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Tinted Windows ready for New England debut
August 3, 2009, 1:05 pm

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!”

The future of Tinted Windows is up in the air, but that doesn’t bother James. They’re having fun being very much in the moment and playing honest, unfussy rock in the spirit of bands like Big Star and Cheap Trick (naturally).

“Most of the projects I work on are pretty fun,” Iha admits. “As long as the music’s good or the band is cool, I’m pretty happy to work on different things with different people… Those guys [Tinted Windows] are a blast – they’re all really great so I don’t see why we couldn’t do another record together.”

Source: Boston Music Spotlight