Interview with Evan Dando by Michael Heaton

From 8th December 2006

Lemonheads tour won't go sour thanks to water, good equipment.

Evan Dando, the man who is the Lemonheads, is back with his first new album in 10 years. It is called, appropriately enough, "The Lemonheads." Featured on the 12-song CD with him are former Descendents and Black Flag drummer Bill Stevenson and Descendent bassist Karl Alvarez. The result is loud and fast but maintains Dando's signature gift for melodic riffs and deadpan delivery of whip-smart lyrics.

Dando called from the road in Boise, Idaho, last week to pump up the word on his Saturday Grog Shop gig.

Since your band changes so much from album to album, have you thought about just calling yourself Lemonhead and Friends?

That actually did come up a few years ago. Know how often the band changes? The guys from the album aren't even out on the road with me. But I did get my first choice of replacements. Some great guys from Indiana.

How's the tour going?

Business as usual. We're through the initial phase where it's fun and into hilarious. We've been out two months straight, and we're into the beginning of burnout from being in the car, no sleep, no good food, a lot of general discomfort. The crowds have been great. We've always drawn a little bit of everybody.

What's the key to touring for you?

Good equipment and staying healthy. Our first two shows, we had equipment problems. That's all fixed. I drink as much water as possible. I've felt good so far and haven't gotten sick. I'm the only one though. Knock on wood. Looking forward to Cleveland. Love Cleveland and Chicago. We have 14 shows left.

The album sounds great. Very cohesive, even though you and two others wrote and co-wrote songs. How do you do that?

My wife has picked out the sequence of songs on the last two albums, and she's really good at that. But the other guys on the CD and [longtime collaborator] Tom Morgan and I are close in age and experience. We come from the same place in a lot of ways. And we all go back a ways.

I saw Garth Hudson from the Band is on the album. Where'd you find him?

On Halloween in 1998 I read an Edgar Allan Poe poem for a Hal Wilner recording. Garth was there, and I got to meet him. For this album I just took a flier and called him. We went up to Woodstock, and he helped us out. I've been fortunate getting good people for albums. J. Mascis played on this one. I've had Sneaky Pete, some amazing players.

In your clips, writers go on about your excessive party period. Are you working on balance in your life?

There was one long press junket where I was just having a good time, and everybody makes a big deal out of it. Which is why I have quit talking about it.

When writing songs, is it words and music or music and words?

Music first, words second. Always. The words fit the riff.