Interview with Evan Dando by Sylvia Patterson
from Details Magazine July 1993
What's a Lemonhead?
A Lemonhead is a Midwestern candy - yellow spheres that are sweet on the outside and really sour on the inside.
Is that a musical metaphor?
I'm not quite sure. Our friend Ivan suggested the name when we were in high school. We had pages and pages of really bad names, but we decided we'd rather pick someone else's bad name rather than one of our own.
Did you join a band to reinvent your reality?
Oh wow. Uh-uh. No, I didn't. I joined a band to get back into the kind of stuff I did when I was a kid. My parents were really into surfing, so they used to drag me all around and go surf every summer. They were a little bit older than your classic hippies, so when they first heard "Purple Haze" on the radio they were like, "What's that?" It took them like a day to figure it out, and then they were away into Hendrix and parties and stuff. They were groovers.
You are charged with inventing bubble-grunge. How do you plead?
I plead...um, uninterested in categorization. I just don't care what they say, but that's a nice little word.
Are you the sensitive face of grunge?
Huh? Wooow. Um. No. I'm gonna go for a glam-grunge look in '93. But it's a fun thing to be asked: "Hey, are you grunge?" And you sniff your jacket and go, "Yup!"
What's the grungiest thing you've done all week?
(thinks for several hours) The grungiest thing I did all week was pull the tablecloth out from under four place settings and they all stayed there.
That's not very grunge, but it's pretty good all the same.
Yep. I was proud.
Which lyrical couplet from the album are you most proud of?
I'm too embarrassed to say anything like that. Why does it matter what I like? All I hope is that is appeals to people who wouldn't normally listen to whatever fuckin' alternative rock is.
Do you actually have an ego?
Well, I've had a lot of problems with that. I'm the last guy you'd want to go to the bar for you. You have to be really pushy to get the bartender's attention, so I end up standing there for an hour.
You've got "too nice" syndrome.
Well, I try to be nice. Most people are scared to talk to strangers because it's ingrained in you. That's valuable when you're a kid but not when you're grown up. It's sad. It's pathetic. It's going to get you mugged or beaten up. Violent people go for people who shy away. I like to think that if I get killed in a violent way then it's more like their problem than mine. I like that notion.
That strikes me as quite a feminine notion.
Well, I would hope to be more like a woman than a man actually. Right now women should be listened to more, because men have proved that they really can't get it together, they can't be cool.
Do you have a female soul?
It's a fun thing to play around with, that's all. For me the differences don't make a whole bunch of...difference.
What have you learned from women?
I've learned how to put my hair up in a towel after a shower. I never knew how before- it keeps your hair from whacking your back. That and patience.
If you were a girl, who would fancy you?
I can't tell that well what it would be like to be a girl, so I don't know. But I'd love to be a girl drummer. It would be cool!
Can you define "love"?
Oh wow. No, I haven't found... uh, I know what love... uh, I know that love to me... uh, no I can't define "love." It's the thing that connects people, it's the invisible force without which you can't really connect.
Fame killed Valentino. What do you think it will do to you?
Wow. It could kill me, too... we'll see what happens. But every day I remember that I'm doing this because I love to play guitar and sing. I haven't changed at all. And I'm not gonna. I'm a jolly child of the universe. I am. I am. (beams the biggest smile in dental history)
It's strange you like Australia so much. It's a bit manly for a jolly child of the universe.
It's a weird place, but Australia's like a big Valium to me because I can go down there and just relax. But d'ya know that there were no animals with hooves originally down there? All the animals had soft-padded feel until whitey had to do down there with all his cattle.
Do you consider yourself a poet?
Not yet. I would love to be, though I don't think I'd like calling myself a poet. That's like grunge, y'know. Grunge poetry! Yeah: "I was bustin' my pencil! I blew up the word processor!"
You have a sleeping disorder - what happens to you?
Every once in a while, a couple of times a month, I end up having a really scary dream where my eyes are open, so I'm in this trance state. And I point and scream bloody murder and flail about and then I lose my voice - which is a bummer if I'm on tour. I may have some kind of inner terror, but I think that's O.K. - that's part of being a human being.
What are your dreams about?
Things falling on me, earth and stuff. And they've never gone away. Someone told me maybe it was because when I was a little kid I was in a little bit of a car accident and was knocked out for a half hour or so, and things like that can come back to you for a long time - that feeling of something falling on you, being hurt, or in an avalanche. So it might be that. But I dunno, I feel, uh... what was the question again?
Have you ever considered therapy?
I wanna hold onto it. It's a part of me. I can deal with it. Like, I think it's pretty funny when I wake up and I'm running down the street in my underpants. I have a good laugh.
You're prone to saying "No doubt the universe is unfolding as it should be." What does that mean?
I just dig it. I think that the universe is cool. I'm at ease with it and I just wanna do what I can do to make sure it unfolds as it should, which is not doing anything. I just wanna have fun and hang out and try new drinks.
Fair enough. You're not that mad after all.
Yeah, I know. Please help me with my image - people think I'm such a weirdo.