B-52's take their time with 'Funplex'

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DETROIT -- Fred Schneider blames the 16-year gap between B-52's albums on a lack of proximity.

"All our other records we basically wrote together in one place; now we all live in different parts of the country," Schneider said ahead of the new "Funplex," due Feb. 26 on Astralwerks. "We'd get together when we could, but it was a slow process.

"Some of us have been wanting to do this for a long time," he said. "A couple years ago we just started writing, and everything worked out."

"Funplex," which follows 1992's "Good Stuff" and the two new songs that graced 1998's "Time Capsule: Songs For a Future Generation," was recorded with producer Steve Osborne (New Order, KT Tunstall) over two sessions this year in upstate New York and Athens, Ga.

A couple of songs are being considered for the first single -- including the opening and closing tracks, "Pump" and "Keep This Party Going" -- and Schneider says that between now and the album's release, the B-52's plan to create plenty of visual and viral material to support the album.

"We want to do a lot of cheap, YouTube-type stuff rather than watching some tired video by a band," Schneider said. "It just seems more interesting. We want to do something that entertains us, has some edge to it and our fans will dig."

Despite the layoff, Schneider says writing the new material was a natural process. "Keith (Strickland) brought in music, and Kate (Pierson), Cindy (Wilson) and I jammed on it," he said. The sound is "sexed-up and hyper fun and danceable. It's a B-52's record." There's also a bit of social commentary on the title track and "Keep This Party Going," but Schneider said, "we don't hit people over the heads with it."

"We're just totally behind this record, and we think it's one of our best," Schneider said. "There hasn't been a B-52's record out in a long time. We have to fill that void that we left."

Schneider said the group has worked up about six of the new songs to play in its shows, which include a Halloween gig Wednesday at New York's Roseland Ballroom.
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