By LA Weekly
By Henry Rollins
By Weekly Photographers
By Shea Serrano
By Nate "Igor" Smith
By Dan Weiss
By Erica E. Phillips
By Kai Flanders
Nowadays, Fred's content hurling prop cakes, cowbells and minipianos into the audience during elaborate fits of spazzness. "On 'Quiche Lorraine,' he can really get carried away," beams Strickland. The other night we played a private party and Fred got quite out there, very melodramatic, rolling around on the floor in agony, miserable. I encourage that behavior in him!"
With his nasaly drama-queen delivery, Fred can easily be singled out on any B-52's track, though differentiating the gals ain't so easy - even longtime followers are often befuddled about who's mellifluously singing what. Says Kate, "We can't even tell sometimes! Reviewing our jam tapes, sometimes we'll go, 'It's me!' 'No, it's me!' But Cindy always says you have to not be too precious about these things - no Jerry Springer fights."
As for the tunes themselves, Keith concocts melodies with guitars, bass and keyboards. "They're sort of at my mercy with what I come up with musicwise," he says, "but I pretty much have a feel on what they'll respond to. All four of us wrote the two new songs. It's interesting - constructing the music is something I feel like I do best, but I can really only play what I write, unlike one of these guys who can pick up a guitar and do a Beatles cover."
Between musical pursuits, Strickland cooks and gardens with Mark, his boyfriend of two years. "We actually debate on what to call it," he says. "'Boyfriend' sounds kind of funny. I like 'companion,' but Mark says that sounds like we're an elderly couple on a bird-watching trip." All the B-52's are hitched, although, Kate chimes, "We encourage fantasy."
Livingwise, the B-52's divide their time between Georgia and New York. Says Keith, "We're like this sort of semidysfunctional family on a road trip. Underneath it all we're still great friends - that's how we started off. At this point in our lives, making a garden is really exciting; the more mundane pleasures of life become exotic."
As well as whipping up a frenzy with their forthcoming appearances, the band's got hopes for a box set containing rare tracks and jam material, and many studio albums to follow.
And should Cindy decide to flee to party out of bounds again? "Well, everyone has freedom in the band, but we might tie her up or something," Kate snickers diabolically. "We're still a tacky dance band from Georgia. You can move to New York, but you can't take Georgia out of the band. Tofu and iced tea!"
The B-52's appear at Universal Amphitheater, Tuesday and Wednesday, August 4 and 5.