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Interesting little interview...mentions that James's next solo release is due out "next year." Hope we get some more details soon!

Tinted Windows - Your New Favorite Supergroup.
By Jason A. Miller

Tinted Windows is not your ordinary rock super group. An all-start band, the ensemble consists of guitarist James Iha, previously of The Smashing Pumpkins, singer Taylor Hanson of Hanson, bassist Adam Schlesinger of Fountains of Wayne and Ivy, and Bun E. Carlos of Cheap Trick. Their self-titled release is clearly this year's finest example of the lost art of Power Pop; bringing back the days when Cheap Trick and Elvis Costello ruled the airwaves and sold out arenas. I was lucky enough to catch the band before one of their shows, which can be quite a challenge to pull together with the members' busy schedules. "We have a master calendar and when there's an empty spot, here we are" says drummer Bun E. Carlos who had the day off from his current Cheap Trick / Def Leppard/ Poison tour.

When asked how the band came together, James Iha chimes in, "I know Adam because Smashing Pumpkins and Fountains of Wayne toured together in '97 and that was right around the time Taylor's band was releasing their first record." Turning to Bun E, he says, "We played shows together, right?" Bun E replies casually, "Yeah, we opened for you guys in '95." James immediately responds lightheartedly, "Man, we should have opened for you."

Tracks such as the first single "Kind Of Girl," the stunningly gorgeous "Back With You," and the undeniably catchy "Messing With My Head" are songs that only a certain breed of musician can write and come around only when the Power Pop stars are perfectly aligned. They are nestled into a record of pure Pop Rock genius. Like Cheap Trick with their masterpiece In Color in 1979, Tinted Windows have crafted a true gem in every sense. After singing a line from the song "Nothing To Me" in my best A cappella karaoke voice, James jokingly asks if I want to sing. Adam offers up "Taylor actually wrote that song in the studio while we were working on overdubs. He just went to the piano for a couple of hours and came out and said, 'Check this out.' "

I asked what it's like to play with Bun E. Adam answers first, "It kind of freaks me out sometimes when I turn around and realize that he's the drummer in this band. I can't look back too much or I get nervous." Bun E follows up, "That door swings both ways. I mean, there's a great guitar player and it's not Rick, a killer bass player, it's not Tom, and a killer singer that's not Robin. It's like, Whoa!" Adam replies, "Cheap Trick was definitely a big influence. That's part of the reason we called Bun E to begin with." Taylor chimes in, "Before we thought Bun E would even go for it, we said 'We need a drummer that has that Bun E Carlos sound, maybe Bun E would be into it.'"

Curious to know what these guys currently listen to, I ask what's on their playlists. Bun E sits up and pulls music reviews from his wallet, clipped from magazines. "I have a shopping list. I carry this stuff around with me. Imogene Heap, I saw her on Late Night." Adam adds, "I just got the new Brendan Benson record that I like." Without hesitation, Taylor quips, "Chester French, Fleet Foxes, I like the new Wilco record." James, who has been constantly cracking jokes throughout the interview in the style of Steven Wright, says, "I can't think of anything new but I did just download a bunch of old Elvis Costello tracks."

Is there going to be another Tinted Windows record? Adam replies, "I would love to do another record, I mean I hope we do. It might be a little while since we might be moving into a Hanson album cycle and a new Fountains of Wayne next year. James has a solo record (to be released next year). At least for me, now that we have a se
Tinted Windows - Round Table With James Iha, Taylor Hanson & Adam Schlesinger
Monday, September 21, 2009

When you throw the term super group around, the tendency is to dwell on the star studded lineup that earned the group its "super" status, and Tinted Windows is no exception. The power pop quartet has been riding high upon the heels of their self-titled freshman debut, but on the surface, the group's lineup makes for a much better story than the album.

With Taylor Hanson on vocals, Adam Schlesinger of Fountains of Wayne on bass, Cheap Trick's Bun E. Carlos on drums, and guitar riffs from James Iha of both Smashing Pumpkins/A Perfect Circle Fame, drafting up a feature on these guys without paying tribute to their previous projects would boarder on journalistic malpractice. But for as much significance as the aforementioned groups have earned, the real story behind Tinted Windows is one of a handful of musicians, all renowned in their own right, who banded together to dish up simple-yet-driven pop tunes that stray from the formula's their other projects work within. Whether it's the chord progressions, the set lists, or the stage productions with Tinted Windows, there seems to be a deliberate emphasis placed on simplicity that speaks to the cathartic release this band seems to provide to its members.

After their sound check, prior to a performance at Boston's Paradise Rock Club, Iha sat down for a one-one-one interview with Glide that eventually roped in both Hanson and Schlesinger. It could have been expected that when interviewing artists who've been doing press for years, they could slip into a robotized answer mode that does no more than give the writer what he or she needs. But for a group with a background that almost ensures monotonous Q&A, they not only took the task on, but they even offered up some power-pop quotes to Glide.

I'm sure you've had to answer this question to every reporter you've spoken with, but how did this band come to be?

James Iha: I would expect nothing less. There are only so many questions you can ask this band because we're so new. I've known Adam, [Schlesinger] who's [the bassist for] Fountains of Wayne, for about ten or twelve years. His band used to play with my old band, the [Smashing] Pumpkins, and we have a studio together in New York, and have run a label together. We've worked on different projects before, and he's been friends with Taylor [Hanson] for over ten years and they've always talked about working on something together, and then a couple of years ago Adam said, "I have this idea for a power-pop rock band with Taylor singing. Would you want to play guitar?" and I said "yes." We said we wanted a Bun E. Carlos type of drummer, so we got Bun E Carlos.

When the group got together was it something you guys envisioned as a studio project or a live project?

Iha: It was more like a concept project where we wanted to make the record and then go out. [Tinted Windows is] not the kind of band where you jam. It's more just [like] three-minute-pop-song based. Taylor, Adam, and I all wrote songs and brought them to the studio and made the record with Bun E. without having to play them live.

So when you guys wrote the songs for this album, did you each write material individually, or did you all work on material together?

Iha: [On] one song, Taylor and Adam collaborated. The first song, "Take Me Back." [It's] not the first song on the record but the first song the band wrote. Everything else, we all wrote on our own. I wrote a song I just brought to the studio.

Having played with other singers, most notably Billy Corgan [of Smashing Pumpkins], how does working with a singer like Taylor Hanson differ from working with a guy like Billy Corgan?

Playing with any band is different. Yeah, [Billy Corgan and Taylor Hanson] are very different people. But we've all played in other bands. I p
0 comments has the video for "Back With You" posted, along with a little interview from James. James shot the footage for the video. ("Back With You" is one of two tracks written by James for the Tinted Windows album.)
Tinted Windows ready for New England debut
BMS checks in with guitarist James Iha on the eve of two big shows in New England
By Jennifer Carney, Contributing Writer

James Iha is no stranger to supergroups and stretching musical boundaries. His tenure with the Smashing Pumpkins as lead guitarist is the stuff of grunge legend, and his stint in the immensely talented conglomerate A Perfect Circle is another impressive stop along his musician's journey. Not content to rest on his ample laurels, lately James has been producing bands like the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, remixing Ladytron (among many others), and is "about halfway through" his long-awaited solo album. In the midst of all this musical awesomeness, there is also Tinted Windows.

As far as supergroups go, Tinted Windows has a lot of unlikely star power. Comprised of Iha, vocalist/guitarist Taylor Hanson (Hanson), bassist Adam Schlesinger (Fountain of Wayne), and drummer Bun E. Carlos (Cheap Trick), Tinted Windows caused quite a stir at the SXSW festival in Austin this past March.

"We first did a warm-up show in Tulsa, where Taylor's from," explains Iha. "I think after that went well we just thought it would all go well. [SXSW] was good - it was a fun place to debut this sort of band. There were definitely a lot of people who were there for curiosity's sake!"

But James doesn't think the individual renown of each of the group's members detracts from their popularity. "I think it enhances," he says. "It gives the project a twist - the fact that people are all from different kind of backgrounds and have played in other bands."

Since SXSW, the unlikely quartet have taken their power-pop sound to the masses with an eponymous new album full of catchy, satisfyingly singles like "Kind of a Girl" and "Messing with My Head". But what drove James to try his hand at pop rock?

"Well, the band is sort of like a conceptual idea," Iha explains. "Well, it's not even that big of a concept! Adam Schlesinger, who I'm friends with and we own a recording studio together in New York - he just came up to me one day and said, 'Hey, I've got this idea. What would you think about making like a pop band with Taylor Hanson singing?' And I'm like, 'Oh, yeah, that's awesome!' And we kind of knew it would be a sort of pop-rock or power-pop record...full of 3-minute pop songs with Taylor singing, juxtaposed with loud, distorted guitars."
Such a drastic switch in sound naturally drew some criticism from those eagerly awaiting the next A Perfect Circle album.

"I saw a few message boards early on where people were saying, WTF?" Iha says, spelling it out. "I guess everybody gets obsessed with bands I've been in; they get taken very seriously. But...[Tinted Windows] is just a fun band with a cool record and a great idea that we had. Well, a seemingly great idea!

"I may or may not be part of that next [APC] record. Those guys are great, though - really super talented. I was very happy to play with them. But their lineup kind of switches from record to record, so who knows? Maybe, maybe not."

New England fans and curiosity-seekers alike are very lucky; Tinted Windows are playing two shows in the area - Boston's Paradise Rock Club on Monday (August 3) and Connecticut's Mohegan Sun Casino on Tuesday (August 4) - out of only five total concert dates planned.

"I think we're going to be playing shows sporadically around everyone's schedules," says Iha. "We might go to Japan later this year. There was talk that we were going to play in the UK, but I'm not sure yet.

"I like Boston a lot, though. I like J.P. Licks - that ice cream place. I'd like to give a shout-out to my peeps at J.P. Licks," says Iha with a laugh. "I like Newbury Comics; I like Boston - I don't really know it that well; [you] have a very strong baseball team, and I went candlepin bowling once!"
(This is an excerpt from a longer interview which will be up closer to June 18.)

by Michael Alan Goldberg

Just got off the phone with guitarist James Iha - who's probably best known for his long stint in the Smashing Pumpkins - who comes to the TLA on Thursday, June 18th with his new power-pop supergroup, Tinted Windows, which also features singer/keyboardist Taylor Hanson (yes, from that Hanson), drummer Bun E. Carlos (Cheap Trick), and bassist-vocalist Adam Schlesinger (Fountains of Wayne/Ivy). A seemingly unlikely lineup, but here's some of what Iha had to say about that:

"I guess it's like, to me, it's not surprising - I'm a working musician and I work on all different...lots of different kinds of projects. Remixes and producing and working with indie bands. I dunno, I don't really think of my identity as being just with one band anymore. I feel like the Pumpkins broke up a while ago and it's just like, I've moved on, working on whatever I like and whatever works for me."

And on the notion of "supergroups":

"We decided that's something we're not gonna call ourselves [laughs]. If somebody else wants to call us that, that's cool. But it's definitely a bad idea to throw that term around."
James weighs in on...

The 2008 presidential election

"Wibbling Rivalry"


Power pop

And of course, some commentary on his beloved canines concludes Iha's week of editing for MAGNET.
Who knew James was into the Southern gothics?
Pumpkins' James Iha in new supergroup

By BLAIR R. FISCHER Contributor

There's a long history of -- for lack of a better word -- "supergroups." These, of course, are bands comprised of musicians with already established pedigrees. Classic examples are Blind Faith and The Travelling Wilburys, while less memorable amalgams include HSAS and The Firm (both the rock and hip-hop versions). Seemingly not a year goes by when one forms, and 2009 marks the debut of one of the odder supergroups: Tinted Windows.

Featuring Taylor Hanson (Hanson) on vocals, Adam Schlesinger (Fountains of Wayne, Ivy) on bass, James Iha (Smashing Pumpkins, A Perfect Circle) on guitar, and Bun E. Carlos (Cheap Trick) on drums, Tinted Windows is arguably the most multigenerational supergroup ever, with Carlos -- for example -- being 32 years Hanson's senior. Says Iha, "We're hoping we're starting a new trend of strange supergroups." The power-pop quartet released its eponymous debut April 21, and is slated to play one of only a handful of club dates April 30 at Chicago's Double Door.

The Pioneer Press spoke with Chicago native Iha -- he is a graduate of Elk Grove Village High School -- best known for his work with the '90s alt-powerhouse Pumpkins. Iha now lives in New York but, he says, "I still come back to Chicago to eat pizza." While reluctant to talk about his days with the Pumpkins or the band's recent reunion, which didn't include him, he confirms he was indeed asked by Corgan to reunite with the band but declined. "I'm not really answering too many questions about the Pumpkins just because I don't wanna make it a thing about that," he says. "I just want to keep it positive as far as being proud of what we accomplished while I was in the band."

Q: How did you come to be in Tinted Windows?

A: I've known Adam since the mid-90s. We started an indie record label together (Scratchie Records) in the mid-90s and Fountains of Wayne toured with the Smashing Pumpkins for a couple months. We have a recording studio in New York, so we hang out all the time. So, a couple years ago, Adam was like, 'Dude, I got this idea. We should do this pop-rock, loud guitar thing with Taylor Hanson singing.' And I was like, 'That's an awesome idea.' He knows Taylor because the guy who actually signed Tinted Windows, Steve Greenberg, he signed Hanson and Fountains of Wayne. He asked Adam a while ago to write with Hanson. So he's known Taylor since the mid-90s, as well.

Q: You wouldn't think your first reaction would be "awesome" upon hearing Taylor Hanson's name. Did you have preconceived notions of Hanson?

A: I knew he could sing. I just liked the idea of coming up with a high-concept project where you specifically write for this type of band. I thought it was an interesting twist on Taylor, who's normally not singing on top of this kind of music. At the same time, I don't think it's totally removed from what Hanson's known for, "MMMBop," and that's totally pop. I think it's cool to put him in this pop-rock format with loud guitars and just put it out as is.

Q: Does Tinted Windows feel like a band?

A: Yeah. It was always in theory for a really long time. We finished the record and the first time we actually played in the same room was when we performed for our South by Southwest tour. So it was always broken up. Taylor would do some sessions and Bun E. did his sessions. When we played at South by Southwest (in Austin) it was like, "Oh yeah, this is great."

Q: So the album was recorded before you jammed or rehearsed?

A: Taylor, Adam and I wrote songs. We all just brought them in for the project. The three of us sat there and were like, "How does this song go?" And we decided, "Oh, this is good." "This is bad." And then at some point obviously we needed a drummer and we had different drummer ideas. One of the references was, "We should get someone like Bun E. Carlos." He should play something like that. After a while, we were like, ... 'Call Bun E.
1 comment
By Brent DiCrescenzo

Time Out Chicago: I'm familiar with your relationship with Adam, but how did you rope in Taylor Hanson?
James Iha: Through Adam. I've known Adam since the mid-'90s. We had our record label, and Fountains of Wayne had opened for the Pumpkins. We have a studio in New York City, Stratosphere. We work on a lot of different projects, some producing, random stuff. Adam's known Taylor since their first record came out. He was asked to write with Hanson for their first record. So they've been friends for a while. Over the years we've said, we should work on a project a record together. It'd be fun. A couple years ago Adam asked, what do you think of doing a project, a pop record with Taylor singing. It'll have loud guitars, but it'll be pop.

TOC: With Fountains of Wayne and writing for the Click Five and Jonas Brothers, etc., Adam has a background in power-pop. But was it something that interested you?
James Iha: I like all those [power-pop] bands. I'm known for being in the Pumpkins and A Perfect Circle, much heavier bands. I think, like anybody, I like all kinds of rock. I've liked Jesus and Mary Chain, the Ramones, things like that. I like a lot of the typical power-pop bands like Big Star. There's so much music out there, you learn to appreciate the best things out of all these different genres. It wasn't that big of a leap for me personally. I know it sounds crazy.

TOC: Growing up in Chicago, were you into local power-pop like Shoes and Pezband?
James Iha: Definitely. My older brother always played Live at Budokan. I was always aware of that. That was always one of the references for this project. I had a period in high school when I knew all that stuff. The Records' "Starry Eyes," Eddie and the Hot Rods, "Do Anything You Wanna Do." All that pop-rock from England. Bram Tchaikovsky, "Girl of my Dreams." I know all that stuff.

TOC: And then Tinted Windows actually got the drummer from Live at Budokan.
James Iha: We had all these different idea for drummers, but we said, "We should just call Bun E. Carlos." So we did. And he said, send me the songs. So we sent him the demos.

TOC: At 57, he's still an amazing drummer.
James Iha: It's amazing. He's great. His feel is great. He hits hard. He rocks like nobody's business. We did SXSW, and he's just a super cool guy to be in a band with.

TOC: How does it feel to be in a group with a childhood idol?
James Iha: It's incredible. Every once in a while we're like, "Bun E., We really gotta thank you for doing this." It's kinda crazy-we're driving in a van, busting our ass. But he's into it.

TOC: Is he loading in gear?
James Iha: Ha, no. He's not that deep into it.

TOC: What, no getting back to your roots?
James Iha: We sort of are. It's a real low budget affair, with practices, stuff like that.

TOC: Cheap Trick is touring this summer. What then is plan for Tinted Windows?
James Iha: There's going to be a break. Everyone has commitments to other bands. Hanson is making a record around the same time as Bun E.'s tour. Adam is doing a Fountains record. I'm working on a solo record, hoping I can finish up sometimes this year. But we hope to play as much as we can.

TOC: Is this a one off album, or a long-term project?
James Iha: We're into it. I think it's just been fun. We haven't thought about it much. It's been fun with every aspect. The three of us all wrote songs. Adam wrote more songs. We all contributed. Nothing serious or dramatic.

TOC: When did you move away from Chicago?
James Iha: 2001. I still have a place in Chicago. I do go back once in a while.

TOC: And you went to Loyola. Any fond memories of Rodgers Park?
James Iha: Um... no. [laughs] I like Chicago. But I wanted to move away... I spent my whole life in Chicago. A lot of my music friends were in New York, and I definitely didn't want to move to L.A. I do miss the pizza.

Brick Lane Curry House


The Clash
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