The Lowdown: Interview with Evan Dando of The Lemonheads
For a couple of years, I lived out in Los Angeles. “Come on Feel The Lemonheads” was played on a constant rotation in my black 1991 Chevrolet Corvette as I drove around California. The Lemonheads were the band from my childhood that just nailed the Californian care free vibe and sound. Turns out my ears were deceiving me all along as The Lemonheads are actually from Boston, 3000+ miles from where I had always imagined their sound had originated from! It didn’t matter though, California sparked my love for The Lemonheads all over again twenty plus years later. Running back through the vast AltSounds interview archives I found this gem from November 2006 with lead singer of The Lemonheads Evan Dando where he promises to make our writer a personal mix CD! I wonder if she actually ever got it?!
Interview with Evan Dando of The Lemonheads by Lina Rahman, 8th November 2006.
It is a strange feeling to realize you have just spoken to someone with whom you have loved (albeit, from afar) since the age of 14. It is even stranger to have them sing down the phone to you and offer to make you a mix tape. Interviewing Evan Dando lived up to every expectation I had of him. Okay so he didn’t propose, but everything else was the Evan Dando his fans instinctively knew he’d be, the ‘non asshole’. He was friendly, funny, talkative, a little excitable with a sweet childlike charm and impeccable manners. And if something goes wrong; BLAME THE MANAGER.
Hi, I’m on speakerphone so sorry if the lines a bit…
Evan Dando: I can hear it, I can hear you.
How are you?
I’m fine, thank you.
How’s the tour going? It’s your second date in London? Ha, sorry, in the UK.
(Laughs) Ah yeah, we’re just traveling all around London!
Haha, I live in London so London only exists to me.
Haha I know. It was really good, Glasgow was great so that easily means the tour is going to be okay as the first gig was good, so!
And the crowd responded well to the Varshons set?
Yeah, Glasgow was good so it’s not hard, I mean the people love music there, they do their thing, everyone does their thing! And the thing is done (giggles).
The last album you did was a covers album
And you said you wanted it to appear like a mix tape, of all your favourite songs?
Yeah it was inspired by a mix tape, one actual mix CD that Gibby gave me, Gibby Haynes.
So did you just literally do every song on that tape?
No, see, I wanted to do the thing where it had all the songs from the mix tape actually, but we didn’t do a bunch, there’s one that goes (sings) “You should come with me to the end of the wooorld,” have you heard that one? You should come with me to the end of the world, it’s so funny (sings) “without telling your parents or your friends,” it’s a great other song we didn’t do, um yeah, I love that one. The other one we didn’t do is this really weird nerdy guy, who is like trying to sound groovy or something (sings) “Hey there! Have you read any good books?,” like really weird and music and stuff, (sings) “That’s the way I tell you, I like your look!”
Really corny and cheesy!
Yeah, it’s really square. And then there’s a few other songs we didn’t do that are on that tape, there’s a bunch. It was a good tape though, all the other ones are on there.
One more thing! It’s a real good idea, if you have one special friend of yours? A good present is fill an iPod shuffle with.. you know..it’s like, 150 bucks, really good present. That’s the new mix tape.
Really? But the thing is people don’t always appreciate that ’cause when I was younger I was always trying to push my music onto people, and it was often wasted and hardly appreciated.
But there are some people who do.
That is true, some people do. But then I get offended if they’re not as passionate about it as I am.
You know that’s just part of being young.
Haha, is that what it is?
Yeah, you know, being REALLY young, now if people don’t like it that’s okay but usually, I don’t give anyone anything unless I know they’re gonna love it. I guess I don’t make many though, I wait until I know someone’s gonna love it.
Are you going to make me one?
I will! I will make you one.
I’m gonna hold you to that.
Where are you from? You’re in London?
Yes, I’m in London!
Okay, I’ve got a lot of great stuff at my disposable actually, I’ll make you a great tape.
Well, when I come to the show you can give it to me then!
Is a mix CD alright?
A mix CD is perfect!
Okay, cool, I’ll do that. I’ll work on it right now, I’ll make it nice.
Oh, thank you, that’s made my day! I have to say, one of my favorite albums of all time was “It’s a Shame About Ray.”
Yeah that’s a good record, I was checking it out yesterday. I only really check out my own stuff when I’m high, when I’m by myself. Then you go listen to the record and go, “You know what? This is pretty fucking damn good.”
How do you feel as it’s such an iconic album of the 90s?
I’m proud. We worked hard, it’s interesting as the month before that my manager had resigned. That was a very productive period as we’d do everything ourselves and I’d pick Julianna and David up every day, for a month and we’d practice for one hour. That’s all. Every day. And we’re done. We did mess around later with it, but yeah that’s what it took. It’s funny ’cause you’re never so responsible as when you don’t have a manager, ’cause when you set things up you think “Oh, I’m just messing with the label and I’m just fucking with the manager,” it’s just fun but really you’re just fucking with yourself, you know? I like looking after my own stuff really, I don’t like managers, or labels, with all the shit… hate it.
So you don’t have a manager now?!
No, no (laughs), I have a manager now!
(Laughs) So you’re not doing the whole organic ‘no manager’ thing now?
Hahaha, (giggles) no he’s not so much a problem now.
Who are the support acts on this tour then?
There’s none. I’m trying to get Rum Shebeen, this band I love to play with in London, but it may not happen though. There’s been no ads for this show, well I haven’t seen any.
So technically the spots still open then?
I don’t know, they picked a good support for Glasgow, we had really good bands last night but I did pick someone for London, if they do it. I don’t know, it’s funny ’cause once again, I don’t know! I didn’t do it myself, manager dude did it, so I don’t know if it got done or not.
You should do things yourself, I gotta start doing more stuff myself that way you can’t complain about it. And it’s so easy to do things, really, if you’re doing it for yourself (giggles), it’s not that hard, really, if it’s for yourself.
Any differences between your British fans and your American fans? (lame question I know, sorry).
Um.. they have got funny accents.
Is that it?
(Laughs) Pretty much.
Haha, it’s the ENGLISH language, we speak the correct way.
Haha, I know, that was British humour.
Isn’t your wife British though, she’s from Newcastle?
Honestly, I was just joking. She’s got the funniest accent of all! It sounds like Dutch! Apparently it’s traceable too, ’cause they did so much trading with the Dutch so that’s how the spin on language got that way over there.
Okay, well lets wrap this up! I’m gonna come to the gig on the 19th to collect my mix CD.
Okay, cool let me write this down. What’s your name?
My name’s Lina, L-I-N-A.
Okay, and what kinda stuff do you like?
My favorite band of all time is Dinosaur Jr
Great great great!! Got it, good good, that’s enough!
Okay see you on the 19th then!