The Herald Bulletin

June 22, 2013

B-52s bringing 'Love Shack' party to Hoosier Park

Song's shout took on different meanings

By Scott L. Miley
The Herald Bulletin

ANDERSON, Ind. — “Tin roof, rusted.”

Those may be the most memorable three words Cindy Wilson ever shouted as a member of The B-52s.

They come near the end of “Love Shack,” the wedding party staple that was the first million seller for the Athens, Ga., New Wave band.

In the song, the band is driving a Chrysler “as big as a whale” down the “Atlanta highway” to a rustic party cabin. The group bangs on the door. There’s no immediate answer and lead singer Fred Schneider yells, “You’re what?”

Wilson yells back, “Tin roof, rusted.”

Those three words apparently have more than three meanings.

In an telephone interview this week with The Herald Bulletin, Wilson offered, “People love to take words from a song and interpret it. You get the funniest things.

“We’ve heard people came up with legendary meanings for it like it was a meaning of a pregnant girl or a drug addict. All this kind of stuff. It was like, oh, my god,” she said.

“Basically when we were writing the song, we’d jam and come up with lyrics and melodies and harmonies. We’d jam for days and record everything ...

“In one of the jams, the music just stopped and I kept singing, ‘Tin roof rusted.’ It was so right and yet so funny and hilarious so we left it in.”

The B-52s will be in concert with The Go-Go’s at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino at 8 p.m. on Saturday, June 29. Tickets are still available for the outdoor show.

Earlier this month, The B-52s was forced to cancel shows due to Wilson falling ill.

“It’s one of those things that happened. We never do that. I just couldn’t perform. It’s something we hate to do,” she said.

Brother wrote her favorites

In December, Keith Strickland, one of the band founders 35 years ago, left the group on good terms. He wrote, “I will continue to be in The B-52s — I will just not tour. My barnstorming days have come to an end, but I wholeheartedly support Cindy, Fred and Kate’s decision to continue.”

Wilson said, “We left the door open for him if he gets tired of being a laid-back dude in Key West. ... I hate it that he’s not with us because I love him so much. He’s like another brother but it’s fine,” she said.

The band formed in October 1976 following a night of drinks in an Athens Chinese restaurant. They named themselves after a bouffant hairdo.

The four — Schneider, Kate Pierson, Wilson and her brother Ricky — were a hit with post-punkers. Their self-titled debut sold 500,000 copies thanks to the songs “Rock Lobster” and “52 Girls.”

They were riding the New Wave when Wilson’s brother died of AIDS in 1985.His influence on the band led Cindy Wilson to recall her favorite songs.

“Mine have been more geared to Ricky’s guitar work. He wrote and played beautiful melodies and it’s not the stuff people figure were hits but I love ‘Throw That Beat in the Garbage Can’ and ‘Big Bird.’” I love ‘Theme for a Nude Beach’ and ‘Girl from Ipanema Goes to Greenland’.”

After time off, the B-52s came back with “Cosmic Thing,” the 1989 album that included “Love Shack” and “Roam.”

Wilson said, “‘Cosmic’ was kind of a healing after Ricky left. It was a couple of years after he died. So we decided we would try and get together and see if we could write.

“It turned out to be very healing for us. It felt as if Ricky was in the room. It felt like he was there.”

She added, “And then with it being a hit was a major cherry on the top. It kept us going.”

Today, Wilson is married and the mother of two. And she said she was looking forward to the tour with The Go-Go’s.

“They’re good people. They’re awesome to perform with.”