For his new album of satirical music, Harry Shearer took the advice of his record-company partner and wrangled in a host of guests, including Fountains of Wayne. The New York City power pop band join the longtime comedic actor on “Celebrity Booze Endorser,” a track on the 68-year-old’s forthcoming album, Can’t Take a Hint.
“I’m a huge fan of Fountains of Wayne,” Shearer tells Rolling Stone. “I’ve been playing their records on my radio show, I’ve gone to see them live, I’ve gone back backstage.” Shearer was inspired to write “Celebrity Booze Endorser” after listening to some of the band’s older albums. “I thought who better to play on it than Fountains of Wayne,” he says. “And they said, ‘OK!'”
Other guests joining Shearer on Can’t Take a Hint, which is due for release on August 27th, include voodoo-jazz legend Dr. John and Emmy-winning actress Jane Lynch. Dr. John sings on the track “Autumn in New Orleans,” one of only two album cuts Shearer says are “not meant to make people laugh.”
Shearer met the R&B great after approaching him to headline a show surrounding the premiere of The Big Uneasy, the 2010 documentary Shearer directed that explores the effects of Hurricane Katrina upon New Orleans, one of several places the comedian has called home. “He’s such a sweetheart,” Shearer says of Dr. John. “It was an honor to work with him.”
By comparison, Shearer already knew Lynch quite well: the two had worked together on a pair of films (A Mighty Wind and For Your Consideration), so he knew the Glee star could “sing her ass off . . . Jane is such a wonderful person, such a sweet, smart, kind generous person,” he says. As for his take on her recent success? “When you see somebody suddenly after a number of years escalate to stardom, the natural reaction of friends in Hollywood is to say ‘fuck her.’ But nobody thinks anything but ‘Well, at last it happened to somebody who really fucking deserves it!'”
Music is certainly not new to Shearer. The multi-talented performer, who plays a proficient bass and rose to fame thanks to his work on Saturday Night Live and his starring role in the acclaimed mockumentary This Is Spinal Tap (as well as voicing Mr. Burns and Waylon Smithers on The Simpsons), has released several previous albums, two of which have been nominated for Grammys. Making a new album, Shearer says, was something of a joy after having worked on a serious film like The Big Uneasy.
“It was a major relief to let go and just go back to fooling around,” he says.