Breaking: Tinted Windows - Rolling Stone
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Breaking: Tinted Windows

Who: Tinted Windows, a power-pop supergroup featuring the unexpected union of Taylor Hanson (of Hanson), former Smashing Pumpkins guitarist James Iha, Fountains of Wayne’s Adam Schlesinger and Cheap Trick drummer Bun E. Carlos. “I was like, ‘That’s the best idea ever,’ ” Iha said of Schlesinger’s brainstorm to start the band.

Sounds Like: “The whole album is a love letter to power pop — everything from Weezer to the Knack to Big Star — and to simple, guitar-driven songs,” Hanson says of the band’s first album, Tinted Windows. Essentially, it’s a barrage of loud guitars paired with Hanson’s sugary pop vocals and the classic backbeat of Cheap Trick.

Vital Stats:

• Schlesinger first had the idea to form the group three years during a trip to the Hanson brothers’ Tulsa, Oklahoma compound, where a writing session yielded Tinted Windows’ first song “Take Me Back.” “I was like, ‘Wow, this is cool. We’re doing exactly what we were talking about,” Hanson said.

• After recruiting Iha, the trio began recording with one rule. “We decided right at the beginning, no keyboards,” Schlesinger says. “It was tough, because Taylor and I both play keyboards, but it’s one of those decisions that automatically created a palette we were going to stick with.” Iha adds they wanted to keep it “really raw.”

• Eager to find a drummer that had the “Bun E. Carlos swagger,” the band thought maybe they should just approach the 57-year-old Cheap Trick drummer himself, who also acts a session drummer in his native Rockford, Illinois. “It’s $100 a song, and if I like it, it’s $50 a song,” Carlos told the trio when they called. “When this Tinted Windows thing came up, my wife said, ‘You’re kind of busy.’ But if this record came out and I hadn’t been on it, I would be kicking myself in the ass,” he adds.

Hear It Now: Tinted Windows is out April 21st, and the quartet will embark on a brief tour this month and try to add more dates following Cheap Trick’s own tour with Def Leppard and Poison this summer. In the meantime, check out the band’s video for “Kind of a Girl” — plus a bonus interview with Taylor Hanson.


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