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Riffs, Rants and Rumors: The dB’s Amp It Up Again

It only took Francis Ford Coppola two years to follow The Godfather with Godfather II. Even less time separated Charles Dickens’ last serialized installment of David Copperfield and his first for Bleak House. Sometimes artists are able to pick up where they left off pretty quickly, even if their previous project was one of the key works of their career. Other times, however, one has to wait a while for the follow-up to come around. The original lineup of The dB’s definitely fall into the latter camp. It’s taken thirty years for frontmen Chris Stamey and Peter Holsapple—along with bassist Gene Holder and drummer Will Rigby—to finally concoct a successor to Repercussion, their second record together, but now that Falling Off The Sky is set to arrive at last, the faithful are breathing heavy sighs of relief.

All four dB’s were North Carolina boys who grew up playing together in various bands throughout the ’70s before deciding to search for the brass ring in New York in 1978. Heavily influenced by Big Star—Stamey had briefly worked with that band’s mastermind, Alex Chilton, and Holsapple had recorded with Big Star sideman Richard Rosebrough—The dB’s already had a distinct power-pop orientation when they arrived on New York’s nascent new wave scene. So were The dB’s a new wave band? “I guess so, yeah,” allows Holsapple in retrospect, “for lack of a better word. I mean, we’d been making records [in other incarnations] before there was a new wave, back when new wave was a French cinema term, so I guess we sort of fell into that. We certainly weren’t new romantics. For years we sort of rejected the power-pop moniker, just because it seems very limiting, but realistically I guess you would have to say that’s exactly what we were. At this point you can call it anything, I mainly just want people to enjoy it and hear it for what it is.”

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