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|Origin||Erie, Pennsylvania, United States|
|Years active||1981–1984, as Prophecy (precursor band)
1984–1991, as The Stabilizers
|Past members||Dave Christenson
The Stabilizers were an American pop/rock band from Erie, Pennsylvania, founded in the mid-1980s by musicians Dave Christenson (lead vocals), England-born Rich Nevens (guitars and occasional keyboards), and George Hazuda (drums). Arising out of the ashes of the early 1980s band, Prophecy, the band experienced moderate national success upon the release of their lone full-length album. They are perhaps best remembered for their minor 1986/87 single, "One Simple Thing."
In the early 1980s, Christenson was the bassist/singer in the local Erie band, Prophecy, which also included keyboardist John Schaaf, who later joined The Stabilizers. Prophecy toured across Pennsylvania, Ohio, and New York, scoring a local hit with "Another American Rock 'N Roll Story" and generating mild record company interest in the process. However, the band, unable to secure a major label record deal, would not survive the mid-1980s, playing their final show in 1984; Christenson connected with Nevens later that year to form The Stabilizers with other members, including Schaaf on keyboards and saxophone, and Hazuda on drums. "The Stabilizers" had been the name of Nevens' previous band, during his time in school at his alma mater, Penn State, and he reappropriated the moniker for the new group. After continuing to tour the Pennsylvania area and recording original compositions on a 4-track recorder, they were signed to Columbia Records in 1985, releasing Tyranny, their first and only album, the following year. By this time, only Christenson and Nevens remained in the official band lineup, with Hazuda, Schaaf (who exited the band early on to attend law school), and other previous bandmembers not appearing on the recording.
The guitar and synth-laced album followed in the style of other 1980s bands such as a-ha, Duran Duran, Tears for Fears and Mr. Mister. The first single from Tyranny was "One Simple Thing," which peaked at number 21 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks chart in 1986 and number 93 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1987, helped by the band's performance of the song on American Bandstand. Two music videos were released to promote the album: "One Simple Thing", which was directed by David Fincher - who would go on to greater success directing the feature films Alien 3, Se7en and Fight Club - and "Tyranny", directed by David Hogan.
The "Tyranny" single failed to chart, and for the next five years, The Stabilizers disappeared from view. However, in 1991, an unreleased track from the Tyranny sessions, "Maybe This Time," surfaced on the soundtrack to the film If Looks Could Kill. Although no additional music has been released from the band since then, Tyranny has been re-released digitally via the iTunes Store.
Following the acquisition of Columbia Records by Sony, The Stabilizers signed a new deal with MCA Records, only to once again find their label getting absorbed by another (Matsushita). The group then became a casualty of this turnover and the prioritization of more R&B-based bands and were dropped from the label before their follow-up album, Teasing Enrico could be released. At this point, both Christenson and Nevens used their industry connections to become involved in digital audio, and both maintain independent active careers in the audio scene today.
- Dave Christenson: Lead vocals, Occasional Bass guitar
- Rich Nevens: Guitar, Keyboards
- Jon Schaaf: Keyboards, Saxophone
- George Hazuda: Drums
- Jim Nordstrom: Bass
- Paul Sullivan: Guitar
- Erie_Newscast.mp4 @YouTube.com (features local broadcasts chronicling The Stabilizers' return to Erie to kick off their national tour) Retrieved 10-3-2015.
- Richards, Dave (2016). "30 years ago, Erie band the Stabilizers hit the big time." GoErie.com. September 20, 2016 Retrieved 4-28-2017.
- Keep_on_Cruisin'.mp4 @YouTube.com (Sinbad mentions how the two had met on December 5, 1984) Retrieved 8-6-2016.
- Lewis, Dan (1982). "'Another American Rock -n- Roll Story'" Erie Star Magazine, August 1982. Retrieved 8-6-2016.
- Prophecy - "Another American R&R Story" Live 1984 @YouTube.com Retrieved 8-6-2016.
- Stabilizers - "Tyranny" Original Remastered by Dave Christenson @soundcloud.com Retrieved 8-6-2016.
- Billboard.com: Stabilizers: Artist Chart History. Accessed 2007-05-27.
- http://www.allmusic.com/artist/p14367 Allmusic.com