‘Fountains of Wayne Hotline’ Singer Robbie Fulks on Adam Schlesinger – Variety
In 2005, Fountains of Wayne, the band led by the late Adam Schlesinger and Chris Collingwood, bought the last word salute: a massively affectionate tribute tune 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 exterior Fountains of Wayne, but it surely was the songwriting he did with Chris Collingwood inside that band that basically 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. They’d the package deal: storylines, chords, efficiency, audio combine and humor.
By “humor,” I don’t imply that they solid a satirical eye on their characters, or put snort traces of their songs — although typically they did each — however slightly that they used a light-weight contact to coax humanly relatable absurdities, yearnings and ironies from fine-detailed and even drab situations. 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 Lady I Can’t Neglect”), dwelling within the mid-Atlantic U.S. and sleepwalking by purposeless pink-collar jobs. What a terrific theme! In inserting most of their holdings on this one slot, they hit a Peter DeVries-ian inventive payout, reaping constant advantages from a slim 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 common music listeners prize above all else. Personally, I discover that essential however not adequate, and I really like the braininess, calculation and management that shone by Adam’s work.
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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 tune into overdrive. The directions break down the magic of FOW tunes into tactical pop-rock strategies (“Make use of the novel dynamic shift — , full band entry, fortissimo, whereas sustaining constant obvious quantity on the vocal observe”). Fulks explains the tune’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 big bureaucratic labyrinth, often harried and gruff, would provide an answer primarily based on time-honored Fountains of Wayne strategies. Grant, our guitarist, excelled on the mean-spirited drones, and sometimes a unique form of Hotline character would pop up, like one of many perky-beyond-all-reason sorts that have been drummer Gerald’s specialty.
The tune went up on iTunes, and never lengthy after, although I can’t keep in mind how lengthy, somebody within the band requested me to come back to Schubas Tavern in Chicago and meet with them afterward. Nothing very superb or memorable occurred there, besides that the quick WXRT present they did was spectacular in making use of that small room and humble PA to create an amazingly actual reproduction of a Fountains of Wayne report — no small feat. That afternoon ended up an important piece in my precept that for those who’d like to satisfy somebody, merely write and report a tune about him/her/them. It’s labored for me a number of occasions now! One very last thing, in case it’s not clear: the “Hotline” tune isn’t nastily satirical towards the band. The satire, reminiscent of it’s, is shallow; I revere their work.
(In a 2007 interview with Puremusic, Schlesinger shared his response to Fulks’ homage: “I adore 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 buddies now.”)