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B-52s' Kate Pierson recalls Paul McCartney, escaping hunters
As a singer in the Grammy-nominated B-52s, whose hits include "Love Shack," Rock Lobster" and "Roam," Woodstock resident Kate Pierson knows how to keep an audience's attention.
But she doesn't always need music to do so. Off the stage, she's a captivating storyteller who can't always be contained by a single Q&A.
Pierson and the rest of The B-52s, who once called Mahopac home, return to the stage tonight with a show at New York City's Roseland Ballroom. Citing the illness of fellow band member Cindy Wilson, the band postponed its June 6 show at The Capitol Theatre in Port Chester. Although no makeup date had been announced for the Cap concert as of Wednesday morning, a publicist for the "World's Greatest Party Band" told Newsday Westchester last week that the band "is a go" for tonight's gig at Roseland.
When I spoke with Pierson a few weeks ago, she told me Roseland was one of her all-time favorite venues, and shared a couple of other interesting stories that didn't appear in my original Q&A about the singer's Hudson Valley experiences and impressive career.
How interesting, you ask? Well, let's just say that she and super-producer Don Was had to escape hunters' gunshots while mountain biking at Kenneth Wilson State Park. And then there was the time she was just hanging out with The Beatles' Paul McCartney — as opposed to the other Paul McCartney — while nearby fans lunged toward the music icon.
What are your memories of recording your quadruple-platinum album, “Cosmic Thing,” in Woodstock?
We did half with [producer] Nile Rodgers and half with [producer] Don Was, and for the Don Was part, we worked at the Dreamland Studios — it’s a studio that’s in a church — so that was pretty exciting. It was a nice, funky little studio.
I remember I would take Don mountain biking … and it happened to be the first day of hunting season. We were gliding through the woods there [at Kenneth Wilson State Park], and all of a sudden, shots rang out, and Don was, like, freaked out. … He wanted to get out the fastest way. I was like, “Let’s just go on the path and go back,” and he was like, “No, I want to get out the fastest way possible,” so we cut through this [muddy] area, and it was like that Jim Jarmusch movie [“Down By Law”], where they were going through that swamp. It was an adventure.
[Reporter's note: For a less-dangerous narrative about 'Cosmic Thing,' including Rodgers' reason for collaborating with the group, start watching this video at the 1:45 mark.]
You once sang at an inauguration event for ex-president Bill Clinton, who now lives in Chappaqua. What are three other moments in your career that you still can’t believe happened?
Recently, we opened for The Rolling Stones. Opening for The Police [for the final concert of their 2008 reunion tour]. One of the most amazing things we did was a benefit concert for PETA, and Paul McCartney was the headliner, so we opened for Paul McCartney, and we got to talk to him.
I saw him standing there, and I saw Fred talking to him, so I went over and we were just chatting … and I look behind and there was this barricade, and there were all these people reaching their arms out, and I didn’t even realize that all these people are just dying to get to Paul. That was an amazing moment, because we all grew up just loving The Beatles.