Interview with Evan Dando by Steev Riccardo
From Industrial Metal Magazine Winter 1993
It's only a matter of time before music fans everywhere realize what fans of Boston's Lemonheads already know: Evan Dando is a star. The singer/songwriter/guitarist just keeps getting better and better with each record. Since the band formed in 1986, they have put out a number of brilliant albums which have garnered tremendous college radio airplay nationwide. The most recent triumph, It's A Shame About Ray, became their second number one college radio record, and their third straight to hit the top ten.
In a recent interview with Dando while he was touring Europe, the intelligent, outspoken songwriter spoke honestly and openly about not only his great band but some important issues which concern all of us. Dando is a killer songwriter, a nice person, a good "drug buddy," and you get the feeling he's sick of America.
It's A Shame About Ray is a nice progression from Lovey. You told me that ... Ray was the result of your trips to Australia. Can you elaborate?
I wrote most of the album there. I was influenced by my bass player Nick Belton, whom I met down there. The whole Australia scene is into writing short pop songs again.
The songwriting on ... Ray is excellent, so the formula worked. But I have to admit I love many of your songs: "Strange," "Mallo Cup," "Half The Time," as well as the latest album.
Thanks. Me and this guy Tom that I also met in Australia wrote the words together on It's A Shame About Ray and Nick wrote "Kitchen. " All of the songs from the album were either written in Australia or inspired by the time I spent there.
Were you on tour or just hanging out?
I did some acoustic shows alone opening for Fugazi and I did some acoustic versions of old Minor Threat tunes which was a lot of fun.
There have been many line-up changes over the years. So what's the story? Are you basically the Lemonheads?
When the band started, no one knew what they wanted to do. The original members figured out that they didn't want to do this. Once that initial instability was set up, people ended up coming and going. Now I have a really stable band with Nick and Dave Ryan.
What ever happened to Ben Deilly who wrote some really cool songs like "Ever" and "Anyway?"
Every show someone yells out "Ever" but we can't play it (laughs).
Juliana Hatfield played on your last record. What exactly is your relationship with her?
We're old friends. She's on tour now with her own band, but we are going to play together in Japan, Australia and New Zealand. That's something I really look forward to.
I wanted to ask you about the song "Drug Buddy." What are your views on drugs and drug abuse?
I think it can be a really bad thing, but I wouldn't sacrifice the experience that I have had for anything else 'cause you can't really get them any other way. They are definitely not for everybody and I would never condone them. They're usually really bad for people, but I have to admit their alright sometimes for me.
How did you get involved with the video release for The Graduate?
We were contacted to do that because they needed a trailer to advertise the release on video cassettes. I loved the movie so I jumped at the chance to record "Mrs. Robinson," not thinking that it would be a single or anything. But then the record label liked it so much that it's being released as a single to give our album a second wind.
It's A Shame About Ray reached number one on the college alternative radio charts. Now do you see the Lemonheads surpassing the college level and going on to another level of radio and MTV?
Well, our video (title track) got played twice a day on MTV for a couple of months, so that was pretty cool. I don't have any expectations about it. I would just like people to hear the music.