Thursday, August 27, 2015

wild planet

The B-52's were really tearing tar off the path looking over hidden driveways to find the insane strobe light of a party out of bounds.    As their eponymous debut was still climbing the charts, the band went back to Compass Point Studios in Nassau, Bahamas during April of 1980 to record their second album with co-producer Rhett Davies and executive producer Chris Blackwell.  The sessions for 'Wild Planet' featured Kate Pierson on keyboard bass, organ, vocals, and keyboards;  Fred Schneider on vocals, cowbell, glockenspiel, and additional keyboards;  Keith Strickland on drums, drum machine, and Venus sounds;  Cindy Wilson on bongos, vocals, and tambourine;  and  Ricky Wilson on guitars.   

Strickland:   "When we started, it wasn’t a scene. We moved to New York because there wasn’t really any place for us to play in Athens. It was all happening in New York so, once we signed with Warner Brothers, we went up there. Then, within a year, the whole Athens scene exploded—Pylon…R.E.M…all hell broke loose! Now, when I go back, it’s such a different city in many ways. Any given night, there’s 20 or 30 bands playing and Athens is not a big town. The University of Georgia is there and I think that’s the main factor in having so many young people there. It’s been happening in a lot of cities and college towns, like Austin, Texas...Certainly Athens was a “blue pool” in a very conservative, maybe not-so-open-minded region. Athens was very liberal and I was fortunate to come of age in that environment and in the years that I did."

Cindy:    "In one way, it was very easy for us because we were a group of friends. It wasn’t like being a hired performer to come in and be in a group. It was a bunch of friends getting together — artists and free thinkers. We’re from a college town, Athens, which was a great place to grow up because it wasn’t conservative. It was a very artistic scene there. So we came up through a more open-minded feeling, and had the sense of having fun and being outrageous and making each other laugh. We were lucky that we kind of came up through an organic situation like that...When we came to New York and people started coming to see us, I’m sure we looked like we were from a different planet. But we started getting an audience there and definitely hit a nerve, so it just became bigger and bigger after that. We were kind of our own thing."

Schneider:   "Everyone brought in a distinct aspect to everything, and we just did our own thing. First of all, we liked it, and our friends liked it, and a hobby became a career...We were pretty punky in the beginning. We were formed as sort of a punk group with our own twist. We listened to Devo, Ramones, Sex Pistols. We went to see the Sex Pistols for their first show in America. But then we also liked James Brown, mambo music, pretty eclectic stuff....When I dropped out of college, the last thing I did—I knew I was dropping out, and a friend said, for our creative writing, he was going to do a book of poetry. I thought, “Shit, that’s easy. I think I’ll do one too.” And actually, some of those poems became bases for songs we did later on. I wrote these things, and the teacher said, “Well, I don’t understand any of it. I can see you’re very serious about it.” And he gave me an A. [Laughs.] My friend was reading his poems about a white horse, galloping through the desert, blah blah blah, and I’m doing poems about flamingos and living rooms and stuff...My friend Jolene and I, we used to stay home on Saturdays and watch really bad movies and laugh. We were doing Mystery Science Theater in the ’60s. Plus I like surrealism and Dada, and that’s what I bring to the band....Our look evolved from the fact that we bought thrift-store clothes. It wasn’t like “Let adopt a thrift-store aesthetic.” We just didn’t have any money. Whatever people want to print, who cares? Keith had the idea for the B-52s, and he had a dream where this woman with this bouffant, which they call a B-52, was playing in a lounge band. We didn’t want to be associated with Hiroshima or anything like that. Then we found, Keith and I, somebody’s fake-fur pocketbook in the shop down there, and talked Cindy and Kate into buying them and turning them into wigs. That’s how our look evolved...I went as a hangover for Halloween once. I just had on a wifebeater and a seersucker suit and a pencil-thin moustache and a broken cigarette. So I just left off the broken cigarette. 

Pierson:   "We always dressed like this,  We always shopped at thrift stores; it was sort of a pastime. There was a whole group of us in Athens who'd dress this way. It's actually good to think that you're recycling clothes like this, too.  I mean, look at this new stuff,  So much of it is acrylic — or worse. I think this stuff will still be around after the earth disintegrates...We started wearing [bouffants] to parties — it was like the clothes. It wasn't a conscious decision to re-create the Fifties or Sixties or anything. It was just for fun."

Ricky:   "It really hasn't sunk in yet, this success. I sort of don't believe it.  I guess you would call it success, though."

Schneider:  We never thought it would get past our circle of friends in Athens.  We never had any expectations ... We're not trying to do satire...We don't plan to keep everything the same, for sure.  Just to be entertaining, that's all I want."

"Private Idaho" 
Pierson:   "Fred came up with the title. He started out with “You’re living in your own private Idaho,” and I came up with, “Underground like a wild potato / Don’t go on the patio / Beware of the pool.” [Laughs.] It’s all sort of dark and mysterious—and silly, too, in a way. But the play on words with “Private Idaho” was pretty genius, because we just played recently in Idaho, and it is a strange place. It was a really cool gig—it was outside—but there’s always something, I don’t know, a little mysterious and scary about Idaho. [Laughs.] I don’t know, I guess it’s because it just seems unknown or something. Sort of vast and flat and unknown. But where it talks about “watch out for signs that say ‘Hidden Driveway’” and then the pool, I guess it’s really kind of a reference to the subconscious being like living in your own world.    There’s a reference to a radium clock in there—when Fred says, “Swimming ’round and ’round like the deadly hands / Of a radium clock at the bottom of the pool,” and it’s kind of an obscure reference, but there was a clock factory in Athens. They had glow-in-the-dark dials, and these women were dying of cancer, and I don’t know when this was, exactly, but I remember it was in the news about how the women who were painting the radium onto these dials, they were licking their brushes before they dipped the brushes into the radium. So that was a reference to that, and kind of a reference to, I guess, environmental pollution and toxic things. So it has this dark feeling, in a way. And yet we sing it with such glee. [Laughs.] "

Hoo Hoo Hoo Hoo Hoo Hoo Hoo Hoo Hoo
You're living in your own Private Idaho
Living in your own Private Idaho
Underground like a wild potato.
Don't go on the patio.
Beware of the pool,
Blue bottomless pool.
It leads you straight
Right through the gate
That opens on the pool. 
You're living in your own Private Idaho.
You're living in your own Private Idaho. 
Keep off the path, beware the gate,
Watch out for signs that say "hidden driveways".
Don't let the chlorine in your eyes
Blind you to the awful surprise
That's waitin' for you at
The bottom of the bottomless blue blue blue pool. 
You're livin in your own Private Idaho. Idaho.
You're out of control, the rivers that roll,
You fell into the water and down to Idaho.
Get out of that state,
Get out of that state you're in.
You better beware. 
You're living in your own Private Idaho.
You're living in your own Private Idaho. 
Keep off the patio,
Keep off the path.
The lawn may be green
But you better not be seen
Walkin' through the gate that leads you down,
Down to a pool fraught with danger
Is a pool full of strangers. 
You're living in your own Private Idaho,
Where do I go from here to a better state than this.
Well, don't be blind to the big surprise
Swimming round and round like the deadly hand
Of a radium clock, at the bottom, of the pool. 
Woah oh oh woah oh oh woah oh oh
Ah ah ah ah ah ah ah ah
Get out of that state
Get out of that state
You're living in your own Private Idaho,

Livin in your own Private Idaho.

"Devil in My Car"

"Give Me Back My Man"

"Dirty Back Road"

"Party Out of Bounds"

'Wild Planet' 
full album:

All songs written and composed by Fred Schneider, Keith Strickland, Ricky Wilson, Cindy Wilson and Kate Pierson, except as noted. 

Side One
1. "Party Out of Bounds"     3:21
2. "Dirty Back Road"   R. Wilson, Robert Waldrop 3:21
3. "Runnin' Around"     3:09
4. "Give Me Back My Man"   Schneider, R. Wilson, Strickland, C. Wilson 4:00
5. "Private Idaho"     3:35
Side Two
6. "Devil in My Car"   Schneider, R. Wilson, C. Wilson, Pierson 4:28
7. "Quiche Lorraine"   Schneider, Strickland, R. Wilson 3:58
8. "Strobe Light"   Schneider, Strickland, R. Wilson 3:59
9. "53 Miles West of Venus"   Schneider, R. Wilson, C. Wilson, Pierson 4:53

11/07/80 - Capitol Theatre

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