Interview with Evan Dando by Nina Bertok

From Rave Magazine, 30th March 2009

Even after two decades on the stage – if you’re not scared out of your wits in front of a live audience, you might as well quit, says one-time LEMONHEAD and current solo artist EVAN DANDO. Armed with only an acoustic guitar the former frontman will return to Australia with a catalogue of tunes drawing from four Lemonheads albums and various solo outings, as NINA BERTOK discovers.

"It’s going to be so simple, just me and a guitar and a bunch of stuff dating way back to 1986 through to 2006," Dando explains. "I am excited because it’s going to be the most stripped-back thing ever. There are so few real things left in this world. Everything is so double-checked and triple-checked today, there is no room for improvisation. Sure, it can be a bit of a risk but being in the moment and still being nervous in front of your audience is what music is all about. It shows you care."

And now more than ever, Dando cares about the music. He is the first to admit the media attention he received at the peak of Lemondheads’ success was detrimental to not only himself but to the band and the music.

"Initially I took the whole thing completely un-seriously," he confesses. "I was out of my mind all the time, doing the typical rock thing, the girls, the parties, the stuff that came with that, and as a result people were calling me a jerk. On top of that we had management with an agenda to divide and conquer, by which I mean trying to break up the band because they don’t like it when band members get along. It was all about getting a quick buck for the record company and just getting things fucking done."

And while music is the purest art form that Dando can think of, the industry itself is precisely the opposite, he claims.

"Everything that I have been through has served as fuel for the fire. It has made me a much more serious musician. Music is such a pure and amazing thing but the funny thing is that the music industry is the other way around. Still, if you’re passionate about it, you will not allow yourself to be put off by that."

Dando definitely hasn’t been and he continues to prove it with his one-man-show.

"I’m not jaded at all," he insists. "At the end of the day, I still love to travel and I still love to see the faces of the people that show up to the shows. I am very excited about music again in general. I think there’s a chance I may even be out on the road for the whole year. I have a record of a bunch of covers coming out in June, things are going good. I was happy with my last solo record [Baby I’m Bored, 2003] so there was no reason to stop there. I think it was a really good, amazing, underrated record and I am the hardest-working man in music … Just joking."