January 17, 2006

Former Smashing Pumpkin working on America disc

By Jonathan Cohen

NEW YORK (Billboard) - Former Smashing Pumpkins guitarist
James Iha and Fountains Of Wayne/Ivy principal Adam Schlesinger
have signed on to produce a new studio album from enduring soft
rock act America.

It will be the first from the group, best known for such
massive '70s hits as "Ventura Highway," "Sister Golden Hair,"
"Tin Man" and "A Horse With No Name," since 1998's "Human

Despite having been absent from the pop charts since 1983's
No. 33 hit "The Border," America remains a busy touring band.
The group will begin a spring North American tour Friday in
Stafford, Texas, and has dates on tap through late October.

Schlesinger and Iha have already recorded two songs with
the group, one written by Schlesinger and the other by
America's Gerry Beckley.

"I think it's going to be really cool," Schlesinger told
Billboard.com. "I'm a big fan of the band. They have a lot of
cool songs and they pretty much sound the same as they always

Although specifics are still being determined, the idea is
for Schlesinger and Iha to contribute musically to the new
album as needed. "We're going to try to ask a bunch of friends
to play on it," Schlesinger said. "They've put out some records
(in recent years), but we really want to do something that gets
back to sounding like the classic stuff they did. There's a
whole bunch of people our age who love those songs even if they
don't necessarily know they're by America."

Schlesinger hoped to record at least a portion of the album
at Stratosphere Studios in New York, which he co-owns with Iha
and Ivy's Andy Chase. Billboard.com understands America is
negotiations to release the as-yet-untitled set via the new
Burgundy Records imprint through Sony, which recently made
Chaka Khan and Aaron Neville its first signings.