Interview with Evan Dando by John Benson
From Vindy.com, 13th December 2007
Dando is ready for the road.
Starting over is nothing new to The Lemonheads singer-visionary Evan Dando, who resuscitated his '90s alt-rock act last year with a new self-titled release and a critically acclaimed tour to boot.
Now comes word that the 40-year-old musician is once again hitting the road in support of The Lemonheads; however, this time out it's like starting over for Dando who has enlisted the support of the actual studio musicians - drummer Bill Stevenson (Descendents, Black Flag) and bassist Karl Alvarez (Descendents) - who appeared on the album. The Lemonheads are scheduled to perform Monday at the Grog Shop.
"I think it's a satisfying step for me to actually bring the people who are on the record out to play the songs," said Dando, calling from New York City. "It will certainly have a little different vibe, and be closer to what we were doing in the studio."
Dando hinted that his touring musicians Vess Ruhtenberg (bass) and Devon Ashley (drums), along with Stevenson, Alvarez and others, may appear on the next Lemonheads effort, which is tentatively due out next April.
In addition, fans can also expect a cool Rhino Records retrospective release in stores in March. It's a deluxe edition of the band's 1992 "It's A Shame About Ray" album. The set will include demos, B-sides and a DVD from the era.
Looking back while keeping an eye on the future is how Dando is approaching The Lemonheads' return to action. So is this new beginning working out as he had planned?
"It's perfect," Dando said. "It gets me out to places like Australia and a bunch of places I toured before. But having a record was an extra reason to go back to all the fun places. I think live is the best, but making records is something you have to do, too." Dando said the current set list finds the outfit delving into the band's catalog, including tunes from the group's early obscure release "Lick" and even more album cuts from its popular '90s release "It's A Shame About Ray."
"We should have about 40 songs at our disposal so we won't get bored and play the same songs every night," Dando said.
In the past, boredom may have been a contributing factor to Dando's decade-long struggle with drugs. Now sober, he's able to concentrate his energy on the future of The Lemonheads, which played plenty of Northeast Ohio dates back in the '90s.
In fact, Dando remembers a particularly memorable incident that took place after a Cleveland Agora show.
"You know that 'Free' stamp in downtown Cleveland?" Dando said, referring to a giant landmark sculpture. "We got really out of it and climbed it. We got all the way to the top e. Then the cops came. That was kind of fun and the police were kind of nice about it. They understood, I think. It's so climbable."