It’s been 15 years since Tina and the B-Sides’ last album, and the rootsy rock & roll band –one of the hardest-working Midwestern acts of the ‘90s — is eager to make up for lost time. On April 22, 2014 the group will release Barricade, a reunion album that revitalizes the band’s bluesy, barroom stomp for a new decade.
“When I sat down to write this album, it felt so good to write for a band again,” says frontwoman Tina Schlieske, whose booming vocals helped earn the B-Sides a major-label contract with Sire Records in the 1990s. “With every song, I tried to picture the band playing it live, and I would let that dictate to where the song would go. I didn’t want this album to be a ‘90s throwback, helping us to relive some old glory days playing in bars. I wanted the album to sound fresh, to pick up where we left off and have a forward feel to it.”
Formed in the 1980s, during the height of the new wave scene in Minneapolis, Tina and the B-Sides bucked convention by focusing on roadhouse rock & roll instead of synthesized pop.
“I loved so many different musical genres,” Tina remembers, “So I tried to combine them all. I wanted to be Aretha Franklin, David Bowie, Janis Joplin and Elvis all rolled into one. That’s what pushed the band to be different.”
They built an audience the old-fashioned way in the early 90’s — by playing any bar that would book them — and eventually sold more than 40,000 CDs from the back of their tour van without the help of a record label. By the time Sire Records offered them a contract in the mid-‘90s, Tina and the B-Sides were at the top of the Midwest music scene- opening for artists like Lenny Kravitz, Soul Asylum, the Wallflowers, Blues Traveler and Etta James. They remained there until the end of the decade, when the band decided to take a long break.
A reunion gig at the Minneapolis Zoo in 2009 brought the B-Sides back together with their ‘90s lineup intact — including vocalists Tina and Laura Schlieske, bassist Jeremy Plumb, lead guitarist Troy Norton and drummer Ron Caron. The group soon decided to book a recording session at Terrarium Studios, where they recorded “Barricade” in 10 days. Tina co-produced the album with her former bandmate Patrik Tanner, and reached out to Andrija Tokic (producer of the Alabama Shakes’ debut, Boys and Girls) to mix the songs. The result is a ripened version of the B-Sides- filled to the brim with guitar, grit, gusto and the maturity of a band that’s done it all before… and can’t wait to do it all again.
The record release show for Barricade will be Saturday, May 10th at First Ave in Minneapolis.