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How to Make Good ’n’ Cheesy Pop

Four rock stars enter a recording studio and emerge as Tinted Windows.

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1. Smashing Pumpkins guitarist James Iha and Fountains of Wayne’s Adam Schlesinger meet in Chicago in the early nineties. A few years later, when FOW’s self-titled debut is released, the now arena- huge Pumpkins (above) take the fledgling band on the road with them. Iha and Schlesinger eventually co-found Scratchie Records.


2. In 1997, Schlesinger meets and befriends the then-14-year-old Taylor Hanson in L.A. while Hanson is writing material for his band’s major-label debut, Middle of Nowhere.

3. In 2006, Schlesinger has an idea for a new project—loud guitars with Taylor singing. Iha likes it. At the 2007 Fools Banquet, the annual songwriters’ retreat hosted by the Hansons in their hometown, Tulsa, Schlesinger and Hanson write what will become Tinted Windows’ first song, “Take Me Back.”


4. The project gets back-burnered until 2008, when the trio meets up at Chelsea’s Stratosphere Sound, the studio co-owned by Iha and Schlesinger, to begin recording. One problem: no drummer. “We kept saying we should get someone like Bun E. Carlos” of Cheap Trick, says Schlesinger.


5. Eventually, it occurs to them that, hey, they could just ask Bun E.! He accepts. They come up with the name Tinted Windows—“an intentionally cheesy-sounding homage” to the power-pop bands that inspired the project, says Schlesinger. “I liked that it sounds like a band that was playing the Jersey shore on a Sunday in the late seventies.”


6. S-Curve Records offers the band a deal, and in February the members meet for rehearsal—their first time all together in one room—then shoot a promo video (below).


7. Schlesinger rejects the idea that the band is a supergroup: “This is about four people who we thought could make good music together.” The supergroup’s self-titled debut comes out April 21. Appearances on Letterman and Jimmy Fallon are scheduled, along with select tour dates.


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