B-52s bring 40-year anniversary tour to Hard Rock Rocksino

B-52 singer Cindy Wilson rewinds 40 years of the band and her new solo career.

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- A gimmick. A novelty. A campy cult.

Cindy Wilson heard all those things when the B52s took their beehive hairdos, loopy tunes and campy show onto the stage.

"People didn't take us all that seriously," says Wilson, via phone from her home in Georgia. "Then again, we didn't take ourselves all that seriously, either."

The B-52s singer and co-founder will hit the Hard Rock Rocksino Northfield Park on Thursday, Oct. 19 along with her mates, Kate Pierson, Fred Schneider and Keith Strickland as part of a 40th anniversary tour.

You've come a long way, babies.

The music world has come to exalt the B-52as a new wave institution. The band has scored a number of hits and classics -- from "Love Shack" to "Roam" to "Rock Lobster" to "Private Idaho" to "Planet Claire" - and is seen as a pioneer in the alternative music movement.

Wilson, on the other hand, still isn't taking it all that seriously.

"A lot of people didn't get what we were doing when we started out," says Wilson. "Probably because they didn't get that we were having fun - and we were creating our own form of it."

While America's underground music scene was blooming in metropolitan centers, it was still perceived as a cultish fad - if it was noticed at all - in places such as Georgia.

"We felt we were part of an underground movement exploring this whole trash aesthetic like bands such as the Cramps or John Waters with his movies," says Wilson. "We would go to thrift stores looking for the craziest clothes and wear them to be trashy. And we'd go to these discos all dressed up and dancing the way we wanted - just to be outrageous."

And obnoxious, admits Wilson.

"But we really found that there was this whole group of people that didn't want to part of the mainstream," she says.

Among those were the aforementioned Cramps, the trash-rock royals led by Ohioan Lux Interior. There were also bands such as Blondie, the Talking Heads and the Ramones.

"It went beyond music, because we were influenced by European films and artists and drag queens and camp and kitsch," she says. "It was this whole American trash aesthetic where you would take parts of this and that and create your own fun with it."

These days, they don't roll with the beehives, but the band reaches deep into its catalog of songs and remains proud of the kitsch and camp and its outsider status.

"I'm surprised how many people come up to us after every show that weren't around when we started and yet say the music  really helped them while they were coming out or feeling like they were on the alt side of life."

After 40 years, you'd think that Wilson would bask in the anniversary tour and greatest hits circuit. Instead, she's going solo.

On Dec. 1, she will release her debut solo album, "Change."

"I feel like I'm back in the early days of the B-52s, trying to blow people mnds with new music,," says Wilson. "We're starting over and doing these small clubs."

The disc, out Dec. 1, manages to cross 40 years of music Wilson has played with pre-B-52s interests such as '60s girl-group pop and rock and mid-'70s disco.

It also taps into a lifelong sensibility.

"I started doing this because I wanted to try something different, but also to relieve a lot of the stress I feel in the world," she says. "There are a lot of people that take themselves very seriously - and I'm blessed that I don't. Because once you do, you're a goner... And here I am still going."


The B-52s

Where: Hard Rock Rocksino Northfield Park

When: 7:30 p.m. Thursday, October 19

Tickets: $47.50 - $74.30, available at via Ticketmaster, ticketmaster.com

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Article B-52s bring 40-year anniversary tour to Hard Rock Rocksino compiled by www.cleveland.com

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