Their group might be super, but your fact checking? Not so much.
Three albums released in the first half of 2009 prove the supergroup concept shows no signs of burning out or fading away. Tinted Windows is the self-titled debut of former Hanson lead singer Taylor Hanson, nearly-old-enough-to-be-his-grandfather drummer Bun E. Carlos from Cheap Trick, guitarist James Iha of Smashing Pumpkins, and bassist Adam Schlesinger from Fountains of Wayne. Other than the more alternative-minded Iha, it’s no surprise the remaining power-popsters would join to update the 70’s sound of the Raspberries, most notably in the nostalgia-evoking album closer “New Cassette” (don’t even try to explain that title to a generation that thinks a record store is where medical charts are archived).
The releases by Chickenfoot and Heaven & Hell both made the top ten of Billboard’s album chart, while Tinted Windows didn’t sell as much, likely due to reduced publicity and less-legendary star power. After all, Hagar and Dio were caterwauling on classic rock radio long before the birth of the lead singer for Tinted Windows, who remains best known for the teen pop of “MMMbop”. Besides, hard rock fans are known for their enduring loyalty, as evidenced by the newest AC/DC album, Black Ice, which immediately reached the platinum sales plateau despite being available exclusively at Target stores and using the same three chords as all the band’s prior recordings. Still, with 66% of the latest supergroups registering strong first-week sales, there’s a very good chance most musicians and music industry executives will continue to recycle the shopworn idea of assembling proven stars in a low-risk/high-reward venture. For better or worse, no one should be surprised by the inevitable unveiling of Joan Jett, Ann Wilson, and Pat Benatar as Blackheartbreaker.