Tinted Windows performs at 7 p.m. April 25 at Plunkett Park at the University of Central Oklahoma, 100 N. University Drive in Edmond.
Speaking in the collective "we" and perpetually reinforcing the importance of the fans' perspective, Taylor Hanson is quite the diplomat.
After 17 years in his eponymous band, Hanson, at 26, has already made an indelible mark on pop music with a number of unlikely collaborations. Everyone from Bob Weir to Andrew W.K. to Weird Al Yankovic has worked with him in some form. Yet many will inevitably be perplexed by Taylor Hanson's latest creative exploit and, in turn, the working relationships it implies.
Meet Tinted Windows, a categorical "supergroup" comprised of Hanson as lead singer, guitarist James Iha, bassist Adam Schlesinger and drummer Bun E. Carlos. If those names don't ring any bells, think Smashing Pumpkins, Fountains of Wayne and Cheap Trick, respectively. And to answer a common question: No, this is not a joke, and yes, this is a real band.
"I am a real boy," Hanson said, "and we are not made of wood."
Part of the surprise may stem from the apparent suddenness of the band's formation " news of Tinted Windows' existence broke widely just weeks before the band performed at this year's South by Southwest music festival, and the self-titled debut album was slated for release yesterday.
So that's the unlikely story, but the reality of Tinted Windows is this: Hanson (the band) met with Schlesinger while recording 1997's "Middle of Nowhere."
"We tried working together, but never really came up with a song," Hanson said. "Ever since then, we've stayed in touch. The idea of Tinted Windows came up about three and a half years ago. It only took us seven, eight, nine years to do something."
From there, Schlesinger recruited Iha, and the three began writing and recording demos with 1970s and 1980s power pop in mind. After searching for a drummer like Carlos, the group decided to ask Carlos himself, and after reviewing the demos, he was on board.
"All of us were into going after a particular sound we all liked from lots of different power-pop bands," Hanson said. "The whole idea was always to do something with a lot of guitars, straight pop songs, and try not to make it too ironic. And to surprise people, because it is not tongue-in-cheek."
NO ONE KNEW
After so many years in the making, how come nobody knew about it?
"To be honest, I'm kind of surprised myself. There were a couple that heard about it, but I think in all of our minds, we didn't really want to talk about it. People get so caught up in who's in the band that it takes over," Hanson said.
This secrecy isn't the only departure for him, whose last record with Hanson dealt with heavier themes of activism and religion " quite a switch from Tinted Windows, where, according to Hanson, "the deepest thing I say is, 'I'm dead serious.'"
As a member of Hanson, he is a pianist and one-third of an ensemble. In Tinted Windows, he is the prototypical front man.
"I've always liked engaging the audience and performing, but to be honest, I don't feel like I'm doing enough," Hanson said. "It's a different headspace, but one that I've enjoyed. So far." "Becky Carman