Turning 31 today is songwriter/bassist/producer Adam Schlesinger, who was reared in New Jersey. Schlesinger is currently an integral member of the modern-rock band Fountains of Wayne and the moody, pop-rock group Ivy. Schlesinger began tossing around ideas for rock bands with Pennsylvania-native Chris Collingwood, a singer, in the early '90s. After a stab at a record deal proved a dead end, the pair kept in contact but explored other musical partners.
Schlesinger met guitarist Andy Chase through a 1991 ad the latter put in the New York weekly newspaper the Village Voice; Chase had asked for a guitarist who liked the bands Prefab Sprout, the Go-Betweens and the Smiths. Although the two clicked immediately, they didn't form an alliance until a few years later, upon teaming with French-born singer Dominique Durand. The trio, who called themselves Ivy, began recording songs written by Schlesinger and Chase for the 1993 EP Lately.
Ivy issued their first full-length album, Realistic, on Seed records in 1995. The LP didn't make a big impression. In the meantime, Schlesinger reconnected with Collingwood to form the New York-based power-poppers Fountains of Wayne. The band issued its eponymous debut album -- produced by Schlesinger -- in 1996 on Scratchie/TAG/Atlantic Records. (Along with James Iha and D'Arcy of Smashing Pumpkins, Schlesinger is a partner in the Chicago-based Scratchie label.) Fountains of Wayne had a modern-rock radio hit with the disc's lead-off track, "Radiation Vibe." Other tracks included "Sink to the Bottom" and "Sick Day."
Last year, Schlesinger was nominated for a Best Song Oscar for writing the title track to the Tom Hanks-directed film "That Thing You Do!" Also in 1997, Ivy returned with Apartment Life (Atlantic) and filmed a video for the track "I've Got a Feeling." But the LP didn't take off, and Ivy parted amicably with their record label. Sony's 550 label scooped up Ivy and agreed to re-release Apartment Life this year. The track "This Is The Day" is currently being pushed by 550, since the song is included in the smash comedy-film "There's Something About Mary." Meanwhile, the moonlighting Schlesinger is still gigging with Fountains of Wayne.
"People assume there's some rivalry, like we're vying for the rights to Adam," Chase said recently about Schlesinger's two-band situation. "Adam's managed to forge ahead to be in a separate band and it's been very cool for us."
Other birthdays: Russ Ballard (Argent), 53; Tony Bowers (Simply Red), 46; Larry Mullen Jr. (U2), 37; Johnny Marr (Smiths, Electronic), 35; Colm Michael O'Ciosoig (My Bloody Valentine), 34; Adam Horowitz (Beastie Boys), 32; Linn Berggren (Ace of Base), 28; Roger Stevens (Blind Melon), 28; and Bernard Edwards (Chic), 1952-1996.