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Fountains of Wayne

Fountains of Wayne is an American power pop rock band formed in 1996 and known for such singles as "Radiation Vibe" and "Stacy's Mom".

Early years

The band was formed by Adam Schlesinger and Chris Collingwood. The two first met as freshmen at Williams College and began playing music together in various bands. They eventually went their separate ways, with Collingwood forming the Mercy Buckets in Boston and Schlesinger forming Ivy in New York City. The two met up once again during the mid-1990s and formed Fountains of Wayne.

The band name was taken from Fountains of Wayne, a lawn ornament store in Wayne, New Jersey. The store is located at the intersection of Route 46 and Route 23, not far from Montclair, New Jersey, the hometown of the band's bassist and cofounder Adam Schlesinger. The store can be seen in The Sopranos episode "Another Toothpick". Initially the band went by other names, including Are You My Mother? and Woolly Mammoth.

Fountains of Wayne (album)

A demo eventually landed the two a deal with Atlantic Records, and in 1996 the band released its self-titled debut. The album spawned the singles "Radiation Vibe" and "Sink to the Bottom", which both received airplay. Coincidentally, at around the same time the title song for the film That Thing You Do!, which Schlesinger wrote, became a hit. "That Thing You Do!" also brought Schlesinger an Oscar nomination and an RIAA gold certification for the hit soundtrack.

Along with guitarist Jody Porter and drummer Brian Young, the band toured the world extensively behind the album, playing alongside bands such as The Smashing Pumpkins and The Lemonheads. However the album was considered a disappointment commercially, selling only 125,000 copies in the US.

Utopia Parkway

In 1999 the band released its second album, Utopia Parkway, named after a road in Queens, New York. The album was something of a concept record that dealt with life in modern suburbia. Utopia Parkway was received well by critics, garnering many favorable reviews, and was album of the week in People magazine. Like its predecessor, however, the album sold poorly and failed to spawn a hit single. The group once again toured extensively behind the album, but frustrations grew between the band and the label when they failed to promote a proper third single entitled "Troubled Times" remixed by Tom Lord-Alge. The band was later dropped by Atlantic in late 1999.

Hiatus period

The band disbanded for a period of time. Schlesinger found work as a writer and producer and co-wrote many of the songs for the Josie and the Pussycats film and soundtrack. He also produced albums for the Verve Pipe and David Mead, as well as several tracks by They Might Be Giants. He released a third record with his band Ivy on Nettwerk records.

During the group's hiatus, Collingwood formed and fronted a pop-country band entitled the Gay Potatoes based in the Northampton, Massachusetts, area. He also played a string of solo shows in the Boston and Los Angeles areas. Guitarist Jody Porter worked with his band The Astrojet alongside famed producer Gordon Raphael and keyboardist David Zhang in the New York City area. Drummer Brian Young played with Ivy and found session work for various artists.

Reunion

Sometime in 2001 the band slowly came back together, recording a cover of The Kinks' "Better Things" for the tribute album This Is Where I Belong: Songs of Ray Davies and the Kinks. The group also recorded the theme song for the Comedy Central show Crank Yankers, and contributed to the VH1 cartoon series Hey Joel with columnist Joel Stein. The show aired only briefly on VH1 in 2003, but later was picked up by Teletoon in Canada. The band members appear as animated versions of themselves, performing original songs that typically review the plot developments immediately preceding their performance.

Welcome Interstate Managers

The band used the money made from these projects to fund the recording of a new album, working in upstate New York, New York City, and Boston.

In 2003, former Atlantic A&R man Steve Yegewel signed the band as new A&R man at S-Curve Records, and the band released Welcome Interstate Managers. It spawned the hit single "Stacy's Mom" (which Adam Schlesinger says was a tribute to The Cars), which was certified gold by the RIAA.

Initially, "Stacy's Mom" stalled at commercial alternative radio in the US; the single, LP, and band seemed doomed to obscurity. However, MTV rescued the band from likely failure as MTV President Judy McGrath championed the music video for "Stacy's Mom", rapidly increasing the song's exposure and success. The video features Rachel Hunter as the object of the fantasies of the song's narrator. The follow-up single, "Mexican Wine", fared less well, with a controversial video that showed young children singing the lyrics "think I'll have another glass of Mexican wine" and guitarist Jody Porter catching a drink on the bare stomach of a woman lying on a beach. The single was ultimately pulled by the record label. The third single, "Hey Julie", an acoustic song, received some airplay. "All Kinds of Time", depicting a young football player in a Zen-like state of mind during a crucial potentially game-winning pass, was used for NFL commercial promotions during the 2005 season. The band also recorded a performance on Austin City Limits, which aired in December 2003.

The present

Out-of-State Plates

In June 2005, Fountains of Wayne released Out-of-State Plates, a collection of B-sides as well as two new songs. The album was supported by the single "Maureen" and a limited US tour that included some acoustic-only sets, a set on PBS Soundstage, and American Songbook. Also included on the album is a cover of the Britney Spears hit "...Baby One More Time".

Traffic and Weather

Traffic and Weather was released on April 3, 2007. Blender magazine named the band one of the reasons to love 2007 because of the release of its latest album.

Discography

Studio albums

Compilation albums

Singles

Release date Title Chart positions Album
US Hot 100 UK Singles Chart US Modern Rock
1996
"Radiation Vibe" #32 #14
Fountains of Wayne
1997
"Sink to the Bottom" #42
"Survival Car" #53
"Barbara H." #119
"I Want an Alien for Christmas" #36
Non-LP; later compiled on Out-of-State Plates
1998
"Leave the Biker"
Fountains of Wayne
1999
"Denise" #57 #34
Utopia Parkway
"Red Dragon Tattoo" #79
"Troubled Times" #134
2003
"Stacy's Mom" #21 #11 #31
Welcome Interstate Managers
2004
"Mexican Wine"
"Hey Julie" #57
2005
"Maureen"
Out-of-State Plates
2007
"Someone to Love"
Traffic and Weather
"'92 Subaru"

Non-album songs

  • "Better Things" (Kinks cover) – This is Where I Belong: The Songs of Ray Davies and The Kinks, The Manchurian Candidate OST
  • "Bowling Shoes" – Performed live several times in 2000. Later some of the lyrics were slightly changed and became part of the song "The Girl I Can't Forget".
  • "Bus Stop" (The Hollies cover) – featured in American Dreams
  • "Everything's Ruined" (Acoustic) – Future Soundtrack for America
  • "Help!" (The Beatles cover) – featured in Cheaper By The Dozen
  • "Monster House" – Written for the movie Monster House. The song didn't make it on the OST but a demo version was made available via the band's MySpace.
  • "Sasquatch" – live only
  • "Sense Into You" – bonus track on the Japanese version of Traffic and Weather, "Someone to Love" b-side
  • "Tell Me What You Already Did" – Robots: The Movie OST
  • "Too Cool for School" – Scary Movie OST

Featured in television and film

Fountains of Wayne songs have been featured in many films and TV shows:

Group members

Famous fans

Stephen King featured the song "Red Dragon Tattoo" (off Utopia Parkway) in his 2004 ABC miniseries Kingdom Hospital. King is a big fan of the group, and often makes references to Fountains of Wayne in his periodic pop-culture related articles in Entertainment Weekly. In December 2005, he started a list of his favorite Christmas songs with Fountains of Wayne's "I Want an Alien for Christmas".

Elton John has said he is a fan of the band. He called Collingwood and Schlesinger after listening to Utopia Parkway to tell them he thought it was great.

Paul Muldoon also stressed his love of the group to a high school audience at Milton Academy when he delivered a lecture on poetic inspirations.

Country singer Robbie Fulks wrote a song entitled "Fountains of Wayne Hotline" in which he imagined the group having a hotline which other songwriters could call for help.

References

External links

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