By the Way

B52 Cindy Wilson returns home to Georgia and finds ‘Change’ with new album and tour

Cindy Wilson brings her “Change” tour to Jackson on Saturday and New Orleans on Sunday.
Cindy Wilson brings her “Change” tour to Jackson on Saturday and New Orleans on Sunday.

Cindy Wilson is dealing with a lot of change these days. She’s adjusting to her return to life in her hometown of Athens, Georgia and she’s also dealing with the changing release dates of her new album “Change.”

“It has been moved to Dec. 1, and it’s really exciting,” Wilson said in a phone interview with the Sun Herald.. “We just did a video with Lance Bangs (Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Pavement) for the song ‘Brother,’ which is a cover of the old Oh-Ok song and it turned out fantastic.”

Wilson said the song came out of a show where Athens musicians played the songs of other musicians.

“I was working with Ryan (Monahan) and doing little things around town and we went to this event where bands from the late 1970s and early 80s that came up through Athens played the Georgia Theater, which is a great venue, and the bands paid tribute to each other’s music,” Wilson said. “We did Oh-Ok and a song by Pylon and we decided to do ‘Brother’ and make it a littler bit different — it’s just one of those things that came about naturally and we just had to do it.”

“Brother” is one of the dichotomy’s of “Change,” which was recorded with Athens singer/songwriter Ryan Monahan and drummer Lemuel Hayes and produced by Suny Lyons. It’s the perfect mix of indie rock and atmospheric dance tracks like “No One Can Tell You” and “Mystic.”

The album grew out of Wilson’s return to her old stomping grounds of Athens.

“I have a little house here and I have a lot relatives here and it’s cool, we did all of our writing and rehearsing there,” she said. “It’s good to be back — Athens has a good energy. I love it there.”

Wilson grew up in Athens, where she started The B52s in 1976 with Fred Schneider, Kate Pierson, Keith Strickland and her brother, the late Ricky Wilson. After years of being underground darlings, The B52 hit the national spotlight in a big way with the release of “Cosmic Thing” in 1989, which spawned the massive MTV and radio hits “Love Shack” and “Roam.”

“It was amazing because it just went over the top and we had no idea it was going to be so big,” she said. “It was a great thing and it felt like it was a renewal for the band.”

But it was at the height of her fame that Wilson said she decided to walk away from it, at least momentarily.

“I got sick of it and I really missed Ricky and I gave the band a year’s notice and when the year ended, I left because I felt like that was what was supposed to happen,” Wilson said. “I decided to move back to Georgia and it was the right thing to do, but I came back in after a few years, but it’s been a really fantastic thing, especially being able to step in and out and have my life and be a mom.”

Cindy Wilson on tour

Duling Hall in Jackson on Saturday, Nov. 11. Tickets are available here.

Gasa Gasa in New Orleans on Sunday, Nov. 12. Tickets are available online.