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Tinted Windows: Borrowed Basses & Unsung Heroes

The New Now

OK, I'll admit it. When I first heard of and wrote about Tinted Windows I was kind of skeptical. I still think the supergroup thing in general usually sounds better in theory than it does in reality. Yet Tinted Windows--featuring singer Taylor Hanson (yes, that Hanson), former Smashing Pumpkins' guitarist James Iha, Cheap Trick drummer Bun E. Carlos, and Fountains Of Wayne bassist Adam Schlesinger--is growing on me. The band's self-titled debut just might be the finest collection of power pop to come out since the genre's '80s skinny-tie heyday, and I enjoyed seeing the dudes--augmented by touring guitarist Josh Lattanzi--rock out on three tunes from said album during their Yahoo! Music live session. Check out their exclusive performance of "Kind Of Girl" below for yourself. (You can also download an MP3 of each of the three songs by right clicking and hitting "save as.")

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What you might not know from watching that performance is that Schlesinger is playing a Reverend bass guitar that was signed by Led Zeppelin's John Paul Jones. Prior to the session, Schlesinger was spied admiring the Jones-signed bass mounted on the wall of the studio's hallway. When Yahoo! Music studio whiz Ian Dittbrenner offered dismount the axe, Schlesinger was more than willing to take it for a spin. Seems he was less than enthused about the rental bass secured for the performance. See if you can catch Schlesinger playing the Jones-signed bass in the performance of "Back With You" below.
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Don't worry, I'm not going to make the leap here and compare Tinted Windows to the mighty Led Zep, but it was somehow appropriate that Schlesinger ended up playing the bass signed John Paul Jones. In Led Zeppelin, Jones had the lowest profile of the quartet, often lost in the shadows of rock gods Robert Plant and Jimmy Page and the larger-than-life (and death) drummer John "Bonzo" Bonham. Yet, Jones-who worked as musical director and arranger, session bassist and keyboardist--before Page asked him to help form Led Zeppelin--was the glue that held it all together. In fact, it was Jones who stepped in as the creative force on Zep's recorded swan song (pun intended) In Through The Outdoor while Page battled his demons and a nasty drug habit.

In Tinted Windows, I think it's safe to say that Schlesinger has the lowest profile. Hanson, of course, is a former teen heartthrob. Iha, a guitar god, albeit of the alt-rock variety, and Carlos is a rock legend, having anchored Cheap Trick for more than three decades. Yet while watching the band interact in the studio and the control room, it was clear that Schlesinger is the guy in the driver's seat of Tinted Windows. He's the sole songwriter on seven of Tinted Window's 11 tracks, and co-wrote another with Hanson. He was the guy that took charge when the band wasn't sure one of the takes was up to snuff, but ultimately decided it was good to go. He's also the guy, who in the fine video interview below--conducted by Yahoo! Music managing editor/Reality Rocks blogger Lyndsey Parker--downplays the whole "supergroup" thing. It's for those reason that I think Schlesinger is Tinted Windows unsung hero. Who's your favorite member of the band? While you weigh the gravity of that question, watch the video interview and take a look and listen to the band's prom-worthy ballad "We Got Something."

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