INTERVIEW: Keith Strickland of The B-52s

There’s only one B-52s. Sure, they’ve had their stylistic changes, and they weathered the tragic death of original guitarist Ricky Wilson, but whether slamming out quirky angular guitar pop (“Rock Lobster,” “My Own Private Idaho,”) radio-friendly chart megahits (“Love Shack,” “Roam”) or danceable, electronica-tinged club-ready tracks (“Funplex,”), there’s no mistaking who you’re listening to. And a large part of that sound is Keith Strickland. Originally the band’s drummer, shifting to guitar after the 1985 passing of Wilson, Strickland is a lifelong multi-instrumentalist and songwriter, and one of the nicest chart-toppers you could ever hope to meet. B-52s have just released With the Wild Crowd: Live in Athens GA, an 18-track live album, with a DVD and Blu-Ray to follow next year.

I understand there’s some special significance attached to the timing of the concert that became With The Wild Crowd?

We did that this past February in Athens, Georgia. A booking agent had booked the show and then we realised it was close to February 14th, the anniversary date of our very first performance. It was a few days later but we thought ‘Let’s make this an anniversary show!’ And it was also a benefit for the Georgia Theatre, which is this venue in Athens, a theatre that had been converted into a performance place. It had burned down, so a portion of the proceeds went to rebuilding that. So it was just coming full circle. We played the Georgia Theatre in our early days before we actually recorded our first album. It was also interesting because we realised, ‘Wow, 34 years and we’re playing Athens again…’ But it really wasn’t set up that way. It was just, well, here it is! We turned it into an event celebrating coming full circle, so to speak.

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COOL GEAR ALERT: TC Electronic TonePrint App

Okay, this is too cool. Self-tying shoes and hover boards? Ha! The future is here thanks to TC Electronic!

Music Company Adds a Touch of Guitar Magic to Apple’s iPhone

New iPhone app provides musical inspiration in a revolutionary way – by ‘beaming’ a bit of magic through the speaker of an iPhone directly into the pickup of a guitar.

TC Electronic, a music equipment manufacturer, has developed a game-changing iPhone app for guitarists using its range of TonePrint® guitar effect pedals. TonePrint pedals feature an amazing technology that allows users to upload custom-made sounds created by some of the best guitar players in the world. Until now, users have downloaded these TonePrints from the company’s website and transferred them to their pedals via USB. Now, the new TonePrint App allows guitarists to simply hold the speaker of their iPhone above one of their guitar pickups to load new TonePrints into their pedals.

“Most guitarists have their pedals in a rehearsal space and their computer at home. Some may have brought a laptop, but the process still needed to be made faster and more intuitive to really take advantage of the great potential that this artist-driven concept has to offer,” says Product Manager at TC Electronic, Tore Lynggaard Mogensen. “We are proud to present a flexible solution that allows all guitarists with TonePrint pedals and an iPhone to truly explore the ever-expanding list of unique TonePrints created by some of the best guitar players in the world. Now great sounds and thereby musical inspiration can be beamed and enjoyed anytime anywhere.”

Magnetic Magic
The idea behind the technology is as simple as it is ingenious: Each TonePrint has been converted to a unique-sounding magnetic impulse, but the sound does not carry any data. So it doesn’t matter if users are in a raucous arena or a library – no other sounds will interfere with the data being sent from the iPhone. The beaming process only takes a few seconds, and all of the TonePrints are stored within the app as mp3 files, which means that no Internet connection is required.

The new TonePrint app is available now on the Apple App Store and it is completely free of charge. The only requirement to take advantage of the app is one or more TonePrint enabled guitar pedals: Flashback Delay, Hall of Fame Reverb, Corona Chorus, Vortex Flanger and Shaker Vibrato.

Currently, the TonePrint App is available for iPhone, but a version for Android phones is under development and will be available in December 2011.