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Saturday, 25 March 2017

Rewind: Funplex - The B-52s (2008)


Funplex - The B-52s 
Produced by Steve Osbourne and The B-52s
US Chart #11
UK Chart #73

    Fred Schneider – lead vocals
    Kate Pierson – backing vocals
    Cindy Wilson – backing vocals
    Keith Strickland – guitar
    Tracy Wormworth – bass
    Sterling Campbell – drums
    Paul Gordon – keyboards

Pink Cover
There were a couple of variations to the cover for some releases in the US

Rainbow Cover

In the States at Target a special Limited 2CD Edition was exclusively available. It included five classic tracks performed live by The B-52s:

 2-01 Party Out Of Bounds (Live) 3:46
2-02 Channel Z (Live) 5:28
2-03 Roam (Live) 5:16
2-04 Strobe Light (Live) 4:40
2-05 Rock Lobster (Live) 5:33

All were recorded Live at The Roxy in Los Angeles 16th November 2007 (Here's an interview with the band and a few songs from the show, not necessarily the ones that were released as part of the Target Limited 2CD Edition)

On iTunes there were two exclusive Live Tracks from the same show on their Exclusive Deluxe Version:
     12. Private Idaho (Live at the Roxy) – 4:00
    13. Planet Claire (Live at the Roxy) – 5:28

Promos From Funplex
There were no Singles as such released from the album but there were a couple of Promo Singles anda video for the title track.


The B-52s Glasgow Academy 
21st June 2008
Photo by Doug Watson (Me)

16 years is a long time to wait for an album of totally new music from an artist you like but like many fans of The B-52s I bided my time hoping that one day they would release a follow up to the excellent Good Stuff album!

Within those 16 years of waiting there had been little to hope that it would become a reality. There was a couple of new songs on the Time Capsule: Songs For A Future Generation Compilation in 1998 (Debbie and Hallucinating Pluto), there was also the awful Meet The Flintstones single released as The BC-52's in 1993 (which shockingly is their second highest placed single in the UK reaching #3!) and yet another compilation in 2002 (Nude On The Moon: The B-52's Anthology - Rhino) that contained absolutely nothing new apart from some new Edits, Mixes, a couple of live tracks and an unreleased Outtake Version of Queen of Las Vegas from the Whammy! sessions. Add to that the song The Chosen One (recorded for PokΓ©mon the Movie 2000 Soundtrack), a parody version of Love Shack called Glove Slap for The Simpsons in 1999, Orange You Glad It's Summer for an advert for Target in 2002 and in 1996 Cindy Wilson and Kate Pierson also recorded a cover of McFadden and Whitehead's Ain't No Stopping Us Now for the movie Soundtrack of The Associate (starring Whoppi Goldberg) and that was also the year that Cindy rejoined the band. All through this time the band were still playing live.

It's one of the things that irritates me a little when I see bands out on the road with no new material out for years and it's almost like a going through the motions just to make a buck or two! They just delve deep (depending on how many songs they have) into the back catalogue and put together a basic set of crowd pleasers and seem to do that year in year out! As a fan it's rather frustrating because you are just longing for something, anything that might be new!

Anyway, back on point, Funplex was recorded over the course of two years (2006-2007) and in 2007 they were already playing a few new songs in their sets which was brilliant for the fans. Keith Strickland was inspired to create an updated sound for the band and had encouraged them to get Steve Osbourne in to produce after he had been listening to New Order's album Get Ready. Strickland wrote the music and Fred Schneider, Cindy Wilson (making her recording return to the band for the first time since 1989's Cosmic Thing) and Kate Pierson came up with the lyrics, harmonies etc.

Whilst it's not a bad album it was going to be hard to top the likes of their Debut Album, Wild Planet, Cosmic Thing or even Good Stuff. The album entered the US Charts at #11 and was their second highest place chart album - Cosmic Thing had reached #4. In the UK it didn't do so well chartwise not even making the Top 50! Their previous two albums had both stalled at #8 so only making it to #73 was a huge letdown! Despite that there's a few quality songs on it and the return of Cindy Wilson certainly added to the likeability factor for it.

I saw them on the tour for the album in Glasgow and they were really exceptional playing a mix of Classic tunes but also a number of tracks from the new album. Here's a few of the photos I took that night.

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