Adam Schlesinger, best known to most music fans as a member of the power pop band, Fountains of Wayne lost his life on April 1st of this year at the age of 52. One of the first musicians taken from us by the Corona Virus pandemic, Adam’s death is an immeasurable loss. In addition to founding Fountains of Wayne with Chris Collingwood, Schlesinger was a gifted and prolific songwriter, producer and multi-instrumentalist who also recorded with electro-pop trio Ivy and ‘supergroup’ Tinted Windows (with Bun E. Carlos, James Iha and Taylor Hanson). Offstage, he had an impressive career writing music for film and television. I first met Adam in 1995, when I interviewed Fountains of Wayne during the press cycle for its debut album, and over the years I would see him occasionally at parties and industry events. He was a nice guy and an unbelievable talent. Everybody loved Adam.
I figured it was about time I posted an “official” Christmas-Themed Video Clip of the Week, so that we all have time to enjoy it before Christmas has already come and gone — because, I swear, it gets here faster every year! This week’s clip is “Text Me Merry Christmas” by the a capella group Straight No Chaser, featuring the guest vocals of actress Kristen Bell. I loved her so much in Forgetting Sarah Marshall, but she certainly has shown her range with her turn as Jeannie in Showtime’s House of Lies, and now I find out she can sing! I guess it was not really a secret, but I had no idea!
Anyway, not only is this animated video for “Text Me Merry Christmas” adorable as heck, but the song, with its super clever lyrics, is just fantastic and will stick in your head like a holiday ear worm! To create this fun music video that’s sure to become a modern Christmas classic, Straight No Chaser partnered with YouTube comedy-collective and branded content company JASH, and award-winning songwriters Adam Schlesinger (Fountains of Wayne) and David Javerbaum. Visually inspired by beloved Rankin-Bass Holiday specials like Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer and Santa Claus Is Comin’ To Town, JASH collaborated with their animation partner, Toronto based Cuppa Coffee Studios to help create a music video in a similar style. High Fives All Around on this one! Enjoy!
Cheap Trick drummer Bun E. Carlos (born Brad Carlson) was born on this day, June 12th, in 1951. Bun E. currently also plays drums with the all-star rock project Tinted Windows, featuring Hanson singer Taylor Hanson, former Smashing Pumpkins guitarist James Iha and Fountains of Wayne bassist Adam Schlesinger. Their debut album was released in April, 2009. Happy Birthday, Bun!
Backstory: It’s not always easy to lure me out of the Chickpad on a weeknight, but just last evening I hopped the M21 bus to Houston and Elizabeth Street to hang out at a listening party for the new album by some band called Motion City Soundtrack — a group of unwashed-looking guys pushing thirty who sing songs about what it’s like to be 15 years old and have “problems.” Aside from the fact that the party was held in a place where you have to make an appointment to custom design your own over-priced Nike sneakers, attendees were promised an “open bar” and snacks, so it really could have been any crappy band and I would have been there, because free food is free food.
The upcoming new album by Motion City Soundtrack turns out to be pretty much the typical “Poppy-Punk-meets-Emo” fare by your garden variety signed-to-Epitaph band that wishes it had the nads to be Bad Religion. You know: not horrifying but not anything I would ever listen to if I wasn’t being paid to write about the drummer. I will say that the production is top notch, being that the songs are alternately produced by either Ric Ocasek or the team of Eli Janney (Girls Against Boys) and Adam Schlesinger (Fountains of Wayne). So you know they threw down a few bucks to get the thing recorded. I sincerely wish these guys some good fortune in selling lots of copies of this album, the name of which escapes me at the moment, because I might even be into their music if I wasn’t in my forties and didn’t have my shit completely together.
Oh, and speaking of the free food, can I just say that I was served what was definitely the single most delicious cheeseburger I have ever eaten in my entire life? I’m not even exaggerating. That burger was so fucking awesome, I’ll be talking about it for the rest of my life. When I’m on my death bed, the last word that slips from my withered mouth will likely be, “cheeseburger….” Mmmm…Count on it.
But I digress. What I really wanted to blog about today is Hey Paula (Thursdays at 10:00 PM on Bravo) the new reality TV show starring professional train wreck and washed-up has-been, Paula Abdul. I happened to get home from the party early enough to catch the debut episode and it was just insane. Jesus god, this show is so ridiculously, desperately heinous, it makes Britney and Kevin: Chaotic look like The Sopranos by comparison. If there was ever any doubt that Abdul – whose histrionics and incoherent babbling have made American Idol almost unwatchable to me — is a pill-popping lunatic with, at best, a tenuous grasp on reality, this show blasts that doubt to smithereens. I can’t believe she actually allowed cameras to follow her around and immortalize her on film acting like an overwrought, pathetic loser. It would almost be sad if she hadn’t volunteered to let the whole world (or at least those with basic cable) witness behavior that makes a freak like Courtney Love seem like the paragon of self-control. You can bet I will be watching this show every week until they take it off the air, because Hey Paula must be seen to be believed.