Any serious rock fan in the 1980s that was paying attention figured out fast that The dBâ€™s were serious business. In some ways, the North Carolina bred, NYC formed quartet emerged as an American answer to the U.K.â€™s Stiff Records crew (Elvis Costello, Nick Lowe, Ian Dury) mingled with the kinda hip sway Creedence pioneered and New Yorkâ€™s gleaming modern edge – a pop smart sound with plenty of bite and curves that shimmied around oneâ€™s head long after the needle left the record. Stands for Decibels (1981) and Repercussion (1982) are amongst the best that decade produced, and Like This (1984) and The Sound of Music (1987) are no slouches, especially given reassessment in the intervening decades. But gifted and instantly memorable as The dBâ€™s were they didnâ€™t last, and 30 years passed with Peter Holsapple, Chris Stamey, Will Rigby and Gene Holder making music under their own names and with a host of others.
So, it is with some surprise and no small measure of delight that 2012 brings us Falling Off The Sky (released June 12), a proverbial â€œreturn to formâ€ very few fans ever expected to happen. Without hyperbole, this album represents all that was good about The dBâ€™s back in the day AND moves their sound along a nice bit due to the years of experience and maturity now infused in their song craft. As ever, the tunes are smart and catchy but the emotional heft is denser and the overall sound a touch more lush. While often reunions like this so many years past the original time of a band are nostalgia exercises, a limp and frustrating post-script on oneâ€™s legacy. Not so with Falling Off The Sky, which rises up with new life, a harbinger of a band reignited and fully cognizant of the value of collaborating with these particular musicians. [For further (deserved) gushing, check out Ron Hartâ€™s rave for the album here].
Here’s what Chris Stamey (bass, guitar, piano, cello, Pro Tools) had to say to our inquiries.
- 1. Great music rarely happens withoutâ€¦
- 2. The first album I bought wasâ€¦
- Tchaikovsky, “Pathetique”? I don’t really remember but that was an early one.
- 3. The last song or album to really flip my wig wasâ€¦
- “Diploma” by Ryan Adams
- 4. When I was a kid I wanted to grow up to beâ€¦
- A musician
- 5. My favorite sort of gig isâ€¦
- Probably a string quartet performance, or anything involving a bass harmonica, or actual lions.
- 6. One thing I wish people knew about me isâ€¦
- â€¦that I’m very secretive.
- 7. I love the sound ofâ€¦
- A waterfall (don’t like the sound of breaking glass so much, but it is fun to see it shatter in slo-mo).
- 8. One day I hope to make an album as fantastic asâ€¦
- â€¦the last track on Sgt. Pepper (15k tone, the one for dogs).
- 9. The best meal I ever had on tour was atâ€¦
- 10. I always find the coolest audiences inâ€¦
- 11. The worst habit I’ve picked up being on the road all the time isâ€¦
- Being on the road all the time.
- 12. Led Zeppelin or Radiohead, which flips your switch the most and why?
- I like Radiohead a lot, but especially like them when they are
reminding me of Led Zeppelin (as on OK Computer).
- 13. The craziest thing I ever saw wasâ€¦
- George Bush getting elected . . . twice.