Minneapolis native Chan Poling was the keyboard player and vocalist with angular dance-pop group the Suburbs, whose music provided the missing link between the smart but snotty tone of the city's new wave/punk scene and the quirky but thoughtful funk of Prince and his associated artists. The Suburbs formed in 1977 and released their first EP a year later; their first full-length, In Combo, followed in 1980, and the band's ambitious 1981 double album, Credit in Heaven, spawned a nationwide club hit "Music for Boys." After the EP Dream Hog charted another dance hit, "Waiting," the Suburbs were signed to Mercury Records and released their first major-label album, Love Is the Law, in 1984. The album suffered from poor promotion and didn't fare well on the charts and the band was soon dropped by Mercury; a 1986 album for A&M fared little better, and in 1987 the band broke up. The Suburbs reunited for a few shows in 1993, one of which was recorded for the live album Viva! Suburbs! (Live at First Avenue).
After the breakup of the Suburbs, Poling devoted himself to a career writing music for film and television. Poling has scored several independent films, including Snow, The Toilers, and Bill's Gun Shop; his music for the broadcast documentary Iron Range a People's History earned him an Emmy award. Poling's music has also been used on such television series as Roseanne and Melrose Place, the PBS documentary The Revolutionary War, and the HBO special Back to Back. Poling has also branched out into composing for musical theater; he wrote the score for the off-Broadway musical Children of Paradise: Shooting a Dream, which was named Best New Play in 1993 by the American Theater Critics Association. Poling's score was released on CD that year, making it his first post-Suburbs solo release. In 2002, Poling released Calling All Stars, his first collection of pop songs since the Suburbs' swan song in 1986; he's also been working on a musical, called Heaven, to be produced by Kevin McCollum, who also brought the hit musical Rent to the stage. ~ Mark Deming