|Genres||Punk rock, funk, new wave|
|Years active||1977–1987, 1992–present|
The Suburbs are an alternative punk rock/funk/new wave band from Minneapolis, Minnesota that was popular in the late 1970s through the 1980s. The band frequently headlined at Minneapolis's most influential music clubs including Jay's Longhorn Bar and First Avenue.
The Suburbs were formed in the western suburbs of Minneapolis, Minnesota in 1977 following introductions by Chris Osgood of the Suicide Commandos. Following live performances, they released The Suburbs on the Twin/Tone label (the label's first release) in early 1978. The record was a nine-song 7-inch red vinyl EP. The band also saw two songs, "Urban Guerrillas" and "Ailerons O.K.", included on the compilation Big Hits of Mid-America, Volume Three. Band guitarist Bruce C. Allen did the art direction for the compilation.
The band's popularity increased during the early to mid-1980s, and during this time, their new wave dance sound, eclectic lyrics, and stage presence gained a following that broke out of the Midwest and reached both coasts. In 1980 Twin/Tone released their first full length LP, In Combo.
The single "World War III" (and its B-side, "Change Agent") showed development of the band's songwriting abilities and improved sound. A year later, they released the double album Credit In Heaven which added elements of jazz, funk, and disco to the mix. The single "Music for Boys" was taken from the record and became a radio hit.
In 1982, the band released a 12-inch single "Waiting", which frequently found its way onto dance club playlists. An EP Dream Hog followed on Twin/Tone, featuring three new songs and a remix of "Waiting" on the B-side, all produced by Steven Greenberg of Funkytown and Lipps Inc fame.
Greenberg then brought the Suburbs to the attention of Mercury Records, which added them to their roster in 1983. Mercury started by re-issuing Dream Hog. By this time, the band's live performances were muscular and funky, attracting rabid fans and keeping the band busy as an opening act for the likes of Iggy Pop and The B-52's, as well as headliners in their own right. In 1983 Polygram released Love is the Law, a harder-rocking album that included a horn section and some of their most off-beat lyrics, also produced by Steven Greenberg. In 1986, The Suburbs signed with A&M Records and released The Suburbs, produced by Prince's Revolution drummer Bobby Z. (Robert Brent). Frustrated by a lack of radio play and abandoned by the major labels, the band broke up in 1987.
In 1992 Twin/Tone released Ladies and Gentlemen, The Suburbs Have Left the Building, a best-of compilation, and in 1994 a live record Viva! Suburbs!. The Suburbs reunited during this period and played numerous shows in the Twin Cities, and have played on and off since that time including opening once more for the B-52's in 2003.
Summer of 2002 saw the much-anticipated re-issues of the albums In Combo, Credit In Heaven and Love Is The Law on CD for the first time (issued on the band's own Beejtar Records - distributed by Universal). In late 2003, the band issued Chemistry Set: The Songs Of The Suburbs 1977 - 1987 (a best of CD with a few bonus tracks and a DVD of their 2002 performances at Minneapolis' First Avenue).
In 2004, Chan Poling formed The New Standards with John Munson and Steve Roehm.
In July 2011 the Suburbs and the Suicide Commandos played two shows, one in Minneapolis and one in Duluth Minnesota. They also launched "The Suburbs Band" website at this time.
On September 8, 2012, the Suburbs played a concert at The Majestic Theatre in Madison, Wisconsin. Three of the original members of the band, Chan Poling, Hugo Klaers, and Blaine John "Beej" Chaney played a set of old favorites (e.g., Waiting, Music for Boys, Cows, and Love is the Law) and a few new ones too. The music was anchored by the drumming of Klaers, the lead singing and keyboards of Poling, and the ever enigmatic presence of Beej with his raw vocals and lead guitar. The stage was rounded out by the other newer bandmates on bass and guitar (in place of Bruce C. Allen, who died in 2009, and Michael Halliday) and a three-piece horn section—featuring two saxophones (Max Ray and his wife) and a trumpet. The Suburbs trademark black-and-white banner with 5-man icon logo was modified from its original form to include angel's wings on one of the icons and black "BC" arm bands on the other four icons in recognition of their fallen bandmate, Bruce C. Allen.
The band's song "Love is the Law" was adopted as a theme song for the same sex marriage movement in Minnesota . Following the signing of the bill on May 14, 2013 a celebration was held in downtown St Paul where the song was performed by a lineup including Poling, Klaers and Chris Osgood. St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman joined in on guitar.
On November 19, 2013 Si Sauvage, the band’s first new release in 27 years, was released. Si Sauvage features founding members Poling, Hugo Klaers, and Blaine John “Beej” Chaney, plus new bandmates Steve Brantseg and Steve Price and special guest vocalists like Janey Winterbauer and Aby Wolf. It was mixed and is in the process of being mastered by Chuck Zwicky (who also worked on the latest Soul Asylum record), and the band plans to put it out on both CD and vinyl.
On August 26, 2014, the Suburbs announced on their Facebook page that founding member Beej Chaney was taking a leave of absence:
We have some news: Beej Chaney is taking a leave of absence from the band to take care of some health and personal issues that have been weighing heavily on his mind and body. Hugo, Chan, all The Steve's, Max and Rochelle, Jeff, Larry, Loren and the whole Suburbs camp wish Beej strength and healing. We hope you will support him on that path.
- Bruce C. Allen (died 12/7/2009): Guitar, Vocals
- Chan Poling: Keyboards, Vocals
- Michael Halliday: Bass
- Hugo Klaers: Drums, Vocals
- Blaine John "Beej" Chaney: Guitar (Beejtar), Vocals
- The Suburbs EP (Twin/Tone 1978)
- In Combo (Twin/Tone 1980)
- Credit in Heaven (Twin/Tone 1981)
- Dream Hog EP (Twin/Tone 1982)
- Dream Hog EP (Mercury/Polygram 1982)
- Love Is The Law (Mercury/Polygram 1984)
- Suburbs (A&M 1986)
- Ladies and Gentlemen, The Suburbs Have Left The Building (Twin/Tone 1992)
- Viva! Suburbs! Live at First Avenue (Twin/Tone 1994)
- Chemistry Set: Songs Of The Suburbs 1977-1987 (Beejtar/Universal 2003) (Best Of CD & Live DVD)
- High Fidelity Boys - Live 1979 (Garage D'or 2006)
- Si Sauvage (August 27, 2013)
- "World War III" (Twin/Tone 1979)
- "Music For Boys" (Twin/Tone 1982)
- "Waiting" (Twin/Tone 1982)
- "Love Is The Law" (Mercury/Polygram 1984)
- "Rattle My Bones" (Mercury/Polygram 1984)
- "Life Is Like" (A&M 1986)
- "#9" (A&M 1986)
- "Heart Of Gold" (A&M 1986)
- "Little Man's Gonna Fall" (Buy Records 1987)
- "Turn the Radio On" (2013)
- The Suburbs were voted among the "100 Most Influential Minnesota Musical Entities of the Twentieth Century" by The Minneapolis Star Tribune.
- Chan Poling was voted #6 in Rake Magazine's "Favorite Minnesota Rockers" poll (alongside Prince, Bob Dylan, and Paul Westerberg).
- The Minnesota Music Awards honored Chan Poling with their POP (Perpetually Outstanding Performer) Award.
- In 1993, the song "Love is the Law" was featured during Darlene's prom dance scene during the season 5 episode "Promises, Promises" of the sitcom Roseanne.
- "Rattle My Bones" was featured in a television ad for Target, and is also played during Minnesota Vikings home games.
- Jon Bream (January 27, 2002). Suburban sprawl: Musical adventurer Chan Poling makes his first solo pop CD. Star Tribune. Archived version at Chan Poling's website.
- (September 25, 2002). The Suburbs: At Long Last, the 'Burbs Return to the Cities. Pulse of the Twin Cities.
- (January 27, 2002). The Suburbs/Chan Poling discography. Minneapolis Star Tribune.
- Minneapolis Music Collection: Band Histories. Minnesota Historical Society.
- (July 12, 2011). Chan Poling talks '80s nostalgia, the New Standards, and the possibility of a new album. Citypages
- Andrea Swensson (December 8, 2009). "Suburbs guitarist Bruce C. Allen dead at 54". blogs.citypages.com. Retrieved October 13, 2013.
- JON BREAM (December 15, 2009). "Continued: Bruce Allen, 54, guitarist for the Suburbs". www.startribune.com. Retrieved October 13, 2013.