Entertainment Music

Tuesday 20 March 2018

Q&A: Fountains of Wayne's Chris Collingwood

Singer talks of being lusted after by soccer moms, going crazy on the road and almost breaking up the group

Ed Power

Ed Power

Hey, Fountains of Wayne! The Stacy's Mom band...

I have completely mixed feelings about that song. On the one hand it got us an an enormous amount of airplay, exposure we would never have received. On the other hand, a lot of the outlets where people heard it were Top-40 radio, which isn't really geared towards people who are interested in exploring an artist's catalogue.

Which is why everyone thought you were a one-hit wonder.

Stacy's Mom is a novelty song. I know when I hear a novelty song, I don't think 'oh, I wonder what other songs that band has'. I assume they have one hit and are gone.

Did you get a lot of ditzy new fans coming to your shows around then?

There were a lot of soccer moms. They would hold up signs that said, 'My Daughter's Name is Stacy'. For a while -- and this is still true to an extent -- our audiences were moms and all these other people who knew the rest of our songs. There was some animosity between the two, I think it's fair to say.

So you took a break from writing on the band's last record, which was unexpected considering you've authored some of Fountains of Wayne's best-loved tunes. What happened?

I needed to stop for a while. Touring was a part of it. That and a combination of insomnia and alcoholism. I sank into a depression, which culminated in an incident in Tokyo. But I'm out of the hospital and have come back to health.

And that, ladies and gentleman, is the dark side of rock and roll.

I don't want to blame it on the lifestyle. That wouldn't be very self-respecting of what I do for a living.

There must have been times when you wondered if the band had a future.

That issue is always on the table. You know, there have been moments it has been very difficult for me to persuade the rest of the group to gather around an idea. I've often thought, 'how much easier would it have been if it was just me?'

It sounds as if your relationship with [co-writer and bassist] Adam Schlesinger hasn't been the happiest.

On our new record, there was a LOT of tension. It got to the point where we had two very different opinions as to what we wanted. Things had never got to that state of divergence before.

Did you sort it out? Or do problems continue to fester beneath the surface?

We are professionals. We are mature enough to go about the business of the band in an adult way. We realised we had a record coming out and focused on that. In the end, we both got what we wanted out of it.

Fountains of Wayne play Academy, Dublin, on Sunday, November 13. The new album Sky Full of Holes is out now

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