Twin Cities band The Suburbs still pushing boundaries in music industry

- The Suburbs have been going to town in the Twin Cities, off and on, for 40 years.

But even though they played one of their classic songs "Cows" during a recent gig at First Avenue, The Burbs as they are called, aren't ready to be put out to pasture just yet.

"Its fanstastic to have a new album after almost 40 years together. You can't tell by looking at us," singer and chief songwriter Chan Poling said.

"Its like having a baby. Or like having 14 babies all at once. A little painful. Painful but exciting," drummer Hugo Klaers said.

Poling and Klaers are the only two original members still left in the band.

Formed as a New Wave-Punk group in 1977, the Suburbs quickly became one of the most popular acts in the area with songs like Waiting, Love Is The Law and Rattle My Bones.

But after 10 years of touring with bands like REM, The Suburbs never broke through to mainstream radio outside Minnesota and the band members eventually decided to call it quits.

"It just got very tiring. I started working in theater and doing scores. Everyone went their separate ways for a bit but we kept coming back together," Poling said.

After reuniting for their first album of new music in decades "Si Savauge" in 2013, The Burbs are coming out with a new album, "Hey Muse", with its first single of the same name.

But this time, instead of going through a label or using kickstarter to finance the project, The band started its own website to raise $50,000 to produce the album and to sell their music directly to their devoted fans.

"Artists have been given a short shrift lately. There are large companies like Apple, Spotify, and Pandora that are exploiting the creations and intellectual property of artists and if there is a way to control it and get paid for your own product," Poling said.

"We have all this stuff that is there for you to use. Why not do it ourselves? Because it just seems like that we have complete control and we know where everything goes and everything lies," Klaers said.

"What we've learned is people want to be involved. They want to be engaged. They are fans of the music and if they somehow know they've helped make it possible, they are really happy about that," Poling said.

The lineup may have changed over the years, but the sound is somehow retro and modern at the same time.

The Suburbs hope their new business model will help them make new music for as long as they can.

"This model seems to work for us. The fans seem to like it. So rock on," Poling said.

The Suburbs so-called "Funraiser" runs until April 27, when they'll wrap things up with a sold out show at the Turf Club in St. Paul.

Their album "Hey Muse" will be released in June.

More details on the "funraiser" can be found on the band's website


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