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Fred Schneider of the B-52s sings Harry Nilsson’s ‘Coconut’ with two different Nineties supergroups
10.05.2017
07:38 am
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People usually look at me skeptically when I put a copy of Fred Schneider’s second Reprise album in their hands and command them to buy it. The reaction used to puzzle me, but now I think I understand: the retail price of a used CD of Just…Fred hovers around $1. While this price point makes us old folks of slender means rise from our Rascal electric scooters and dance in the Kmart aisles, fanning the air with fistfuls of coupons, today’s jaded shoppers read such a heavily discounted sticker as a guarantee of worthlessness. So I am taking a different tack. I hereby command you to purchase the rare white vinyl pressing of Just…Fred, which starts at $49.99 and goes for up to $199.98, so you can truly appreciate its quality.

I’m not kidding. Those who know, know. In a sane world, the Steve Albini-produced masterpiece would have a place on every American mantel, and there would be compulsory shining of its cover once a week. Backing Fred on the momentous solo joint were Shadowy Men On A Shadowy Planet, Six Finger Satellite, and an ad hoc supergroup called Deadly Cupcake, comprising the Didjits’ Rick Sims on guitar, Tar’s Tom Zaluckyj on bass, and the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion’s Russell Simins on drums. This last band propelled the album’s four-minute cover of Harry Nilsson’s “Coconut,” which reimagined the laid-back novelty hit as a punk complaint.
 

 
Schneider had already recorded “Coconut” for the previous year’s Nilsson tribute album with a completely different supergroup, this one featuring Ivan Julian from Richard Hell & the Voidoids and Tracy Wormworth of the Waitresses. Owing, perhaps, to its relative familiarity in 1995 as the song from the end credits of Reservoir Dogs, “Coconut” was chosen as the tribute album’s single, and Schneider went on Late Night with Conan O’Brien to sing it.

More after the jump…

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Posted by Oliver Hall
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10.05.2017
07:38 am
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Fred Schneider has a ‘Monster’ in his pants (and it does a nasty dance)
12.16.2015
12:56 pm
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At the end of 1984, I moved to NYC and all I had to listen to was a cheapy Sony Walkman and a few cassettes—Nick Cave’s From Her to Eternity, Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five’s greatest hits, Nina Hagen’s Nunsexmonkrock and the first Madonna album were my soundtracks to walking around and discovering New York City when I first got there. But there was one album in particular, that to me at least, was THE SOUND of the city and that record was the first solo effort from B-52s singer Fred Schneider, called Fred Schneider and the Shake Society. I listened to this album constantly then. One early morning just a few weeks after I got there, I saw a totally trashed-looking Fred walking down 6th Avenue—he’d obviously just come from a party gone out of bounds—and I’m not ashamed to admit that I was thrilled, totally starstruck and satisfied that I’d made a good move. Seeing a hungover Fred Schneider was akin to the universe smiling at me and New York was the best place in the world to be in 1984.
 

 
But back to the music: “Monster,” the single from the album, was one of those songs that was only really famous in nightclubs, but that was about it. HOW is it possible that a song with a hook this unstoppable, not to mention the over-the-top double entendre of the lyrics, wasn’t a massive, massive hit single, something that today would be justly celebrated as an iconic 80s novelty song??? It was even released twice and barely scraped the top 100 either time!
 

 
Actually, maybe it was the boldly double entendre lyrics. Come to think of it, that’s probably, uh, exactly what the problem was. Thirty years later, who would give a shit about something so innocuous?

Below, the original mix of the song as it was released in 1984 (The 1991 remix is a travesty and I was pissed off when I bought the CD and got the new version). Featured in the video are Talking Head Tina Weymouth, Kate Pierson, Keith Haring and the late, great drag performer Ethyl Eichelberger as the maid.
 

Posted by Richard Metzger
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12.16.2015
12:56 pm
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‘Vampire Vamp’: Fred Schneider and Ursula 1000 bring back the Halloween novelty song
10.18.2012
03:03 pm
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B-52s’ frontman Fred Schneider has teamed up with Ursula 1000 for a new (and super catchy!) Halloween-themed novelty number and video called “Vampire Vamp.”

From the press release:

Ursula 1000 is the alter ego of Brooklyn, New York based producer/DJ/multi-instrumentalist Alex Gimeno. His five albums and mix sessions have taken on a broad scope of retro tinged spy grooves, bumping Latin disco funk, hints of post-punk, electro, trashy garage rock, sleazy glam…not just a road trip of pastiche but more like altering the past for a better tomorrow.

Fred Schneider is of course the inimitable voice of the classic American new wave band The B-52s. The Superions is Fred’s comedy synthpop side project alongside Noah Brodie and Dan Marshall. It’s on their “Totally Nude Island” single where Fred and Ursula 1000 joined forces (Ursula did a remix of it). After that they continued to collaborate.

After working on the song “Hey You!” from Ursula 1000’s Mondo Beyondo album, Fred thought “Hey, let’s do a Halloween album!”. Well, after some mad lab experiments and a couple of bottles of wine, “Vampire Vamp” appeared! This is the first song from an upcoming Halloween themed long player.

Isn’t it about time that someone resurrected the novelty song from the grave? Are you ready ghouls? Start stalkin’!

Purchase “Vampire Vamp” on Amazon.
 

 
“Vampire Vamp” video directed by Tom Yaz. Thank you Syd Garron!

Posted by Richard Metzger
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10.18.2012
03:03 pm
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‘Batbaby’: campy Halloween fun from Fred Schneider’s The Superions


 
Here’s a fun music video homage to B-Movies from The Superions, Fred Schneider of the B52’s other band (who unsurprisingly don’t sound a whole lot different). While the tune is reminiscent of “Rock Lobster” as replayed by Keyboard Cat, the hook will be running around in your head for some time. The video follows the adventures of the titular Batbaby, and features an intro from the very intriguing Babette Bombshell, who comes off like a cross between Elvira and Divine. Well, it is Halloween after all: 

The Superions “Batbaby”
 

 
The Superions’ Batbaby EP is available to buy on MP3 here.

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Posted by Niall O'Conghaile
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10.19.2011
08:02 pm
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