The alt-rock band Fountains of Wayne famously took its name from an outdoor furniture store on Route 46 in Wayne. Bassist Adam Schlesinger, who grew up in Montclair, got his driver’s license at the DMV office, which is next door to the Fountains of Wayne store. “We just thought it was funny,” he says.
Schlesinger and Chris Collingwood, who grew up in the Philly ’burbs, met as sophomores at Williams College. They played in various bands, then started afresh in 1995 with a peppy new sound, prompting the search for a new name. Fountains of Wayne hits like “Stacy’s Mom” are odes to teen awkwardness, but there are darker tales of young adults struggling to grow up in a world that gives them plenty of reason not to.
“We found our style only when we started honestly reflecting on how we’d grown up,” says Schlesinger, 39, a married father of two who lives in Riverdale, New York. “We have a little bit more of an outer-borough or suburban perspective, and that made more sense than trying to be the Velvet Underground or Sonic Youth, which would’ve rung really false.”
Don Winters, who owns the store, hasn’t minded the association. (“They’re not doing anything profane or racist.”) His headache is Web overlap: “Our site, fountainsofwaynenj.com, is a disaster because of thousands of hits that are not about anything we sell.” (The band’s site is the same, minus nj.) He plans to change the store’s site but won’t say to what. Why? “Next week there will be a band with that name.”