Return of the Bee Gees — The ''Stayin' Alive'' group is working on a new, disco-free album

By Ethan Smith
Updated November 15, 1996 at 05:00 AM EST

Whether the Bee Gees’ rump-shaking rendition of ”Stayin’ Alive” on last month’s VH1 Fashion Awards made you want to throw up or get down, you had to wonder: What have these guys been up to, anyway? 1996, after all, saw those other champs of ’70s musical cheese, Kiss, cash in big on a nostalgia-heavy comeback tour. So it seemed only a matter of time before the Bros. Gibb donned their trademark white dance-floor finery and followed, uh, suit.

Turns out the erstwhile disco knights have been getting busy in their Florida digs, though you might not want to dust off your chest wig and platform shoes just yet. Barry, Maurice, and Robin plan to deliver a new album, tentatively titled Still Waters, next March, reports toothy frontman Barry. A half dozen latter-day soulmeisters, including Arif Mardin and Tony Toni Toné’s Raphael Saadiq, have each produced two tunes for the disc, which is nearing completion at the ‘Gees’ Miami studio. ”It’s R&B oriented — lots of ballads,” says Barry, ”but nothing you would say was disco.” And while the brothers plan to launch a world tour in mid-’97, they’ll eschew the flare-legged look on which they built their rep. ”It’ll be very modern, reflecting the new album,” says a member of the Gibbs’ management team.

The most intriguing news from Planet Disco, however, is a stage production of Saturday Night Fever, set to open at London’s Palladium in July. ”We’ve written a new song for that,” says Barry. And while he doesn’t know who’ll fill John Travolta’s fleet shoes in the role of Tony Manero (casting calls are reportedly set for the end of the year), he offers a tidbit about his latest contribution to the show: ”It’s not a disco song. It’s a great ballad called ‘Immortality.”’

Okay, Barry — but here’s some unsolicited advice: Get over the discophobia and you’ll boogie your way to immortality.