Local Wire

The B-52s @ Talking Stick Resort

The B-52s' funky, flirty, and groovalicious party sound is as unmistakable today as it was when the band formed unexpectedly in 1976, after the founding members downed a flaming volcano drink at an Athens, Georgia, restaurant. "We never planned on having a band. We were friends and crashed parties together in Athens and hung out," says Kate Pierson. "One night, we went to the Chinese restaurant and we had very little money to eat, so we thought we'd share this drink . . . We went over to a friend's house and started jamming and . . . that's how it happened — the magic drink." After the success of "Rock Lobster" and a major-label deal, they became the de facto party band for college kids everywhere. Every song, Pierson says, was part of a collective writing process based around jamming. "The style of jamming, the way we did it that [first] night, became the template for the way we always wrote. You let it flow and get into a Zen place . . . You never know what's going to happen; there's no control over it. Then we piece it together. It's like a collage. There's very little point in trying to say we're going to make this a normal song."

KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Glenn BurnSilver
Contact: Glenn BurnSilver