Fountains of Wayne's Chris Collingwood Regrets "Stacy's Mom"

Adam Schlesinger "deserves to be remembered for more than a punch line"

Photo: Violeta Alvarez

BY Alex HudsonPublished Apr 10, 2020

This month, Fountains of Wayne's Adam Schlesinger tragically died of coronavirus. Now, his longtime bandmate Chris Collingwood has shared some memories of his collaborations with Schlesinger. Interestingly, he says that he regrets the band's signature single, 2003's "Stacy's Mom."

In an interview with Rolling Stone, Collingwood revealed that he tried to talk Schlesinger and the rest of the band out of releasing (or even recording) the song. He doesn't say that the song is bad, exactly; rather, he "knew it would be a hit" and would overshadow the rest of the band's work.

According to Collingwood, the song is a "novelty hit," and Schlesinger "deserves to be remembered for more than a punch line."

Collingwood tells the story like this:

I tried to talk him out of "Stacy's Mom." I could see exactly what was going to happen, and when it started happening in slow motion it just felt inevitable. He was too good a writer to have that be his calling card, and the success of a novelty song means that's just what you are to the public, from that moment on forever. It's sad to me that people reading his obituary will all know that song, and only a very tiny percentage of them will ever hear "I-95" or "The Girl I Can't Forget."

I was reluctant to [record] it at all, but in the moment you don't want to kill the session by not being a good sport. There were other things we did, kind of joking around, that we would put out as a B-side or whatever. When it was done, I didn't think it belonged on the album. Even on a record that was stylistically all over the place, that song didn't fit in. It sounded like a different band.

I knew it would be a single, and I knew it would be a hit, and everyone else knew it too. But I was the only one who didn't think a novelty hit was a good thing. We had done a version of "Baby One More Time" because we needed a B-side for something, and our label at the time took it to radio and tried to make it a single. I was like, "What? We wrote a bunch of songs, what about those?" Literally any other band in the world could have recorded that Britney Spears song. Then some other bands did. Probably had the same fight with their label.

It's like being able to tell a really good story — like "Fire Island," which he wrote for that album — but deciding instead to tell a joke and jump off stage. He deserves to be remembered for more than a punch line.

But bigger tours and venues meant more time to act like idiots — throwing deli trays out the bus window, smashing shit just for kicks. We got a big stuffed gorilla from somewhere that was leaking its innards all over the place and we asked the bus driver to run it over, which he did, and then the hotel manager took us up to the roof so we could throw it off. We drank a lot.

Year's before "Stacy's Mom," Schlesinger scored a minor hit with the 1996 retro-pop tune "That Thing You Do!" — the title song for the movie of the same name.

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