Anytime anything – new or old – is released by The dB’s, it’s welcomed with open arms and ears. This band has been part of my musical being since I first heard “Bad Reputation” on my local college radio station in 1981 (and subsequently went out and bought Stands For Decibels immediately afterwards).

As it was previously announced here, October saw the release of I Thought You Wanted To Know: 1978 – 1981, a collection of songs recorded before the aforementioned debut, Stands For Decibels. A portion of these tracks have already been heard on Rhino’s 1993 rarities compilation, Ride The Wild Tom Tom – however, all these songs were given a lovingly meticulous remix (which took some Herculean effort) so that they would be of a high quality by band founder Chris Stamey.

If you’ve been a fan/follower/student of The dB’s, you already know these songs in their various versions over the years, but here, there’s a wonderfully fresh new aural landscape – for me, it starts with the Don Dixon mix of “Black And White” – a much more intense emotional wallop, which I absolutely love. “Bad Reputation” has so many more nuances that couldn’t be heard on the 1993 mix from ...Tom Tom. Quick note – although these songs were recorded in the late ’70’s/early ’80’s, the work done to restore them makes it sound like it was recorded in the now, which is stunning. The live tracks – especially the rendition of “Tomorrow Never Knows” – shows an intensity and more “new-wave” approach than the more-familiar recorded output would offer.

If you’ve never heard the works of The dB’s, this is a perfect place to start. Worth the time and effort for one of the most important American bands of the 1980’s – and one of the best.


I Thought You Wanted To Know: 1978 – 1981 is currently available

By Rob Ross

Rob Ross has been involved in the music industry for over 30 years - as guitarist/singer/songwriter with The Punch Line, freelance journalist, producer, manager and working for independent and major record labels. He resides in Staten Island, New York with his wife and cats; he works out a lot, reads voraciously, loves Big Star, traveling down South and his orange Gretsch. He's pretty groovy!