Squawking to beat the band, so to speak, a pet azure lovebird, as they call it, known as Mr. Bird, was making things difficult for The B-52s’ Fred Schneider.
He’d been asked to write lyrics for music created by friends Noah Brodie (keyboards) and Dan Marshall (programming), who, using Pro Tools, had whipped up the hypnotic, somewhat creepy piece of electro-pop tropicalia that would come to be known as “Totally Nude Island.”
What Schneider came up with was a “demented ’60s travelogue,” as he calls it, and now, the song by the band, which goes by the name The Superions, is being played on more than 30 stations nationwide.
“They had to put me in a room with the door shut because the bird was making so much noise,” says Schneider. “And I went into the bathroom and gave it a shot.”
The reaction to Schneider’s cartoonishly hedonistic lyrics from the trio, at the time called The Del Morons, was positive.
“We thought, ‘This is funny.’ We really liked it,” says Schneider.
And so, Schneider made sure to write everything down, and the threesome decided to do another take. The two takes were then spliced together to produce the single, augmented by a variety of island found sounds like bird calls and lapping waves.
Another version would come later. At the suggestion of a Boston radio disc jockey, The Superions gave DJ Ursula 1000 — a breakbeat specialist who dabbles in a variety of genres, from lounge to glam music — carte blanche to do what he pleased with the track in making “Totally Nude Island (Ursula 1000 Remix).”
Comparing the two, Schneider says, “The original is straightforward tiki-lounge, which is what we wanted. I’m glad because we have two versions. Ursula did an amazing job, taking the song and making it groovier for the club or radio.”
Schneider and company did not have high expectations for either track as far as radio play goes. For his part, Schneider thought radio programmers would consider it a “comedy throwaway.”
He was wrong. Radio has taken to it, and quite unexpectedly, from Schneider’s point of view, The Superions are in demand.
“All of a sudden, we realized we don’t have any songs,” says Schneider.
But more Superions material is on the way. Schneider relayed that the group has a collection it calls its “basement tapes” that will likely see release under the Del Morons moniker.
And Schneider says The Superions have four other songs that “ ... people really, really like,” says Schneider. “I think they’re too silly, but I thought ‘Totally Nude Island’ was too silly. I think that’s why people like it. It’s like nothing on the radio.”
And so, The Superions, whose name conjures up images of kitschy Sci-Fi movies and is the product of the imaginations of three, as Schneider calls them, “record nerds,” will move forward. Their songs are available for listening on The Superions’s Myspace page: http://profile.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=user.viewProfile&friendID=427236715.
The site also serves as a forum for dispensing Mr. Bird’s advice for the lovelorn.
For his part, Schneider is amazed at the attention “Totally Nude Island” has already received.
“I just did an interview for the University of Tennessee radio station, and I listened to it, and I start laughing,” says Schneider. “I just don’t get it. You work hard to promote other things and nothing happens. This jus