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Fred Schneider
Fred Schneider
Arguably the biggest party band of the late-'70s punk/new wave era was the B-52's, which featured a total of three singers: bouffant wig-wearing frontwoman Kate Pierson and Cindy Wilson, as well as the just-as-quirky Fred Schneider. Born on July 1, 1951, in Newark, NJ, Schneider moved to Athens, GA, to attend college in the early '70s -- first studying wildlife conservation, then journalism, before ultimately dropping out. The future bandmembers (Schneider, Pierson, Wilson and her brother/guitarist Rick, and drummer Keith Strickland) all met each other through the local scene, with Schneider once describing their initial meeting via "street dances." The new group formed in late 1976, and after playing several parties in their hometown, the group began playing such New York City clubs as CBGB's and Max's Kansas City on a regular basis. While the band's sound contained certain ingredients of the back-to-basics punk rock movement, they had created an instantly identifiable and highly original style by mixing in elements of trashy '60s B-movies and dance/surf music.
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