Fountains of Wayne
is Brian Young
and Jody Porter.
Fountains of Wayne enjoying 'Traffic and Weather'
Published: Apr 16th, 2007
Author: Gary Graff
Source: Monsters and Critics
Punctuated by 2005's sprawling compilation of B-sides and outtakes (Out-of-State Plates), a nearly four-year interval between fresh recordings has done nothing to tarnish Fountain of Wayne's pop-drenched songwriting tandem of Chris Collingswood and Adam Schlesinger. This 14-song bash is a late-'60s/early-'70s time warp that exploits every facet of the pop action plan (chiming guitars, infectious choruses, sinful harmonies) and begs for radio play. As usual, the band never takes itself
Punctuated by 2005's sprawling compilation of B-sides and outtakes (Out-of-State Plates), a nearly four-year interval between fresh recordings has done nothing to tarnish Fountain of Wayne's pop-drenched songwriting tandem of Chris Collingswood and Adam Schlesinger. This 14-song bash is a late-'60s/early-'70s time warp that exploits every facet of the pop action plan (chiming guitars, infectious choruses, sinful harmonies) and begs for radio play. As usual, the band never takes itself ...more
Thanks to "Stacy`s Mom," Fountains of Wayne had it goin` on in 2003 and 2004. That`s still the case in 2007, as the New York-based group`s fifth album, 'Traffic and Weather' (Virgin), debuts at No. 97 this week on The Billboard 200.
"We don`t really think about that too much," says Adam Schlesinger, who formed Fountains of Wayne in 1996 with former college classmate Chris Collingwood. "Obviously whenever you`re signed to a major label, they`re hoping you can give them something they`re going to make some money off of."
"But we just approached it the same way that we always have, which is trying to write stuff we like. That`s really all you can do."
The success of the cheery and cheeky "Stacy`s Mom" certainly hangs over 'Traffic and Weather,' however. The song, from the band`s 'Welcome Interstate Managers' album, soared high on the top 40 and adult top 40 charts, peaking at No. 21 on The Billboard Hot 100. It also led to two Grammy Award nominations - including an inexplicable best new artist nod.
Capitol Records Group senior vice president of marketing Amani Duncan says the band and Virgin realize it will be hard to repeat the unexpected breakthrough.
"They superseded their core with that record," Duncan says. "You can`t assume that audience will still be there. The consumer is a very fickle person,especially in this climate today. There are no guarantees."
With that in mind, Duncan says Virgin plans to superserve the band`s fan base but not necessarily give up the "Stacy`s Mom" converts. The label is using the song to open TV commercials advertising 'Traffic and Weather' as a way to hook fans` attention for the new music.
The TV ads will air on a broad spectrum of outlets, ranging from MTV and VH1 to Bravo, Spike TV, Fuse and even network daytime schedules. Duncan says the label will also deploy an intensive Internet campaign, with aggressive bannering on appropriate sites and third-party marketing. The label is tying in 'Traffic and Weather' promotions to the Hugh Grant/Drew Barrymore film 'Music and Lyrics,' for which Schlesinger wrote and produced three songs. A video for the first single, "Someone to Love," is being shot this month.
The group begins a slate of shows this month, which will include performances at the Coachella and Bonnaroo festivals. In addition, the band will perform April 20 at the Apple retail store in New York`s SoHo district, which will be filmed, recorded and distributed.
"I think this is going to keep us pretty busy for a while," says Schlesinger, who produced 'Traffic and Weather' after releasing an album with his first band, Ivy, and producing Big City Rock`s self-titled debut.
Schlesinger and Collingwood began working on new songs in December 2005 and spent most of the first half of 2006 recording 'Traffic and Weather.' "Rather than just blocking out a couple months to make a record, we do it in little spurts and work on a couple songs at a time," Schlesinger says. "That way it maybe doesn`t seem so daunting."
The album`s 14 songs maintain the polished, hook-heavy songcraft of its predecessors, with plenty of humor, pop culture references and a loose theme of travel and transportation - reflected by such song titles as "`92 Subaru," "Michael and Heather at the Baggage Claim," "I-95" and "Seatbacks and Tray Tables." 'Traffic and Weather' features guest appearances by former Smashing Pumpkins guitarist James Iha (Schlesinger`s partner in a New York recording studio), former Hole and Smashing Pumpkins bassist Melissa Auf Der Maur and the Candy Butchers` Mike Viola.
"We wanted to keep it focused on the sound of a band sort of playing together," Schlesinger says. "I think [guitarist] Jody [Porter`s] and [drummer] Brian [Young`s] contributions on this album are really important. When we started, it was just a duo. But now that we`ve all been playing together for 10 years, I think the sound of the band has increasingly become defined by all four of us, which has been a really nice part of our evolution."