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Tinted Windows: Your New Favorite Supergroup?

The New Now

The concept of a supergroup is often a dodgy proposition. Sure in the mid-to-late '60s, when the term was first coined, there was Cream, Blind Faith, and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. But since then, a supergroup is rarely greater than the sum of its parts.

Remember the Firm (both the mid-'80s Paul Rodgers-Jimmy Page combo and the late-'90s hip-hop posse featuring Nas and Foxy Brown)? Didn't think so. How about the Babys-meet-Journey outfit Bad English or the spawn of the Meat Puppets, Nirvana, and Sublime known as Eyes Adrift?

Sure there are better super groupings, including the Raconteurs, but then there is a long-list of the ill fated, such as Rage Against Soundgarden, also known as Audioslave, and the STP-greased Guns N' Roses refugees in Velvet Revolver.

All this supergroup introspection was inspired by the announcement last week that Hanson's Taylor Hanson, former Smashing Pumpkins guitarist James Iha, Fountains Of Wayne and Ivy mainstay Adam Schlesinger, and Cheap Trick drummer Bun E. Carlos have gotten together and formed Tinted Windows.

You can check out a few snippets of the band performing by clicking on the amusing video below:

The band's formation was first reported on Billboard.com and later a new website called Hitfix reported that Tinted Windows had been signed to S-Curve Records with its debut due on April 21. Sorry, but I fail to see what all the fuss is about. I'm a fan of all of the bands that Tinted Windows' members hail from, but to tell you the truth, I'm only mildly interested in this new band. Maybe I'm jaded. Maybe I've seen too many collaborations like this fail to live up to expectations. But before I go too far with my premature evaluation, let's look at Tinted Windows and all its parts.

First up, vocalist Taylor Hanson. I've always liked Hanson, even if it hasn't been cool. Hanson arose out of the '90s boy-band craze, but what set them apart is the fact that they played their own instruments and wrote their own songs. Although I haven't followed the band too closely in recent years, I wouldn't write Taylor off. He has a fine voice and remember, Alex Chilton was a teen idol when he was the voice of the pre-fab Box Tops before he went on to form the great, unsung pop group Big Star. Check out Taylor and the rest of Hanson in this exclusive performance by the band.

Next up, James Iha. I liked the Smashing Pumpkins back when Billy Corgan had hair and followed them through their demise and recent rebirth. Although Corgan will hate this, the band hasn't been the same since the departure of Iha and original bassist D'arcy Wretsky. Everyone knows that the Pumpkins were/are Billy's band, but Iha brought something to the band that Corgan hasn't been able to replace. Check out this clip of Iha and the Pumpkins in this exclusive performance.

Adam Schlesinger just might be the X-factor in Tinted Windows. Although Fountains Of Wayne are the least commercially successful of the acts from which the members of Tinted Windows were spawned, Schlesinger has proven to be perhaps the best songwriter of the bunch, having co-written FOW's hit MILF-anthem "Stacy's Mom," as well as tunes for his other band, Ivy, and the Oscar-nominated theme for That Thing You Do! He's also penned songs for other acts ranging from the Jonas Brothers to America.

Bun E. Carlos is the veteran of the bunch, having manned the drum stool in Cheap Trick since the mid-'70s. He'll serve as the band's elder statesmen and inspiration. In fact, Iha has said that Carlos's band came up in conversations between he and his mates before the band found a drummer. "We talked about everything from the Buzzcocks to the Knack," Iha has said. "And, of course, Cheap Trick." In addition, Hanson has claimed that the band's members wondered, "Who do we know that can play drums like Bun E. Carlos?" Before realizing they could recruit the man himself, given the fact that both the Fountains Of Wayne and Smashing Pumpkins had shared bills with Cheap Trick. Check out Bun E. on the drums in this classic clip from Cheap Trick At Budokan.

There you have it. Tinted Windows' various parts showcased before your eyes. The band will play several showcases at the South By Southwest Music Festival in Austin, Texas in mid-March and is set to appear on The Late Show With David Letterman on April 20, the eve of its album release.

Maybe I've been too harsh in my premature assessment. I certainly wish Tinted Windows well and would like to see them succeed; I've just seen too many projects like this end in disappointment. Here's hoping Tinted Windows will be different. What do you think?

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