LISTEN: Saving for a Custom Van Pays Tribute to Adam Schlesinger

Sarah Silverman, Ben Lee, Rachel Bloom, Ted Leo, Nada Surf, Kay Hanley, Jody Porter and others cover their favorite Adam songs for charity; all proceeds going to the MusiCares COVID-19 Relief Fund

Various Artists Saving for a Custom Van, Father/Daughter Records 2020

From film to television to his mainline in modern album rock, the music of Adam Schlesinger has been a constant presence in our lives for a quarter century.

His death on April 1st at the age of 52 as the result of complications from COVID-19 was a shocking blow to the pop community, one that we are still very much coming to grips with two-and-a-half months later. 

“Of all the absurd, awful turns the world has taken since the unpredictably ruthless pandemic that cut his life short hit us, this is one of the most painfully hard to believe,” wrote Ryan Maffei in early April on the site. “It’s really kind of numbing how difficult it is to wrap my head around – not just because he was only 52, with no underlying health conditions, and not just because I grew up in the same state as their namesake store (which sold, yes, cement fountains), bopping to so many of his songs as stereo-blasted by a Gen-X dad who moonlighted in a band, had a basement studio setup, and owned every LP by the Shoes, dB’s and XTC (plus a singing voice a lot like Chris Collingwood’s). It’s because, between the transcendent normality of his formula-illuminating pop and the sheer ubiquity of his credits, not to mention his unmistakable regular guy humility, something about Adam felt like he’d just be around forever.” 

Adam Schlesinger Music & Lyrics (Art: Ron Hart)

Today, Schlesinger’s music becomes a little more immortal with the release of this very special tribute album entitled Saving for a Custom Van, out now on BandCamp via Father/Daughter Records & Wax Nine with 100 percent of the proceeds going to MusiCares’ COVID-19 Relief Fund. This beautiful, warm and inviting collection–available for only a $10 donation to the cause–features 31 different acts, including Kay Hanley of Letters to Cleo, Motion City Soundtrack, Ted Leo, Tanya Donnelly and Gail Greenwood of Belly, Nada Surf and others, performing songs from all aspects of Schlesinger’s career as a soundtrack composer and principle member of Fountains of Wayne, Ivy and the ever-underrated Tinted Windows.

Highlights include Crazy Ex-Girlfriend [which featured a score composed by Adam] co-creator, executive producer and star Rachel Bloom transforming pFountains 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.


VIDEO: Fountains of Wayne feat. Sharon Van Etten perform “Hackensack” Live during Jersey 4 Jersey 

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).

And again, 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.

Please listen and give


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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Ron Hart

Ron Hart is the Editor-in-Chief of Rock and Roll Globe. Reach him on Twitter @MisterTribune.

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