Concerts

The B-52s' Party Rolls on Through Phoenix

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Athens had no music scene to speak of at the time, Pierson says, and there was nowhere to play other than backyard parties. Another band suggested they send demo tapes to CBGB and Max's Kansas City in New York City. The fledgling band landed a gig at Max's.

"It was basically an audition night where you play with 10 other bands," Pierson says. "We drove all the way up there and they said, 'Could you cut your set short to 20 minutes?' That was all the material we had anyway. Afterward, we got straight back into the station wagon and drove back to Georgia. We found out later they wanted us to come back."

The band made the 818-mile trip to New York City a regular event. Eventually, with the help of Danny Beard of DB Records, the band released a single with now-party staple "Rock Lobster" and "52 Girls," cementing their musical appeal.

"That really put us on the map," Pierson recalls. "People started coming in droves to our concerts in New York and that's how it all blew up."

The band quickly signed a major label deal becoming the de facto party band for college kids everywhere. Though the band added new musical elements every now and then, the core sound remained, though Pierson says the band never intentionally tried to create anything in particular. Every song, she says, was part of a collective writing process based around jamming.

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Glenn BurnSilver
Contact: Glenn BurnSilver