All boys have thought about it.
Whether it was your fourth grade teacher or the mother of the new kid at school, at one point in every adolescent male's life, it dawns on them that all mothers aren't identical to their own apron-clad disciplinarian. Some of them are actually hot.
"It's sort of about that period when you're first hitting puberty and suddenly everybody of the opposite sex is strangely attractive," Fountains of Wayne guitarist Adam Schlesinger said of his band's new single, "Stacy's Mom." "It's a combination of sexual awakening and limited contact with a large number of people. It's the kids at school and whoever else happens to be in your life."
Despite the song's somewhat universal point of reference, Schlesinger isn't without a specific instance that comes to mind when thinking about his own Mrs. Robinson moment.
"One of my best friends, when we were maybe 11 or 12, came to me and announced that he thought my grandmother was hot. And I said, 'Hey, you're stepping over the line,' but at that point in life, I wouldn't put it past anyone."
A video was shot in late May to provide actual images to supplant the mental ones the song conjures up in everyone who was once a hormone-addled youth. With former supermodel/ Rod Stewart's estranged wife Rachel Hunter taking on the title character, the video's imagery may even rival one's imagination.
Schlesinger described the clip, directed by Chris Applebaum (Britney Spears, Mandy Moore), as "a fairly literal and yet very over-the-top interpretation of the song." While the band — Schlesinger, singer Chris Collingwood, drummer Brian Young and guitarist Jody Porter — performs intermittently throughout the video, the 12-year-old protagonist daydreams about his friend Stacy's mother, who has just come home from work. Reality blends with fantasy "Hot for Teacher"-style, as Hunter is shown pole-dancing in the kitchen wearing an S&M outfit and crawling across the countertops. The clip even recreates the classic scene from "Fast Times at Ridgemont High," in which Phoebe Cates emerges soaking wet from the pool and seductively sheds her bikini top.
"Yeah, we didn't really hold back at all," Schlesinger said. "We looked at a lot of treatments and some directors were trying to be kind of arty and subtle with it, but Chris Applebaum went completely for the jugular."
"Stacy's Mom" appears on Fountains of Wayne's third album, Welcome Interstate Managers, released last Tuesday, and it's the most adventurous track of the set. Chunky, hook-filled songs with hints of humor abound. "Bright Future in Sales," about a traveling salesman's lament, "Hackensack," a love song set in an industrial New Jersey town, and "Mexican Wine" would also find natural homes on 1996's self-titled debut and 1999's Utopia Parkway. Then things start to get strange for longtime FoW devotees.
"Hung Up on You" is a country song, "Valley Winter Song" rolls with a distinctive twang, and "Halley's Waitress" is a somber piano ballad with a minimally funky, lushly layered chorus. What gives?
"That was the original goal of Utopia Parkway, to try to make a record kind of like the [Beatles'] White Album, which was all over the map," Collingwood said. "I don't think we succeeded ... We got a little closer to that this time around, just because it was over a long period of time."
The reason for the four-year delay between albums is two-fold. After getting dropped by Atlantic Records, they had to shop for a new deal. They eventually signed with S-Curve Records, which is distributed by Virgin. The other cause for the pause resulted from some much needed R&R after recording and touring heavily to support the two albums.
"I really wanted to just hang out with my wife and mow my lawn," Collingwood said.
By bucking some expectations, Welcome Interstate Managers may shake Fountains of Wayne loose from the power-pop pigeonhole they've been subjected to but never quite understood.
"The term came to my attention when we first started playing and I never thought of ourselves as that," Collingwood explained. "I think we're a pop band, and I guess if you're a pop band that plays guitars you're power pop."
"We just try to write songs that have interesting melodies," Schlesinger said. "And just the emphasis on melody at all automatically puts you in the power-pop category. Melody, at least for guitar bands, is something more derived from the Beatles than the Stones or heavy metal. So anything that's kind of melodic and comes from that Beatles lineage gets put into that power-pop box ... We like melody and can't help it."
Fountains of Wayne tour dates, according to their publicist:
- 7/3 - Milwaukee, WI @ Summerfest
- 7/5 - Nashville, TN @ Exit / In
- 7/6 - Atlanta, GA @ Cotton Club
- 7/8 - Washington, DC @ 9:30 Club
- 7/10 - New York, NY @ Irving Plaza
- 7/11 - Sea Bright, NJ Tradewinds
- 7/12 - Philadelphia, PA @ The Trocadero
- 7/13 - Boston, MA @ Paradise Rock Club
- 7/15 - Pittsburgh, PA @ Rosebud
- 7/16 - Detroit, MI @ St. Andrews Hall
- 7/17 - Chicago, IL @ Metro/ Smart Bar
- 7/19 - Minneapolis, MN @ First Avenue
- 7/22 - Portland, OR @ Dante's
- 7/23 - Seattle, WA @ Crocodile Cafe
- 7/25 - San Francisco, CA @ The Fillmore
- 7/27 - West Hollywood, CA @ House of Blues
- 7/28 - Anaheim, CA @ House of Blues