Supergroups are predictable.
It’s almost always some bunch of folkies (Crosby, Stills & Nash) or blues cats (Cream) or ’70s burnouts (the Firm, Asia, Bad English) doing exactly what’s expected. The results can be awesome (see “Deja Vu”). Or lame (BadEnglish’s “When I See You Smile,” anyone?). But rarely are they shocking.
Shocking would be a blend of Smashing Pumpkins and “MMMBop.” Or that dude behind “Stacy’s Mom” jamming with Cheap Trick drummer Bun E. Carlos.
Well, prepare to be shocked. Carlos, Hanson’s Taylor Hanson, ex-Pumpkin James Iha and Fountains of Wayne’s Adam Schlesinger have joined forces as Tinted Windows. The team’s self-titled debut hits stores tomorrow.
In search of some explanation about these strange bandfellows, we called up Schlesinger.
Herald: Start at the beginning. How did you and Taylor connect?
Schlesinger: I met Taylor years ago through Steve Greenberg – then an A&R guy at Mercury, now head of S Curve Records – who’s putting the album out. When he signed Hanson, he suggested that I write some songs for the band. Stupidly, I didn’t write anything for their record and it went on to sell one zillion copies. But Taylor and I stayed in touch and always talked about doing something together. The idea behind Tinted Windows really was just to get Talyor’s voice up against some loud guitars.
What about James?
I became friends with James even before Fountains of Wayne. He was very helpful in getting Fountains of Wayne going. Since then, we’ve started an indie label together and run a New York studio called Stratosphere Sound.
And what about Bun E. Carlos?
The three of us knew we wanted a drummer who could play like Bun E. Carlos. Then we thought, “We should just ask him.” So we just kinda cold-called him. He wanted to hear some songs, so we sent what we had over and he said, “OK.”
Are you worried that people will listen with preconceived notions?
We knew people would be a bit confused by (Tinted Windows), so we intentionally didn’t talk about it all until the record was done. We wanted people to be able to immediately hear some music when they heard about us.