Pop Queen of the 80’s Catherine ‘Kate’ Pierson was born on 27th April, 1948 in Weehawken, New Jersey. Being musical by birth, she grew up worshipping teen idol of the 60’s Bob Dylan. Her junior years were spent singing protest songs with local folk groups inspired by her idol. However, her passion found the dawn of light when the sensational pop band of the 60’s “The Beatles” raged the American nation with their fabulous numbers. Pierson was immediately drenched in the new fervor of pop-genre, the hangover of which lasted quite a long taking her to a whole new dimension of musical extravaganza. "I became a total fan," she later recalled. "I remember seeing them being interviewed on TV and was just wild about them. Of course, when the singles came, my best friend and I had big arguments about our favorite Beatle. I still have an 'I Love John' button from that time." quotes Pierson. In high school she quenched her musical thirst by joining her first band in school “The Sun Doughnuts”. She learned to play multiple instruments like the guitar, bass and various keyboard instruments.
Formation of the Cult Band – B-52s
After having a brief stint with her school band – “The Sun Doughnuts”, Kate had already developed a rising level of buoyancy and spirit. This enthusiasm came handy on an eventful October night in 1976 when Kate and her good friends Fred Schneider, Keith Strickland, Cindy Wilson, Ricky Wilson, and Pierson performed a hit impromptu jam session in Hunan's Restaurant in Athens, Georgia under the influence of Flaming Volcano cocktails. The consequence of this episode was the birth of the historical cult band – The B-52s. The naming of the rock band is also associated with an ingenious idea that is related to a popular hair style of the 70’s called the 'bouffant' haircut. The name of the band was thus kept inspired from the slang expression for this extreme hair style. In fact the band members along with Kate flaunted this wild rebellious look as a signature iconographical representation of their pop band.
B-52s first musical gig performance happened in 1977 at a Valentine’s Day party. After that there was no looking back. They went on to perform in bigger venues like CBGB, Max's Kansas City in New York City. The band would often make tours to New York City for big musical performances all over the city slowly gaining mass popularity among the urban crowds. Their music was mainly a genre-bending mix of garage rock and new wave. Accompanying this post-punk beat was their electrifying wild performance on stage that drew a craze fan following from all quarters of life. As Kate recalls, "We were in a vacuum, because we were always driving, so we didn't really have a sense about how our audience was building. We played Hurrah's one time, and we were looking out the window of the dressing room, and Ricky said, 'What are those people standing around in line down there?' And someone said, 'That's your line for people waiting to get in.' that was the first moment I was like, “Oh my god, we're rock stars.”
About their unique offbeat genre of composition, Pierson stated once that, "We always appealed to people outside the mainstream and I think more people feel they're outside the mainstream these days."
The band’s first ever hit song was "Rock Lobster" – a classic party track from their self-titled debut album that came out in 1979. The debut record of the band sold over half million copies worldwide after which they signed a major recording deal. This achievement was accompanied by numerous on-air shows with radio channels and television channels like MTV. Also the B-52s began to tour the world extensively making more records on the way and delivering captivating performances making them one of the most popular bands of the 80’s and early 90’s. The rock band’s most memorable hits include "Love Shack", "Channel Z", "Rock Lobster", "Private Idaho" and "Strobe Light". Most memorable pop albums of the band are Bouncing Off the Satellites (1986), Wild Planet (1980) and Cosmic Thing (The Critics best list of all). Singles like “Love shack” and “Channel Z” became band anthems and topped billboard charts in the United States and Australia for many weeks.
Solo Singing Cameos & Other Musical Collaborations
Kate Pierson also did numerous singles and duets in the 1990’s with popular R&B singers like Iggy Pop, R.E.M. and Fatboy Slim. She also sang in an album called ‘From a Window: Lost Songs of Lennon and McCartney’ as an ode of tribute to her favorite pop band of the 60’s “The Beatles”.
Her other musical works includes: Bill Withers with Cindy Wilson and Debbie Harry on the 1978 album 'Bout Love; The Ramones on the song, "Chop Suey"; Fred Schneider, on his Fred Schneider & the Shake Society solo album from 1984 on songs "Monster", "Summer in Hell", "I'm Gonna Haunt You" and "Boonga (The New Jersey Caveman)", Matthew Sweet on the 1989 album Earth; With Cindy Wilson on their common cover of the McFadden & Whitehead's song "Ain't No Stoppin' Us Now", recorded for the soundtrack The Associate in 1996; David Byrne and Fatboy Slim on the song "The Whole Man" from the 2010 album Here Lies Love; Jay Ungar & Molly Mason have Kate singing on their 2003 album Relax Your Mind, on the track "Bad Attitude". Presently, Pierson is working on her new solo album in collaboration with lyricist Sia Furler expected to release in 2013.
Kate's Entrepreneurial Venture
In between her busy career Kate has managed to establish her own Hotels in New York City and California. The two hotels are named, Kate's Lazy Meadow and Kate's Lazy Desert which has been designed by the rock star herself. The award winning motels have a fashionable 50’s interior that takes one back to the enchanting world of the 50’s with bright colors and classic vintage appliances. The décor of the Motels have been inspired by the creator’s own fascination for the 50’s era. Kate in her own words describes it as her "cabin fever fantasy". The beautiful Motel near Woodstock overlooks the gorgeous Catskill Mountains. The hotels are run by joint partnership between Kate and her close associate Monica Coleman.
Film and Television Stints
Kate Pierson has appeared in a number of cameo roles in film and television series. Some memorable ones are as follows: The Rugrats Movie (1998, voice only), The Flintstones (1994, as "The BC-52's"), A Matter of Degrees (1990), Athens, GA: Inside/Out (1987), One Trick Pony (1980), as a club owner in the Flight of the Conchords episode "What Goes on Tour", The Adventures of Pete and Pete (1993, "What We Did on Our Summer Vacation"), Pierson with The B-52's, appeared on an episode of the CBS soap opera Guiding Light in 1982, Pierson, with The B-52's, performed a parody of the song "Love Shack" titled "Glove Slap" in an episode of The Simpsons (1999).
Being a musician by passion, her first love is definitely music always. Pierson still continues to play for the B-52s band and tours the world for musical shows and concerts. In reply to a reporter once regarding her retirement plans she stated in her own words: "When it's not fun anymore.” A true rock star indeed!