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Interview with Evan Dando by James Sherry

from Indiecator Magazine 1992

 

Just when you thought that the Nirvana phenomenon would never occur again, three bedraggled slackers known as the Lemonheads have, without a doubt, provided music with its second hardcore born-and-bred success story.

Evan Dando: man or myth?

Will the first... er, 'Sex Kitten Of Grunge' successfully take over the world and, with a little 'right place at the right time' thrown in for luck, land himself advertising space on every teenager's bedroom wall the world over? Judging by the audience at both nights of the recent Kilburn National gigs, he already has. There are girls screaming for fuck's sake! This is getting silly! I have never seen so many young girls at a gig in my entire life. In my early twenties, for the first time ever, I feel old at a gig! But hey, it's a good feeling. What would you prefer, Evan Dando as a teenage girl's dream-fantasy or Take That? That's what makes the last few months in the Lemonheads' lives so weird. From hardcore punk roots (attention `Shame About Ray' fans - buy 'Hate Your Friends' and 'Creator', you may be surprised!) the Lemonheads have not only become a highly marketable pop band, but in frontman/singer Evan Dando, have created a pin-up extraordinaire. It's not as if it has even been a gradual build-up. This has all literally happened in the blink of an eye. It was only a few short months ago that the band were playing at venues like the Subterania, the Old Trout in Windsor and previous to that, the Fulham Greyhound with Bullet Lavolta! And now this! Who would've thought it? Certainly not Evan.

"It was only a year and-a-half ago that we'd just play the odd show here and there to make our rent! That was the fun time when we had no manager and were failing miserably as a band, but we could still get a show or two! Our previous record, 'Lovey', really didn't do well and now this is happening. Funny thing being in the right place at the right time, isn't it?"

Ain't that the truth!

"Basically, we've worked really hard and we're finally getting some recognition, which I have to say is a nice, satisfying thing!"

And so, I'm sure, is being punk's number one pin-up! Rather perplexed by the whole affair, Evan tends to brush the whole thing off and is, quite obviously, a little embarrassed. This guy's no Super Model, that's for sure. but he does possess a certain geeky quality and also happens to be one of the most charming, laid-back people I've ever had the pleasure of interviewing. Today it's his turn to fight back! Lusted after by so many females and treated as a sex symbol, we thought it might be fun to turn the tables and see what Evan thinks of his female pin-up competition! Who were his childhood
dreams? His fantasies? Who did he admire? What stars did he lovingly pin to his wall? Evan likes the idea because after all, what more can you say about `It's A Shame About Ray'? It's run its course... done its bit. The record company may still be trying to cream the album for all it's worth but, in reality, all has been said and done. Time to move on. The next album is most certainly going to be very different. Evan is rumoured to be '...itching to get his feet back on the distortion pedal'!

"Yeah, the next album's gonna be all over the place," says Evan in a voice that you know any of the girls whisked off their feet by his charming but dorky looks would love to have whispering sweet nothings into their ears! "We'll have to find some way to blend up the sounds a little bit!"

But hey, enough about music, let's talk girls - something Evan has never denied his love for! "Hey, that'll be fun," he laughs.

What better place is there to start than Debbie Harry? Definitely the most classic punk pin-up of all time, Harry eptomised the whole rock-star-gone-model in one fell swoop! This is where teenage fantasies begin!

"Oh man, Debbie Harry, she's so cool! I met her at a Richard Hell reading once at CBGB's and she was so great. I never got to see Blondie live though which I really regret. When I first started going to shows it was about '83 and I'd only really go to hardcore shows because they were always at 'All Ages' venues. They were the only ones I could get into! I couldn't go to a club and see a band like Blondie which is a shame, because I love the way she sings. l have a lot of respect for her."

As he does for Sinead O'Connor.

"I remember a couple of years back when we were playing in London, I went to the Grove Cafe and we sat at the next table over from Sinead! She had her kids with her and stuff and seemed pretty cool but forceful.The kind of person who would take no bullshit at the same time! She's obviously for real although some people may think differently! I believe her. She's real pretty too!"

But Madonna? Nope, yesterday's news!

"I love that picture but I do have to say I'm over her now! I thought she was really good for a while and 1 got into her early music, but after that 'Sex' book... I'm afraid to say, it wasn't that sexy! It was just such overkill. It was trying so hard and that's the problem. She's trying too hard. I wish her all the best but, as I said. I'm over her now. It's finished. I'm not gonna father her child!"

'Fuck me gently with a chainsaw', blurted Wynona Ryder in the classic teenage destruction movie `Heathers'. Another of Evan's favourites!

"I've talked to her on the phone but I don't know her too well. I know her boyfriend Johnny Depp. He's a really good friend of mine and while I'm hanging out at his house she calls a lot. She sounds really nice on the phone. You only have to look at her pictures to tell that she's trouble!"


Whereas Wynona Ryder possesses a certain off-beat charm, Kim Basinger is a much-heralded sex bomb. But not Evan's type!

"One of the only things I've seen her in was this presentation she did on some award ceremony thing. She just seemed to be so flipped-out on coke or something! I don't know what she was up to! She's certainly really pretty but she's not really my type!"

Juliana Hatfield though, most certainly is! The new Lemonheads song `It's About Time' (aired for the first time at the recent Kilburn gigs) was introduced as a song for, and about, Juliana.

"When I started writing that song I tried to capture the way that she writes songs and to write a song that she might have written. It was really fun to step outside myself and write from a completely different perspective! There's a lot I could tell you about her but it's best said in that song. She's such a sweety. She loves music in such a pure way!"

But what about Courtney Love? Does everybody hate her?

"No, not me! She's great fun! We have the same manager so I talk to her on the phone and stuff! Her brain is so quick and she's a very intelligent girl... she's got a lot of static in that head!

"Not only does our manager Janet look after Hole, she also manages Dinosaur Jr and The Breeders! I'm so happy to be in the company of bands like that!"

Then, of course, there's Cher.

"There's something about her that's not right! I know that she probably appeals to lots of people but she's not my type somehow! She's pretty well-preserved though, that has to be said!"

Does the same apply to Sonic Youth's Kim Gordon perchance?

"Yeah, something like that! I like Lee Renaldo's songs more but I think Kim's a really good bass player. However, Thurston's and Lee's songs appeal to me more. She's got her place and she needs to occupy it but her style is so off-beat and left-field, it can take a hell of a lot of getting used to."

As the Riot Grrrl movement is yet to present the world with any half decent Debbie Harry-type pin-ups (joke!), I ask Evan what he thinks of Huggy Bear and the Riot Grrrl movement in general.

"I met one of those girls the other day! I was talking to Kathi from Bikini Kill and one of Huggy Bear was with her. I think it was Jo, but anyways, she seemed really nice. I really don't know much about this Riot Grrrl phenomenon. It's weird, all of a sudden, being a girl is like a trend? What I have heard about sounds cool though!"

Evan's more familiar with Riot Grrrl's antithesis, Leslie from Silverfish!

"We did some shows together in France! They're really big in France so we opened for them! They're the nicest people, that band. Leslie's wild!"

Last, but not least, comes Ann Bancroft. Star of the classic Sixties film `The Graduate'. Evan has on more then one occasion declared his love for this women!

"She was amazing! She could smoke a cigarette like no-one! She made the horrible habit of smoking look incredibly attractive!"

One more question. Any teenage crushes you'd like to tell us all about?

"I liked girls in my class more than the people I would see in movies and bands! Having said that though, I was really into Raquel Welch in the movie 'Bedazzled' when I was a kid. I remember I saw that when I was really young and she was really sexy! I wasn't the kind of person who would put pictures of famous people up on the wall though. I was more into my cat and stuff!"

Make sure you fight your way through the mud and haze this year at Glastonbury for the Lemonheads.

If you can get through the screaming girls that is!

 

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