 2013.
  2. Runtagh, Jordan (8 April 2014). "Catchy, Loud and Proud: 20 Essential Power Pop Tracks That Will Be Stuck In Your Head Forever". VH1. Retrieved 31 May 2020. For many, they are the definitive power pop band.
  3. Staunton, Terry. "The Db's - Falling off the Sky". Record Collector. Retrieved 14 May 2019.
  4. Smotroff, Mark (1 July 2019). "Chris Stamey's Star-Studded 20th Century Songs Ring True for 21st Century Times on CD, Tidal". Audiophile Review. Retrieved 13 February 2020.
  5. Cateforis, Theo (2011). Are We Not New Wave? : Modern Pop at the Turn of the 1980s. University of Michigan Press. p. 144. ISBN 0-472-03470-7.
  6. "The dB's". SxSW. Retrieved 28 March 2012.
  7. Cornell, Rick (8 December 2010). "Chris Stamey revisits Big Star's Third with a few dozen friends". Indy Week. Retrieved 9 April 2017.
  8. Cost, Jud (1 June 2009). "Q&A with Peter Holsapple and Chris Stamey". Magnet. Retrieved 9 April 2017.
  9. Dahlen, Chris (21 January 2002). "The dB's: Stands for Decibels/Repercussion". Pitchfork. Retrieved 9 April 2017.
  10. " :: dB's". Retrieved 29 September 2018.
  11. Woodstra, Chris. "Repercussion - The dB's | Songs, Reviews, Credits". AllMusic.
  12. Gordon, Keith (17 April 2016). "CD Review: The dB's Like This (1984/2006)". That Devil Music. Retrieved 9 April 2017.
  13. "New Orleans Musician's Relief Fund - a grass roots certified 501(c)(3) not for profit organization dedicated to aiding New Orleans musicians affected by Hurricane Katrina". Retrieved 2013-07-23.
  14. "The dB's The Sound Of Music Chart History". Retrieved 29 September 2018.
  15. "The dB's - dB's First/ Repercussion". Retrieved 29 September 2018.
  16. "It's My Life: Peter Holsapple on the Life and Death of the Continental Drifters". 13 October 2015. Retrieved 29 September 2018.
  17. "Peter Holsapple on the dB's, Mitch Easter and R.E.M.: Gimme Five". 14 June 2012. Retrieved 29 September 2018.
  18. Holsapple, Peter. "No FLOTUS for Hootie: Peter Holsapple on playing one of David Letterman's final shows with Hootie & the Blowfish". Retrieved 29 September 2018.
  19. uncredited (27 October 2006). "It's Christmas Time Again With The dB's And Friends". Chart Attack. Retrieved 20 March 2017.
  20. Kot, Greg (9 September 2005). "Reunited dB's pick up where they left off". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 20 March 2017.
  21. Henn, George (24 October 2005). "A Hoboken Homecoming". Medleyville. Retrieved 20 March 2017.
  22. Boudreau, Mark (28 September 2005). "The Db's Offer MP3 Track To Benefit New Orleans Musicians Relief Fundings". The Rock and Roll Report. Retrieved 20 March 2017.
  23. archive (28 February 2007). "Live Review: The dB's/ Mitch Easter / Sneakers - Bowery Ballroom (New York, NY)". No Depression. Retrieved 20 March 2016.
  24. Parker, Chris (31 January 2007). "Chapel Hill's the dB's play Carrboro". Indy Week. Retrieved 20 March 2017.
  25. "The dB's To Release Reunion Album, 'Falling Off The Sky' (First In 25 Years) & Plan 2012 Tour, SXSW Stop". March 3, 2012. Retrieved 28 March 2012.