Adam Schlesinger tribute record out today

Father/Daughter Records & Wax Nine
Release Tribute to Adam Schlesinger Musical Projects

Saving for a Custom Van Out Now Exclusively via Bandcamp

100% of Compilation Proceeds Donated to MusiCares' COVID-19 Relief Fund
Adam Schlesinger was a prodigious and prolific songwriter, producer and multi-instrumentalist. He died on April 1 at the age of 52 as the result of complications from COVID-19. Not only was Schlesinger in multiple beloved bands—including the power-pop-leaning Fountains of Wayne and sophisticated electro-pop act Ivy—but he also collaborated on songs for movie soundtracks and the TV show Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.

A wide array of artists touched by Schlesinger's life pay tribute to the many musical projects of which he was a part via a Bandcamp-exclusive benefit compilation, Saving for a Custom Van. The 31-song collection features collaborators, tourmates, friends, and fans putting their own spin on songs spanning his entire career.

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend co-creator, executive producer and star Rachel Bloom turns Fountains of Wayne's "Stacy's Mom" into a jazzy cabaret moodpiece, while Schlesinger's Fountains of Wayne bandmate Jody Porter contributes a melancholy, shimmering take on Ivy's "Four in the Morning." Sarah Silverman—who teamed up with Schlesinger on the upcoming musical The Bedwetter—joins with songwriter Ben Lee for a gorgeous, folk-leaning take on "Way Back Into Love," a Schlesinger song central to the 2007 film Music and Lyrics.

Other musicians on the compilation tackle Fountains of Wayne songs (Letters to Cleo's Kay Hanley, "Radiation Vibe"; Motion City Soundtrack, "Dip in the Ocean"; Nada Surf, "Sick Day"; Vivian Girls/Upset member Ali Koehler, "Hackensack"), while Ivy songs are also well-represented (Belly members Tanya Donelly and Gail Greenwood, "Undertow"; Ted Leo, "Everyday"; HUNNY, "Tess Don't Tell.") A full annotated tracklist is below.


Saving for a Custom Van, which takes its title from a lyric in Fountains of Wayne's "Utopia Parkway," is co-curated and co-released by Father/Daughter Records and Wax Nine, the label/journal run by Speedy Ortiz’s Sadie Dupuis (who also contributes a FoW cover under her Sad13 moniker).

One-hundred percent of Saving for a Custom Van proceeds will be donated to MusiCares' COVID-19 Relief Fund, which is dedicated to helping music industry and community members affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Track Listing:
1. Apex Manor - Utopia Parkway
2. Tanya Donelly and Gail Greenwood - Undertow
3. Jeff Rosenstock - Please Don't Rock Me Tonight
4. Kay Hanley - Radiation Vibe
5. Ben Lee and Sarah Silverman - Way Back Into Love
6. Remember Sports - Just the Girl
7. Rachel Bloom - Stacy’s Mom
8. Christian Lee Hutson - Red Dragon Tattoo
9. Sad13 - A Fine Day For a Parade
10. Jack Dolgen - What’ll It Be
11. Motion City Soundtrack - A Dip in the Ocean
12. Field Mouse - Valley Winter Song
13. Cheekface - That Thing You Do
14. Lucy Stone - I’ve Got a Flair
15. Nada Surf - Sick Day
16. Jody Porter - Four in the Morning
17. Suzy Shinn and Charlie Brand - All Kinds of Time
18. Ted Leo - Everyday
19. Potty Mouth - I’ve Got A Feeling
20. Cocktails - Sink to the Bottom
21. Bree McKenna - Our Twisted Fate
22. Ethan Eubanks - Troubled Times
23. Ali Koehler - Hackensack
24. Charly Bliss - Pretend to Be Nice
25. Julian Velard and Alex Dezen - Michael and Heather at the Baggage Claim
26. HUNNY - Tess Don’t Tell
27. Mikey Erg - Hey Julie
28. Off Book and the Family Band - Come On
29. Prince Daddy & The Hyena and Just Friends - Mexican Wine
30. Lisa Prank - Little Red Light
31. Joshua Stoddard - Survival Car

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Adam Schlesinger was known for juggling multiple projects at once. In 1996, the New York City native had an unexpected mainstream pop hit with the Wonders' "That Thing You Do!," an Academy Award-nominated, British Invasion throwback song he wrote for the Tom Hanks movie of the same name. During the same mid-'90s era, Schlesinger also became active with two bands: Ivy—which favored sophisticated, pristine indie-pop—and the insightful alt-rock act Fountains of Wayne, who found radio success with songs such as the power-pop classic "Radiation Vibe."

Over the years, he remained an active member of these groups even as his schedule grew ever busier: He wrote songs for and with other bands (Superdrag, Bowling for Soup, The Click Five) as well as for film soundtracks (Josie and The Pussycats, Music and Lyrics). Later in his career, even after becoming executive music producer and a prolific songwriter for the beloved TV show Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Schlesinger continued balancing composition work with production jobs, including for the Monkees' 2016 album Good Times!

Schlesinger landed so many different gigs because of his versatility. He excelled at writing songs across a variety of styles—rock, power-pop, new wave, electro-pop, classic rock, folk, and Broadway, to name but a few. If anything, the main musical thread connecting Schlesinger's career was a good, solid hook—he didn't shy away from going full-on pop when the situation warranted—and a knack for surrounding himself with only the best creative talent. As a detailed NPR obituary pointed out, Schlesinger brought out the best in his collaborators—and they, in turn, also brought out the best in him.

Saving for a Custom Van features many musicians with whom Schlesinger worked closely—including Crazy Ex-Girlfriend co-creator, executive producer and star Rachel Bloom, who turns Fountains of Wayne's "Stacy's Mom" into a jazzy cabaret moodpiece; Crazy Ex-Girlfriend executive producer/composer Jack Dolgen, who envisions the show's "What'll It Be" as a muscular power-pop song; and Schlesinger's Fountains of Wayne bandmate Jody Porter, who contributes a melancholy, shimmering take on Ivy's "Four in the Morning." Sarah Silverman—who teamed up with Schlesinger for the upcoming musical The Bedwetter—joins with songwriter Ben Lee for a gorgeous, folk-leaning take on "Way Back Into Love," a Schlesinger song central to the 2007 film Music and Lyrics.

Fittingly, the compilation also shows off the breadth and depth of Schlesinger's many projects. Fountains of Wayne is, of course, well-represented, in the form of fizzy power-pop (Jeff Rosenstock, "Please Don't Rock Me Tonight"; Motion City Soundtrack, "Dip In the Ocean"), observant ballads (Nada Surf, "Sick Day"; Suzy Shinn, “All Kinds of Time”), buoyant sing-alongs (Mikey Erg "Hey Julie"; Lisa Prank, "Little Red Light"), and grungy garage (Cocktails, "Sink To The Bottom"; Sad13, “A Fine Day for a Parade”). Apex Manor also digs in for a soulful version of "Utopia Parkway," the song featuring the lyric that gives Saving for a Custom Van its name: "I've been saving for a custom van/And I've been playing for a cover band/And my baby doesn't understand/Why I never turned from boy to man."

Ivy is also covered multiple times on Saving for a Custom Van. Belly bandmates Tanya Donelly and Gail Greenwood team up for a dreamy "Undertow," while both Hunny ("Tess Don't Tell") and Potty Mouth ("I've Got a Feeling") capture the essence of Ivy's pop smarts. And the cult favorite Josie and the Pussycats soundtrack also gets much love: Letters to Cleo's Kay Hanley, who provided vocals for the soundtrack's songs, puts an '80s new wave spin on Fountains of Wayne's "Radiation Vibe." Elsewhere, the band and cast behind podcast Off Book: The Improvised Musical contribute a blazing version of the Pussycats’ "Come On," while Charly Bliss put their trademark driving synth-pop stamp on "Pretend To Be Nice."

But perhaps the biggest testament to Schlesinger's genius is how many artists on Saving for a Custom Van transform the songs with which he's associated. Two Fountains of Wayne tunes get complete makeovers: Field Mouse envisions "Valley Winter Song" not as a wistful folk-pop ballad, but as brisk, optimistic power-pop, while Christian Lee Hutson transforms the zippy "Red Dragon Tattoo" into a hushed indie-folk ballad.

Other songs allude to the wistfulness and nostalgia always present in Schlesinger's work. Ted Leo covers Ivy's soul-searching, uncertain "Everyday" as a jazz-influenced torch song, complete with string swells; Julian Velard and Alex Dezen reimagine "Michael and Heather at the Baggage Claim" as a hushed '70s-pop duet; and Ali Koehler (Upset/Vivian Girls) offers a minimal, synth-driven take on the fan-favorite "Hackensack."

Since Schlesinger's death, "Hackensack" in particular has been covered multiple times, as the song's heartbroken lyrics have taken on new meaning: "And I will wait for you/As long as I need to/And if you ever get back to Hackensack/I'll be here for you." Saving for a Custom Van illustrates that Schlesinger's many projects offer no shortage of emotional solace and comfort—and will continue to do so for years to come.

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