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Fame & Fortune: The B-52s' Keith Strickland

Bankrate: Given that you've taken on the simple, Key West, bike-riding lifestyle, what is the biggest extravagance you allow yourself?

Strickland: Sixteen years without putting out an album. That was pretty extravagant. When I think back on it now ... we did continue to work and perform, but it's pretty extravagant. I kind of look back and go, wow, I just spent 16 years not really writing anything.

Bankrate: During that time, were you working on the road a lot, or just playing a few gigs here and there and relaxing at home?

Strickland: We performed a lot. It was fairly consistent. A lot of one-offs, where you do one or two shows a month and then you come back home. Not a tour, per se. But then we did several tours almost every summer, short tours.

Bankrate: Given the band's image, one might think you're into flashy things. In general, are you and your band mates flashy people?

Strickland: Not really. I'm certainly not. But I've never been one of the flamboyant ones. In our personal lives, we're not that outrageous, really.

Bankrate: And Kate owns an inn in Woodstock. That also seems about as down-to-earth as it gets.

Strickland: Yeah. It's cute. It's really fun. It's kind of like an art project.

Bankrate: I would guess that if any of you were flamboyant or flashy, it would be Fred.

Strickland: You'd be surprised. He really isn't. And he's really shy. We all are, actually. Kate's probably the least shy. She would be the most outgoing. Cindy and I would be the most shy, and Fred would be next. But he can turn it on when he needs to.

Bankrate: And he's also living more of a down-home life?

Strickland: Yeah. He loves to collect records, vinyl albums, and (he) has quite an impressive collection -- a lot of R&B stuff. It's pretty eclectic.

Bankrate: What's the most positive aspect of growing older?

Strickland: I don't know what I thought 50 was, even in my 30s, but it really is not that different. Maybe I'm really lucky, in good health and all, but I feel great, and we're all doing really, really well. It really is a nonissue. You read about it in the press, they make reference to it, but you go, "well, what choice do we have?"

To be a bit more serious about it: The thing about it is, I lost so many friends in the '80s who died of AIDS. Ever since then, I've never had a problem with my age. I've always been like, "I'm one of the lucky ones." And so I just never had that hang-up, or been uptight about my age at all. I feel blessed, and I think we all are.

Photo courtesy Pieter M. van Hattem

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