Fountains of Wayne
is Brian Young
and Jody Porter.
Fountains of Wayne mines the mundane
Published: Apr 19th, 2007
Author: George Lenker
Source: The Republican
Fountains of Wayne had massive success from 2003's hit "Stacy's Mom" - partly because the video featured supermodel Rachel Hunter. So who's the sexy star of the band's newest video? Gisele Bundchen? Niki Taylor? Stephanie Seymour?
Nope. It's comic Demetri Martin, best known for his appearances on "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart." And Fountains of Wayne singer-songwriter Chris Collingwood couldn't be happier about it.
"I suppose if we wanted to, we could have got some girls in bikinis, but I'm really excited that we got Demetri Martin. He's the only comedian whose Web site I have bookmarked on my computer," Collingwood said. "He's odd and hilarious and very, very smart. I couldn't believe it when I heard he was on the short list for our new video."
The video is for the band's new single "Someone to Love." Fountains of Wayne will be playing that tune, among many others, when they take the stage at Pearl Street Nightclub in Northampton Saturday. The concert begins at 8:30 p.m. with local favorites Winterpills opening the show.
The single comes from the band's latest CD, "Traffic and Weather." As they often do, Collingwood and co-writer Adam Schlesinger mine the quotidian quests and mundane milestones of the common man for much of their material. Like Raymond Carver stories - or Seinfeld episodes - set to music, many of the songs don't have intriguing plots or heroic characters, but somehow evoke both humor and pathos over everyday life.
"I mean, what can you write rock songs about, except everyday life?" Collingwood asked rhetorically. "You can write about cars and girls, and we do that. But when the cars and girls theme has run its course, you write about everyday people."
Collingwood said he and Schlesinger have sometimes been accused of mocking their blue-collar, ennui-filled characters because some of the lines in the songs are clearly meant to be humorous. But Collingwood rejects such criticism.
"I would hope it doesn't get perceived as making fun of the people in the songs," he said. "We've seen reviews where they say we're aloof and sarcastic, but I would never be mean to an unsuspecting guy who works for a living. There are a lot of better things to make jokes about, like the people running our country. I could make a million political jokes, if that's how we wrote."
Referring back to the popularity of "Stacy's Mom," (which hit No. 21 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and was one of the first songs to reach No. 1 on the iTunes Music Store's "Most Downloaded Songs" list) Collingwood said that the band hasn't felt any pressure from their record label, Virgin Records, to replicate the success of that song.
"We've been lucky because even when were on Atlantic (the band's first label) people left us alone," he said. "Maybe because we do it without telling anyone about it and just hand it in. The only thing we defer to the label on is the single. You want them to be excited about it because they have to work it, so we listen to them about which song it should be."
Collingwood also laughed ironically when asked if the success of "Stacy's Mom" had made the band wealthy.
"It's not like my life has changed very much. People have the impression that if you have a hit single you become a billionaire," he said. "I'm not sure why they think that. Maybe it's because they watch shows like MTV's 'Cribs.' I don't believe that show. It's musicians I don't know who have songs I've never heard of, and yet they live in mansions. I think it's all just done on elaborate movie sets."
Another aspect of Collingwood's life that hasn't changed - a positive one - is the fact that his bandmates have remained the same for almost a decade, discounting a brief hiatus the band took around 2001. Guitarist Jody Porter's psychedelic sonic palette gives the songs multi-layered textures and drummer Brian Young provides the backbone of the Fountains of Wayne sound.
"It's not like we're going to find a better drummer or guitar player, so we're lucky," Collingwood said. "We get along really well and we also know how to give each other space when we're on the road. We don't all do everything together and that helps when you're traveling."