“We’re not like any other band, and people just gravitate toward us.” — B-52s singer Fred Schneider
learned the material for the new album at a rehearsal space in Manhattan. “We were very serious about it. We would work for four days a week, and it came together pretty quickly. It was all about nostalgia. It was looking back at the good times we used to have in Athens, so it was a wonderful, healing record,” Wilson told
When the B-52s hit Santa Fe, they might enjoy shopping for retro and vintage dishes, cookware, and used cookbooks at Kitchenality, a treasure trove of a resale store located on Siler Road in the same facility as Kitchen Angels. Proceeds from the store support client services; revenue from 2017 was enough to feed 88 clients for a year. While there are a handful of paid staff positions at Kitchen Angels, under the leadership of executive director Tony McCarty and a board of directors, the store and the meal delivery service are made possible by a large pool of volunteers, some of whom come each week and some of whom come with employer and school groups for a day or two a year, or as part of community service programs. In 2017, a total of 682 volunteers worked 32,633 hours preparing and delivering meals, with about 360 volunteers regularly committing their time each week. The number of clients Kitchen Angels serves has been increasing for the last five years, McCarty said, as has the need for its services among aging and chronically ill Santa Feans. Kitchen Angels recently completed a renovation of its facilities in order to keep up with demand, expanding the kitchen, cold storage, and other meal preparation areas, as well as adding a dedicated training area and lounge for volunteers, along with other upgrades.
Chef Joe Cates oversees the hotel-style kitchen, where he said about 180 hot meals are prepared each day. There are several different dietary options, including heart-healthy and vegetarian, and any client’s food can be tailored to accommodate specific allergies or other restrictions. But this is not hospital food. The emphasis is on nutritious, natural ingredients and interesting recipes. Cates said that this has been an especially good summer for produce, and the nonprofit organization has received many donations from people’s orchards, farms, and gardens. If the B-52s are lucky, Kitchen Angels will provide dinner for them backstage at the Opera. On a recent visit to Kitchen Angels, freshly prepared veggie burgers were waiting to go on the flat-top grill while pans of vegetable frittata were assembled for baking. About 100 pounds of apples simmered away in the tilt kettle — in the process of becoming apple butter — and on the other side of the room, a volunteer sliced and packaged pieces of banana cake with peanut butter frosting.
Though Strickland retired from touring in 2012, the rest of the B-52s still regularly hit the road together and with their various other projects, although Schneider said he is getting tired of the travel. “It’s not like we’re flying on luxury airlines,” he said. Wilson released her debut solo album in 2017, (Kill Rock Stars), and has been touring, and Pierson’s first solo album, came out in 2015 from Lazy Meadow Music.
Schneider released an album, (Happy Birthday To Me Records), with his band, the Superions, in 2017. He is currently making an album with Santa Fe resident Brian Hardgroove, the bass player from Public Enemy. When asked what fans can expect from this collaboration, Schneider was secretive — but obviously excited. “It’s all over. He just lets me go free with my ideas, lyrically — and he has great musical ideas. It’s going to be pretty wild.” ▼ ▼ ▼ ▼