Introducing: Local H Covers “Hackensack” by Fountains of Wayne

Plus an essay on the late Adam Schlesinger by frontman Scott Lucas.

I was always about a degree or two of separation from Adam Schlesinger, so when he died of complications from coronavirus last year, it hit me kind of hard. We were nearly the same age and his passing made me realize that perhaps I wasn’t as safe from the virus as I’d believed. I suddenly felt a little older — and a lot more vulnerable. 

But more than that, Adam’s passing was so sad because he seemed like such a nice guy —I have plenty of friends who actually did meet him, and can attest to that — and nobody likes to see a nice guy go. Despite what I wrote earlier about being old, 52 was way too young, so the sadness was compounded by a feeling of senselessness. It didn’t have to happen.  

Fountains Of Wayne’s “Hackensack” has always been famous for being the song with the lyric about Christopher Walken in it, but in the wake of Adam’s death it was the lyrics to the chorus that took on a new heartbreaking depth: 

But 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

It no longer felt like a song about a guy who carries a torch for an old high school crush. Suddenly, it was a hymn to the people we’d lost. An almost Poe-like cry to the great beyond (or from the beyond!), a longing for some mutual communion between the living and the dead. Wait for me and I will wait for you. Kinda creepy, sure — but also kinda beautiful. Like all great songwriters, Schlesinger had written his own tribute and epitaph with “Hackensack.” Something that could live on. 

 And most importantly — something that could soften the memory of how much it fucking sucks to lose someone like Adam. 

— Scott Lucas

Local H’s Quarantine Mixtape #3 is available for pre-order now.

Featuring contributions by an array of respected friends and guests — including Juliana Hatfield, John McCauley of Deer Tick, and legendary rock engineer Steve AlbiniLIFERS is the first album from Local H in five years, and the release coincides with the group’s 30 year anniversary (and our collective doom). LIFERS is out now on all DSP’s AntiFragile Music. Physical Orders of the album are available here.