Article: Four members of famous bands step into a new arena together

By | July 31, 2009

As a member of the band that bears his last name, Taylor Hanson is already a veteran in the music industry at the tender age of 26. In the 17 years since he and his brothers, as Hanson, played their first professional gig, they’ve reaped the rewards of chart domination (thanks to 1997’s “MMMBop’’) and settled into a lower-key but still respectably successful long-term career. With his new band, Tinted Windows, Hanson is relishing the opportunity to leave his track record behind him.

“I love the idea of getting to start fresh,’’ says the singer. “For Hanson, we have a catalog, we have fans that have followed us for years. You can never go back to it being a first show, so that’s been great for me. I really have enjoyed the feeling of walking out onstage and having the sense that you’ve got to win the crowd over in a different way. You can get spoiled by having great fans, people that like your music or that you know are on your side, to a degree. I love the idea of walking out and having to make it happen.’’

Hanson won’t be the only one stepping out of his comfort zone when Tinted Windows hits the Paradise Rock Club stage on Monday. His bandmates are Smashing Pumpkins guitarist James Iha, Fountains of Wayne bassist-songwriter Adam Schlesinger, and Cheap Trick drummer Bun E. Carlos.

It seems like an odd combination at first glance, a patchwork of disparate parts that, by rock standards, cover three distinct generations: one former teen idol, one arena art-rocker, one unassuming pop genius, and one legend who made the girls at Budokan scream.

But Carlos provides some of the same powerful secret-weapon drumming as Iha’s old bandmate Jimmy Chamberlin. Iha and Schlesinger have long been friends who have played on each other’s records. Schlesinger and Hanson had been talking about collaborating on songwriting for more than a decade, with no success. And Hanson’s yearning, strong voice possesses many of the same virtues that Robin Zander brings to Carlos’s other band. So it was simply a matter of closing all the circles at once.

“I think people often don’t realize how close the circles can be, even when they seem disparate, because musicians have a certain lifestyle,’’ says Hanson. “It’s a small industry. From the outside, people assume there’s sort of these little islands where all the hard-rock bands go and all the rappers go, and everybody goes to their own little pocket. But oftentimes we’re crossing in a lot of odd situations.’’

However odd those situations were, it didn’t seep into the band’s debut release. Full of buzzing guitars, a punchy drive, and sugary sweet vocal harmonies, “Tinted Windows’’ is more or less a classic power-pop album right out of the gate.

Hanson wasn’t sure if it was a success until the record was finished – “We didn’t know if it worked until it all went down,’’ he says – but fans like Fletcher of WFNX radio’s “Sandbox’’ morning show had a more immediate reaction. In his case, he was taken by the way Tinted Windows stepped seamlessly into a void that needed filling.

“Power pop doesn’t exist right now,’’ says Fletcher. “Those bands just aren’t there. There’s just no new bands that are really well-done, oohs-and-aahs, hand-claps power pop. So it’s almost like a weird all-star group coming together to do it perfectly.’’

Hanson himself remains unfazed by his bandmates’ high profiles.

“The good thing is, with this band, you’ve got four guys who’ve all done this at a certain level for a long time,’’ he says. “So there’s an understanding that there’s a basic level of work ethic and know-how that goes into [things] like, ‘OK, let’s rehearse. OK, let’s record. OK, let’s do some interviews.’ Everybody’s comfortable in their own skin in that way, so there was a little less drama.

“Everybody is pretty content and we don’t need people walking around telling us how great we are,’’ he adds. “We’re just happy to be making music.’’


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