Interview from Live Daily
16th August 2006
When the Lemonheads' Evan Dando heard about a festival dedicated to his music, he figured it was time to revive his 1990s hit-making machine. As a result, the New York-based band will release its punk-heavy, self-titled eighth record Sept 26.
"I decided to do it because this festival happened in Brazil where all these unknown Brazilian bands were doing covers of Lemonheads songs," Dando said from his New York home. "They had a daylong festival of it. I figured if they're doing that, I might as well do another record under the name the Lemonheads again.".
"I was very, very flattered. I remember I put a lot of work into the band for all those years. I figured, 'Why not?'"
For his first Lemonheads album in 10 years, Dando brought on board guest musicians Garth Hudson, Karl Alvarez of the Descendents and Dinosaur Jr.'s J. Mascis. Producer Bill Stevenson (The Descendents, Black Flag) was at the helm at his Blasting Room studios in Fort Collins, CO. The touring band features bassist Josh Lattanzi and drummer John Kent.
Originating in Boston, the Lemonheads were best known for their 1992 album, "It's a Shame About Ray," and the hits "Mrs. Robinson" and "Into Your Arms." In the late 1990s, Dando broke free from the group to concentrate on his solo efforts.
Before heading to the studio, Dando talked to LiveDaily about the new album, working with the legendary Stevenson and where the Lemonheads fit in with today's music.
LiveDaily: What are you working on in the studio?
Evan Dando: I'm doing B-sides today.
Are they songs that didn't make it on the album or songs that you had written afterward?
They're, like, versions of the songs on the album without drums to go on the English single and for certain digital downloads. They [Vagrant Records, his label] want more material to have to download and stuff like that. It's actually fun. If the song doesn't hold up without drums and bass--although we are putting bass--maybe it shouldn't have been done at all. It's fun to make sure they work that way too. It's really fun. I'm doing them with this guy called Daniel Ray, who worked with The Ramones a lot and he plays in Ronnie Spector's band. He's a really great guy. He has a studio in his apartment.
I see you're heading off to England for a promotional tour. Will that lead to a US tour?
Yes. I'm leaving the first week of September. I'm going with my wife because she's working in Switzerland for a couple days. Then we're going to visit her parents in Greece. The tour doesn't start until Oct. 4 or something. I'm looking forward to it. We're going to have a little time off before it gets hectic again.
What was it like to work with Bill Stevenson? I have friends who recorded with him and they said he's just a genius in the studio.
I've always been a fan of his songwriting and his drummer. It was great working with Bill. We both, I think, learned a lot. We had a great time. It wasn't always really easy, but nothing worth doing is really easy.
What do you think you learned from him?
Just talking about music. Let's see, what did I learn from him? Certain things, like what Cole Porter songs are his favorite and my favorite. We talked with other artists a lot.
How do you feel the Lemonheads fit in with today's musical culture?
Don't know. Don't know if they do at all. It's not something I've ever really thought about it. I've always done whatever I felt like doing musically. It's been OK. It's been all right.
How did you recruit the new members of the Lemonheads throughout the years. And will this round lead to future albums?
It was me and whoever wants to do it. I want to do another [album] right away. I'm going to be writing on tour. And I want to get right in the studio and do another one, I hope, at Fort Collins with Bill again.
For "The Lemonheads" were most of the songs written in the studio with Bill?
No, most of them were written before. Bill and I wrote one together, that's the one we wrote right in the studio, track four ["Let's Just Laugh"], and two songs Bill brought to the sessions. Two songs were written by Tom Morgan, and the other ones were before or after.
It seems like a lot of pressure to write in the studio.
Yeah, it is. You can't really count on it. You should have something to fall back on. Sometimes, it just happens.
Are you going to play the hits during your tour?
We're going to learn a bunch of old songs so we can mix up the set list now and again.
"The Lemonheads" tracklisting:
1. "Black Gown"
2. "Become the Enemy"
4. "Let's Just Laugh"
6. "Rule of Three"
7. "No Backbone"
8. "Baby's Home"
9. "In Passing"
10. "Steve's Boy"