A Quick Chat with Cindy Wilson on Going Solo, Signing to Kill Rock Stars & More
Cindy Wilson of the B-52s is going solo this week with the release of Changes, via Kill Rock Stars. Along with band mates Ryan Monahan and Lemuel Hayes (who Wilson met when she hired their Beatles tribute band to play her son’s birthday), Wilson teamed up with producer Suny Lyons to pen the record over the course of three years in her hometown of Athens, Georgia.
The album is out today, and we had a phone chat with Wilson a few months back about what to expect when you press “play.”
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On going solo… I had time on my hands. I decided to go in a friend’s [Lyons'] studio in Athens, Georgia and kick it around and experiment and, you know, just see what [me and my band] could come up with. It turned out really great. We started going in, and it became apparent that Suny Lyons, whose studio we were in — he had such great ideas, he had to be part of the band. And we started to figure out a great sound: working on songs that would be modern and experimental and really interesting.
We didn’t want to follow a B-52s kind of sound, you know. What I was going for more was just stretching my creative muscles and coming up with something different. And I was working with younger artists, so it was really fun to see their perspective on music — and their approach in the studio. It was a really great learning experience for me.
On finding a sound… The album took about three and a half years, off and on. We were getting together once a month or so — except at the end we were meeting a lot more just to really tweak the sound and everything. It was amazing because we brought in all these wonderful musicians to help fill out the sound and to just, you know, experiment, as I said.
We had violins and a flute and also a horn player. We brought in a horn player to do this really off the wall, Avant-garde kind of horn part that just took the music in a really crazy direction.
On working with Kill Rock Stars… We were going on the tour and we were headed toward South By Southwest to talk to record labels; it was our first tour out. We played Atlanta, New Orleans, Houston and Dallas and Austin. We played three dates there and did lots of interviews and met a lot of business people.
I met [KRS boss] Portia [Saban] down there. After one of our gigs, she said she really liked what we were doing. We felt like it was a good fit, and they were interested in partnering up with us to help us out with it. She was just such a wonderful help. It’s a real badge to be honor to be on Kill Rock Stars, so we’re thrilled to be doing it.
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