“Just like what Keith Strickland did after Ricky’s death, playing music is very cathartic. Cindy Wilson — best known as the famously hivey babe who pioneered the new wiggling B-52’s — says as she speaks with Yahoo Entertainment about her album second singles, worldswhich she recorded with producer Suny Lyons during the COVID-19 pandemic. “I use music as a way to let out my emotions. I’m kind of quiet about my personality, but singing has been a way to express myself and grow. It’s been really good for me personally in that way.”
Cindy says it while making worlds, she and Lyons tapped into “disco and new wave influences that would have meaning coming from me, what’s historical.” But the techno-leaning record remains a bit of an aberration for the 66-year-old singer — who, in one door closing/opening another kind of way, releases worlds Just as her legendary band was in Season Finale and Winding Up. (While the B-52’s are playing a brief residency in Vegas this month – starting on August 25, the effective date of worlds(Not at all — and the one-off spin-off festival show they embarked on an official farewell tour last year.)
Reinventing, renewing, and healing through the music industry is nothing new, of course, for Cindy, who along with the B-52 once made one of the greatest and most conflicted comebacks in pop history. After the tragic 1985 AIDS death of her older brother and bandmate, the aforementioned B-52 guitarist Ricky Wilson, they returned four years later with a fifth album. cosmic thinga major breakthrough that unexpectedly catapulted the Athena-based band of weirdos into MTV superstardom, thanks to hits like “Love Shack” (the video starred a young unknown RuPaul) and “Roam.”
“Oh, it was great. It was surprising, and it felt like a great vindication because we thought the record company had given up on us,” Cindy recalls of that rough time. “It felt very rewarding to perform again for the fans, and they were right There with us.”
The B-52’s ‘pre-‘cosmic thing album Satellite bounce, was recorded while Ricky was secretly battling AIDS. Only drummer and co-songwriter Strickland—who later took over guitar duties for the band, and taught himself Ricky’s signature, three-chord, spy-movie style—was aware of Ricky’s illness at the time. “Keith knows. Cindy says softly.” Keith, Ricky, and I lived together. I was in the basement of the building, the apartment. We had a garden there and I would see them, but we had a lot of privacy. I did not know. I could only guess what Ricky was thinking. Keith said he meant to tell me, but it happened too quickly. Ricky got sick, and it was in the early days of AIDS, and (progressed) fairly quickly, the disease. It was hard, and I didn’t talk to Ricky about it, but since I’ve grown up, I’ve come to the conclusion that everything is fine. I mean, I had the opportunity to have this really cool brother, and he was such an amazing soul, and we did this amazing thing: being in this crazy band together, touring the world. You know, as far as the sister/brother is concerned, that’s pretty hip.”
The B-52s carried on Ricky’s legacy with the release Satellite bounce Eleven months after his death at the age of 32, the grieving survivors—Cindy, Strickland, and singers Fred Schneider and Kate Pearson—hadn’t toured or done much album promotion, and the band’s entire future seemed in doubt. “It was very frustrating days. It was a dark time. It was just so terrible with what was going on with the AIDS epidemic and losing so many loved ones and friends. We were all so depressed and didn’t know what was going to happen,” says Cindy. “It seemed like the end of the world, really. It was really hard. But I felt good with the band—with Fred, Kate, and Keith. It was good to be with them.”
And as Cindy notes, the B-52 “always did things inside out and inside out, and great things happened to us too,” and that’s when the “unexpected” happened.
“Keith, who’s an amazing guitar player in his own right, and the way he handled Ricky’s death is that he moved to upstate New York on a pond in Woodstock and was writing music, and that was very healing for him. And so he called Kate and Fred and I and asked if We wanted to give it a try and see if we could play music and if we could work together without Ricky,” Cindy recalls. And so, we agreed: ‘Sure, let’s try it.’ We rented a place near Wall Street in New York, and it’s cheap, and that’s where we wrote cosmic thing. And it was really nostalgic about looking back on our better times in Athens when we were happier. If you listen to cosmic thingWith those ears, you can hear it (on tracks like “Love Shack” and “Deadbeat Club”). We wrote a lot of really great, positive songs, and I think people were touched by that. … And We had the record company behind it this time.”
It’s a great story overall, one that goes back to 1976, when Wilson and their bandmates were “freaking people out” in Athens. Ga. , and “People threw shoes at us, people threw bricks. We definitely had a backlash,” Cindy chuckles. “It was kind of punk, the way we were doing it. It was straight college town, but there was a soulful element there, with a lot of artists here in Athens, so we’d go to parties and get dressed up and be rockin’. It wasn’t necessarily sexual,” she said. But I think it just had an element of me being just having fun—hairstyles and wigs, just turning things upside down.
“Sometimes you can write off the B-52s as frivolous, but creatively, they were a very good band, how we wrote and got together and how the songs lasted so long,” Cindy says with no shred of humility, noting that the group proved their music Rock isn’t about “hardcore tech, it’s also about creativity”. John Lennon was an early fan, once even saying that the sci-fi classic was the B-52 “Rock Lobster” was an inspiration for him Impaired imagination album. “It was definitely amazing that he dug into what we were doing and thought we were authentic; we were influenced by him and Yoko[Ono]so I think he appreciated that,” says Cindy.
Another ’60s legend, Paul Simon, once had an electrified B-52 junior Rock Lobster performing in his 1980 movie Hokey One pony trick — the casting of singer-songwriter Jonah Levin was kind of a backfire, as the viewing audience was supposed to sympathize with and sympathize with Simon’s character, only for Levin/Simon to be completely blown away by the new wave newcomers. “He picked the wrong band! That was funny, the way it happened,” Cindy laughs.
Decades later, the B-52’s music, unlike the washed-up Jonah Levin, sounds as fresh and futuristic as ever – pairing nicely with the electronic music Cindy is now creating as a solo artist. (Side note: while Cindy “burned out of all the rounds” after that cosmic thing Because she was “still kind of mourning the loss of Ricky,” and took a “time out” from the band from 1990 to 1994, she’s feeling energized these days and hopes to tour solo in support of worlds.) And the epic story of the B-52 will soon be on the big screen as the focus of its own movie: an anticipated executive-produced documentary by super fan Fred Armisen. “There’s a lot of history, I don’t know how They will edit it all out, but it will be truly Interesting!” promises Cindy.
The story, of course, is not over yet. Looking back on the B-52’s impact, Cindy recalls receiving “a lot of fan letters, and then emails and Facebook messages later, telling us how much we helped people when they were in a conservative place or a place they couldn’t be themselves — that we showed them that It’s good to be different. That’s really cool, and to see the changes that were happening at the time culturally for the LGBT community, how it was starting to get stronger – there was an amazing energy. … There was a huge comeback for the (LGBTQ+) community, coming together after the (crisis AIDS).
Now, in an increasingly conservative age that reminds Cindy of the “ruined time” when “Reagan wasn’t doing anything to help find a cure (for AIDS) or anything else,” her unique voice seems to be needed more than ever, so worlds It’s perfect timing. “that it worst now. There is real hate. I’ve never seen him like this. “It just blows my mind,” she says wistfully. “Oh, my God, it’s a horror story. I can’t believe what’s happening. If you were to tell me this would happen during these days, I would never believe it. It’s just crazy. It’s treacherous times. But I just hope that people who are politically correct will come to their senses and see how much What can we lose.”