Next | Previous
1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11
At some point in 1979 the decision was made to shorten the name to The dBs, and devote more or less equal time to Chriss and Peters songs. Peter gradually began playing more guitar and less organ; although the Acetone maintained its spot onstage until Chris left the band, all the songs that featured organ were by Chris (and covers such as "Last Night," "Take Five," and "Tomorrow Never Knows").
The band acquired something of a reputation in its early days for equipment mishap/breakdown. Amps that suddenly stopped working, cymbal stands falling over, radio reception in the middle of songs . . . one just never knew what to expect at a dBs show. Editor/publisher Andy Schwartz penned a holiday poem in the Rocker mentioning bands and scenesters around at the time, in which he hoped that for Christmas "The dBs get new amps."
Attempts to interest record companies continued, albeit without management representation. Betrock championed the cause tirelessly, and there were other supporters within the industry, but the general reaction was that the band needed more polish, professionalism, an image. "Quirky" was the adjective most frequently used in articles and reviews about The dBs, a tag that proved hard to shake and a word still rather unpopular with former members.
In 1980 The dBs became one of the first of dozens of bands that took up rehearsal space in a building on 8th Avenue that had been full of tiny clothing manufacturers in the heart of the Fashion District. The Music Building, as it came to be known, was cleared of giant weaving machines (and the DC current used to run them) and rooms rented out to bands. This would remain the place the band rehearsed until 1987.
(The guy that was in charge can lay claim to a small bit of dBs history, although hell never know it. At a first meeting to check out the place, Gene and Will were left speechless when, out of the blue, he picked up two rolls of toilet paper from the storage area his office shared and started talking about the woman he had gone out with the previous evening: "She was like this [toilet paper rolls on chest] . . . and like this [on buttocks]!" This was a longtime source of amusement in the band; years later his words were immortalized in an album title, and are in the runoff grooves on the LP.)
The building was (and probably still is) twelve floors of cacophony, especially on weeknights when fewer bands had gigs and so rehearsed. Madonna had a space there (and famously used it for a crash pad something various members of The dBs also occasionally resorted to, especially Will); the Fleshtones, the Del-Lords, and hundreds of other bands came and went. The elevators broke down regularly, as did the toilets.
There was something of a community atmosphere, though the musicians were not necessarily sympatico musically, and it certainly had an only-in-New-York quality. One night when the door to The dBs room was ajar, Andy Warhol wandered in with his retinue of beautiful boys, asked a couple of questions, and wandered back out. One sad night at the end of rehearsal, on the way out the halls were abuzz with news that John Lennon had been shot an event that took place less than two miles away, straight up Eighth Avenue.