In 2005, Fountains of Wayne, the band led by the late Adam Schlesinger and Chris Collingwood, acquired the final word salute: a massively affectionate tribute music from soneone as musically gifted and sharp-witted as they have been — “Fountains of Wayne Hotline,” by Grammy-nominated veteran singer-songwrier Robbie Fulks.
Schlesinger died of coronavirus issues Wednesday. Selection requested Fulks to share what he thought made his fellow songwriter’s work nice:
I loved Adam’s music outdoors Fountains of Wayne, however it was the songwriting he did with Chris Collingwood inside that band that actually hit my candy spot. Of the numerous extremely competent writers who, a era or so later, paid ahead the Beatles and their contemporaries, FOW have been unmatched. That they had the bundle: storylines, chords, efficiency, audio combine and humor.
By “humor,” I don’t imply that they forged a satirical eye on their characters, or put chuckle strains of their songs — although typically they did each — however relatively that they used a light-weight contact to coax humanly relatable absurdities, yearnings and ironies from fine-detailed and even drab eventualities. They located their tales with journalistic care. The narrators have been younger single males, seemingly educated and clearly self-reflective (“The entire thing appears a bit absurd,” says the teller of his personal story in “The Woman I Can’t Overlook”), residing within the mid-Atlantic U.S. and sleepwalking by way of purposeless pink-collar jobs. What a terrific theme! In putting most of their holdings on this one slot, they hit a Peter DeVries-ian creative payout, reaping constant advantages from a slender however lethal purpose.
I met Adam solely as soon as and briefly. My guess is that what was cerebral and funky about FOW — what you would possibly name the deliberative qualities within the manufacturing, storylines and music — could have come predominantly from him. Not one of the music Adam had a hand in creating, it appears to me, had the Byronic, sprang-unbidden-from-the-bowels rawness that some widespread music listeners prize above all else. Personally, I discover that vital however not enough, and I really like the braininess, calculation and management that shone by way of Adam’s work.
In “Fountains of Wayne Hotline,” Fulks imagined a state of affairs during which pissed off tunesmiths might dial up a service that might have expert technicians clarify precisely what Schlesinger and Collingwood would do to ship a music into overdrive. The directions break down the magic of FOW tunes into tactical pop-rock strategies (“Make use of the novel dynamic shift — you understand, full band entry, fortissimo, whereas sustaining constant obvious quantity on the vocal observe”). Fulks explains the music’s background:
“Fountains of Wayne Hotline” originated as a journey sport in our van. “Welcome Interstate Managers” had simply come out, and I suppose it was the band’s super-competency and superb consistency that made me think about them as operators of a disaster hotline for songwriters. In our sport, considered one of us would place an emergency name for counseling, and a member of a giant bureaucratic labyrinth, normally harried and gruff, would supply an answer primarily based on time-honored Fountains of Wayne strategies. Grant, our guitarist, excelled on the mean-spirited drones, and infrequently a special form of Hotline character would pop up, like one of many perky-beyond-all-reason varieties that have been drummer Gerald’s specialty.
The music went up on iTunes, and never lengthy after, although I can’t keep in mind how lengthy, somebody within the band requested me to return to Schubas Tavern in Chicago and meet with them afterward. Nothing very superb or memorable occurred there, besides that the brief WXRT present they did was spectacular in making use of that small room and humble PA to create an amazingly precise duplicate of a Fountains of Wayne document — no small feat. That afternoon ended up an important piece in my precept that if you happen to’d like to satisfy somebody, merely write and document a music about him/her/them. It’s labored for me a number of instances now! One final thing, in case it’s not clear: the “Hotline” music isn’t nastily satirical towards the band. The satire, resembling it’s, is shallow; I revere their work.
(In a 2007 interview with Puremusic, Schlesinger shared his response to Fulks’ homage: “I like it. It’s my favourite factor ever… He’s completely humorous. We met him after that. We beat the crap out of him — however we’re all associates now.”)