Interview with Evan Dando by Jay Hanna
From Perth Now, 31st March 2007
Grunge's pin-up boy Evan Dando, sole permanent member of The Lemonheads, talks to JAY HANNA.
JH: It’s been a while since you were last in Australia. Are you looking forward to coming back?
ED: Yeah, I haven’t been there since 2004. I usually come down at least once a year so I’ve missed it and I am really looking forward to coming down.
JH: You released your first Lemonheads album in 1987. did you think you would still be going 20 years later?
ED: No, but it’s great. I am very happy with it. The key is when it got to be a pain I stopped, and I had a couple of long breaks. The key is knowing when everyone has had enough of you.
JH: At one stage it looked like the band was over and you had gone solo. Did you always know you would reprise The Lemonheads?
ED: It was an option because I was the only member really. We had a steady line-up for 2¼ years when we toured the whole time, but since 1990 it has been a revolving door.
JH: Why all the line-up changes?
ED: I think it started because I could play the drums and bass, and on the first major-label record I redid the drums on three or four songs and redid the bass on five songs. That tends to put people’s noses out of joint.
JH: Does that mean you are a perfectionist?
ED: I like to play music and get it sounding the way I want it. If it is not coming together and you can do it yourself, then why not? I’m glad I did it.
JH: Does working with different players keep the music fresh?
ED: It’s been really fun. I’ve played with lots of great musicians over the years, especially on this record when I got to play with J Mascis (Dinosaur Jr) and Garth Hudson (The Band).
JH: How was it working with those two?
ED: J is an amazing, unmistakably talented individual and I was just really happy to get him on the record. I have known him for a long time and we have played a lot, so it was really fun to get him on a record. With Garth it was really wild.
JH: How did you get him on the record?
ED: I did a poetry reading for Halloween where me and a bunch of other people all read Edgar Allan Poe. Garth played the church organ, so I met him there and that gave me the gumption to go up and ask him to play on the record.
JH: How are you finding being on your new record label, Vagrant?
ED: As Keith Richards says, “There is no such thing as a good record label”, but I like these guys. The guy who signed me, the head of the company, basically said he could die happy because he signed Paul Westerberg and me. That was one of his big inspirations to start a label. So that was handy.
JH: Have you been doing much writing recently?
ED: I have some music, but I don’t really have songs. I am hoping something will happen magically and I’ll have 11 songs by autumn so I can do another album.
JH: So you are on the hunt for inspiration?
ED: I am always on the hunt for interesting experiences. I am always looking for stuff. I never take anything for granted really. I just sort of walk around the world in a daze wondering how all this happened.
JH: Do you wander around with a notebook to capture any ideas?
ED: Yeah, notebook, camera, flashlight, gun.
JH: Bottle of whisky?
ED: Yep (laughs).
JH: Is that what you will be bringing to Australia?
ED: Yep, minus the gun perhaps.