Thursday, June 09, 2005

The Suburbs

suburbsMinneapolis, Minnesota's The Suburbs formed in the fall of 1977. Their sound combined guitar, keyboard and brass with a funky, dancable beat and humorous lyrics. After releasing several singles, EPs and LPs on Minneapolis' legendary indie Twin/Tone Records, they became one of the first bands from the Minneapolis scene to get signed to a major by landing on PolyGram in 1983. Instead PolyGram landed on them. Label problems and changes left them homeless until A&M picked them up and a final self-titled LP was released in 1986. The band dissolved the following year.

In 2002 Guitarist/Vocalist Beej Chaney purchased the rights and reissued the Suburbs' first three albums on CD . The band celebrated by getting together for a few reunion shows in Minneapolis. The next year a greatest hits CD was released and once again they got together for a couple of shows.

Keyboard/Vocalist Chan Poling is now composing and writing songs for Film, TV and Theatre. He released a solo album in 2002.

In 2003 Beej Chaney released a solo album under his given name Blaine John Chaney on his own Beejtar label that reissued the first three Suburbs albums.

The Suburbs were:
Chan Poling - Keyboards, Vocals.
Beej Chaney - Guitar (Beetar), Vocals.
Hugo Klaers - Drums
Bruce C. Allen - Guitar, Vocals
Michael Halliday - Bass

You can hear song clips and see video clips at the Suburbs Twin/Tone Site and find more on the Suburbs here.

Since most of the Suburbs music is available on CD, this week's post is the 12" dance version of "Love Is The Law" that was never commercially released. You can download it here.


Anonymous david said...

Link is broken

12:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It sure is.

7:34 PM  
Blogger Eric said...

Link is fine - host is down. Host sucks. Try later.

10:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

God, what memories this song brings back! Saw the video for this once on MTV and I had to search out everything they ever recorded. What a monster live band they must have been. Thanks for posting this, it's a keeper.

2:17 PM  
Anonymous Ollie Stench said...

I saw the 'Burbs a few times back in the day. They were always alot of fun fun fun! Like a local version of Roxy Music, they started out abrasive and hard-rocking, and morphed into a suave, smoking jacket and martini cocktail funk/dance/rock band.

Polygram used the band as a tax write-off. When they finally got rid of the Polygram contract A&M did the exact same thing.

I saw one of the reunion shows a few years back and they are still as fun and tight as ever.

Chan now does music for commercials and soundtracks.
Hugo builds recording studios and other construction/carpentry work.
Bruce is a graphic designer.
I don't know what Michael is up to these days.

6:19 PM  
Anonymous Steven said...

What a fantastic band..I only wish all the tracks from the terrific Dream Hog ep were available on something.."Yo Sa Ba I I Noni" is a big fave from their "catalogue"

3:11 PM  
Blogger Michael said...

Awesome tune! Thanks for spotlighting these guys. I always felt like they should've been huge, but the usual big record company bullshit put paid to that. Those remasters are fantastic too.

12:00 PM  
Blogger Greg said...

Here's some randomness: Chan Poling just married former vice-presidential daughter and inexplicable TV personality Eleanor Mondale (who, sadly, has a form of brain cancer)

8:12 AM  
Anonymous Xavier Beaumont said...

Saw The Burbs open for The Records many years ago, around '80. The band called The Records was from the UK and had the songs Starry Eyes and Teenarama. From what I understand, The Records are still a band.
This was the original band called The Records, not the UK techno/house/dance band which is something stupid like 2 guys and a turntable.

11:20 PM  
Anonymous Dwayne Erickson said...

The 'Burbs were my hometown band when I was in Art school(I watched them film the video for Music for Boys in our experimental studio-this was also the theme song for Newton's apple tv science show wich was hosted by Ira Phlato)--from 80-84 I think I saw them 2 or 3 times a month--when my friends and I went to parties, we would listen to the records before we went, and put them on once we got there. The first reunion shows werre ok, but the shows at the Uptown Bar, the 7th Street Entry and Duffy's will always be the best. (I missed hem playing the Longhorn by a year)---so great to see them getting some recognition.

2:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I loved the Suburbs! They used to play at Kirby's in Moorhead Minnesota and we never missed them when they were in town. There is a car commercial out that plays a song they used to do and it brought a smile to my face. I had to look them up on the Internet to see what I could find!


12:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Suburbs
all but 1 Members of the Suburbs will be playing Saturday, August 27th, 2005
Free outdoor show 5pm-9pm on the St.Croix river in Hudson Wisconsin at the end of the jetty in Hudson

7:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I missed the Hudson show. Does ANYONE know when/where they will be playing next?? I LOVE THOSE GUYS!!

12:59 PM  
Anonymous Scieppan said...

Funny, I had a brainwave about the Suburbs about the time you posted this, but just found this post...found the live and studio versions of "Love Is the Law" and remembered how much I loved that song. Saw them at the Rainbow Music Hall in Denver in - god, 1985? Thank you for this update (and this blog!).

7:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nothing is scheduled as of yet. I will put a post here or at when the next show is coming. Everyone had a great time at the Hudson show, so that makes it more likely that there will be something similar in the near future.
Thanks to for sponsering the show. Look there for pictures coming soon.

4:32 PM  
Blogger Mitch Moore said...

The first time I saw The Suburbs was on a local Twin Cities late-night cable show, could have been PBS, probably 1979. I had just come home from an evening of inebriation and saw those guys on the tube. I had never seen anything like it--revolutionar. I was amazed.

In the Spring of '83 the "Burbs headlined a great outdoor show on Harriet Island in St. Paul. The opening acts were Let's Active, and who else? The final opening act, who introduced the "Great" band, the Suburbs, were none other than Michael Stipe and REM!

I think it was Halloween 1983, or at least in the autumn, and the 'Burbs billed a gig at the Cabooze as “Some Bears.” They played most of the night in full-length bear costumes. Unbelievable. Maybe one of the best Suburbs shows I ever saw, and I’ve seen more than I can recall.
They weren't eh first Minneapolis band to get hosed by a major label. The great rockin' blues band Lamont Cranston (Upper Mississippi Shakedown), another Cabooze main stay and band who should have made it nationally, got screwed over as well.

Lots of famous bands played The Longhorn. In the Fall of 1979, I saw The Police played there on their first US tour. What a show. I was an 18-year old kid from Rochester and I had never seen punk rockers, gay bikers, etc. The Longhorn was quite a place!
Mitch Moore

11:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The band is playing again THIS SUNDAY 9/25/2005 4PM at Target center after the Vikes game. Part of the Benefit for New Orleans (Restoring the rythm). I think tickets are 29.00. The Violent Femmes, Paul Westerberg, some of the bands are not listed on the official press release yet. Tickets are thru Ticketmaster.

3:28 PM  
Anonymous chrs said...

thanks for the word on the twintone videos -- beautiful. i'll have to find my way to that benefit at some point. i hadn't heard anything about westerberg -- is that for real? the lineup seems pretty fluid, but i would have expected something in the strib or citypages.

12:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Grew up watching them at Kirby's. Any way of getting the A&M disc on CD? Probably just a pipe dream.

6:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

They played at our prom - Southwest - in 1986. They were always my favorite band, and still one of my favorites after 20+++ years. How awesome that so many still remember and enjoy such a groundbreaking band!

12:00 AM  
Anonymous Sad to See it said...

I really, really hated these guys. I dated some blonde back then, (about 1980 or so, I guess,) and she made me go to quite a lot of gigs, raving about how "great" they were.

I just watched the youtube vid of "Baby Heartbeat" which I had remembered as "not that bad." I guess my memory is tainted by time, because that song is way beyond putrid.

I absolutely hated them, and rooted for them to never make it to the big time. I felt they set back the local music scene by years, and stereotyped our town as a haven for bad punk wannabe/new wave flavorless garbage.

Sorry to spoil the mood.

12:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The last time I saw the Burbs was at Grand Old Day in St. Paul in '92 or '93. It was a great gig with Grand Avenue packed. I wished I was older in 1980 so I could have seen them at First Ave. I tried to join the Facebook Club but its designated as only for Minnesotans and I live in Chicago now.

3:52 PM  
Blogger angelkhandra said...

I saw The Suburbs for the first time at Duffy's in 1982. The opening act was REM (I noticed that someone else had mentioned REM announcing them at another show)! I wasn't that impressed with REM at the time (although they have redeemed themselves for me since), but that was the beginning of a long love affair with The Suburbs. I have so many memories of attending their shows, such as dancing on stage with them at The Prom Center! I just heard about Bruce C. Allen's death. The real end of an era.... RIP.

3:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Allen, 54, died 12-07-2009 of medical complications.

1:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A very fine Minnesota band who took some risks when hair bands ruled (and sucked). Witnessed them at St John's Univ playing outdoors on the island - they appeared to be having as much fun as we all were (1983?). Very sorry to hear that Bruce Allen passed on. Music for Boys is still on my Ipod.....

4:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i stayed home from running errands a few weeks ago when the current announced they were giving away the last pair of tickets to the New Standards Holiday show. And then i won them!! They did Love Is The Law and i daydreamed about 'perhaps'....Two days later bruce was gone. I used to see EVERY single show they did for yeaes. Absolutely years. They played Shieks one night inthe early eighties and at the encore, Chan walked out and across the enormous round tables up front. I took the mike away and sang Chemistry Set. He LET me. He went back to his keyboard and I sang "I'm into chemistry and that's about it" one hundred times. I thanked the crowd, dropped the mike and ranout of there as i did'nt want to see an Ex who was stalking me. Hilarious. I really miss em. It was magical times. ed

4:12 PM  
Blogger Cotton Tales said...

I'm so happy to find this tonight. I'm still heartbroken about Bruce Allen. The band was a huge part of my college life in Duluth. I still remember seeing them shopping downtown at a thrift shop. My best friend worked for the college newspaper, so when she would interview them, I was fortunate enough to come along and take photos. They were amazing, fun, and the energy was infectious! Later in the '80s, I went to a reunion show in the summer. I worked my way up to the front of the stage...right in front of Bruce. This drunk woman kept trying to climb on my shoulders, until I'd finally had enough, and the next time she tried, I grabbed her by the forearm, and flipped her on her back. Nothing was getting between me and my favorite band!

4:25 AM  
Anonymous John Laughlin said...

Wow!....wild times back in the day
@ mtka high school with these guys,I
did alot of jammin at parties w/ Beeg,John Fuller( John passed away, rest his soul)Peter Flemming,Jim Siloway. I was always greatful to Beeg and the boys when we got to back up the burbs at the Longhorn in minneapolis. The burbs never had egos, they just really always had a great time playin there music!

4:30 PM  
Blogger Tyler Hoeg said...

I am helping Chan Poling and the rest of The Suburbs get their new album released. Check to hear the new single and pledge to the campaign so we can make this happen!

1:00 PM  
Blogger Lost in Cyberspace said...

The Suburbs still perform from time to time as of 2014.
This Lost Band website says the Suburbs WERE, it should be qualified, the Suburbs were, and the suburbs ARE: .
One band member died, and the logo design was modified adding an angel in his place,
I believe there are two new members performing with the original cast today.

12:01 PM  

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