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Rebellious Jukebox - "Evan Dando of The Lemonheads talks about the records that changed his life."

From Melody Maker September 26, 1992.

1. Marvin Gaye - “Let’s Get It On” (from “Let’s Get It On”)

“I always put this on when I’m in a bad mood. It never fails. And there’s a great wah-wah guitar noise in it. It’s meant to be a classic sex record, I know, but I never put music on for sex. It’s too embarrassing. Except maybe AC/Dcs ‘Back in Black’. They probably make the best sex music. But then, I guess it depends on how you have sex.”


2. The Sonics - “He’s Waiting” (from “Boom!”)

“I grew up with all those Sixties punk bands like The Standells and The Seeds. My favourite are The Sonics, who used to do this great song called ‘Strychnine’. They came from Seattle, had this amazing explosive drum sound like a machine, and this guy with the best scream ever. They were kinda like today’s grunge bands.”


3. Martha Reeves & The Vandellas - “Heatwave” (from “Greatest Hits”)

“My parents used to play Motown stuff like this all the time. ‘Heatwave’ was the first record that ever excited me, the one that made me want to make music myself. It made me so happy. Not that I own a copy - there’s no point, they play it all the time on the radio.”


4. The TV Personalities - “Glittering Prizes” (from “The TV Personalities”)

“In 1989 I stayed with this girl in Berlin, where The TVPs are really popular. It was Christmas, the time of the Wall coming down and everything, and there was this really great atmosphere. We went to this club where The TVPs were playing and I got onstage and started jamming my songs! It was really cool.”


5. The Angry Samoans - “Inside My Brain” (from “Inside My Brain”)

“They’re like a Sixties punk-influenced band, really into people like Roky Erikson. One time, they came to Boston and we liked them so much we decided to bake them a cake and take it to the hotel where they were staying. Anyway, because ‘Inside My Brain’ had this great cover with a beautiful blonde girl with an axe in her head and all this blood dripping down, we made this replica cake, with blood-icing and everything. It was just a really nice gesture.”


6. Gram Parsons - “$1000 Dollar Wedding” (from “Grievous Angel”)

“He’s the country singer who got burnt to a crisp. I’m a real fan. When I played the Rough Trade record store in London back in 1989, a friend of mine told me I reminded him of Gram Parsons. But I’d never even heard of him! So I got him to make me a tape and now I love him. He’s got a real addictive quality - you have to keep listening to him. Have I got that quality? I just like to make people happy. I like to see happy faces in our audiences. Sometimes, though, they just scrunch up their faces and look mean. I don’t know why.”


7. Stevie Wonder - “Blame It On The Sun” (from “Talking Book”)

This is so intense. The melody’s great, the singing’s fine and it’s got this really distinctive hi-hat sound. Sure it makes me cry. Stevie can definitely do that to you. My dad used to play his records every day. He once even stopped on his way to work at the side of the road just so he could hear this song all the way through. That’s what made me get into Stevie Wonder.”


8. Wire - “Outdoor Miner” (from “Chairs Missing”)

“This goes dingdingdingdingdingdingdingding. It’s great. It’s just this weird, perfect pop song that’s really hard to figure out. It’s got a kind of indecipherable magic. I once tried to make reference to it one of our songs. I’d really like to rip off the chords to ‘Let’s Get It On’ one time, actually. Has anyone every ripped off The Lemonheads? I don’t think so. There’s nothing to rip off.”


9. The Louvin Brothers - “When I Stop Dreaming” (from “The Louvin Brothers”)

They’re like these two white guys from the early Fifties who really influenced The Everly Brothers with their high and low voices and beautiful harmonies. They were just two crazy hick brothers who lived on a farm. My dad lives on a farm. I go there sometimes when I haven’t got anywhere to live. I like the animals, the sheep and the chickens and the pigs. But the fish and the birds are my favourite. And there used to be this cow I used to sit on.”


10. Sly Stone - “Skin I’m In” (from “Fresh”)

His vocals are so awesome. He was heavily into hard drugs at this point. My mum knows the drummer who played on the LP. He told her about how Sly used to lock himself in the bathroom with a whole load of drugs while 15,000 screamed for him to come onstage. He had to do a Sly Stone Retribution Tour just to pay back all the promoters of the concerts he hadn’t played. Sometimes the most intense people just don’t last. I don’t wanna burn out.”


11. Dinosaur Jr - “The Leper” (from “Dinosaur”)

“The band with the biggest influence on The Lemonheads were probably The Replacements, but we used to really admire Dinosaur’s attitude when we started. The were so cool, and they didn’t take anything too seriously. I love this song, especially the line about feeling ‘Embarrassed to be alive’. I could really identify with that when I was younger. Dinosaur did a lot for me back in the mid-Eighties, they brought rock back from those bands like Frankie Goes To Hollywood, who I didn’t like at all. Dinosaur weren’t afraid to relax and play loud, heavy, psychedelic rock. After Dinosaur, I never felt self-conscious about liking Black Sabbath.”


12. Jonathan Richman & The Modern Lovers - “Hospital” (from “The Modern Lovers”)

“This is great for that line, ‘ I still get jealous of your old boyfriends in the suburbs’. That kills me. In the next bit he sings about how he goes to bakeries every day and he feels like a doughnut. I guess I’m attracted to mad characters. I usually talk to vagrants. They seem interesting. Jonathan Richman seems like a pretty interesting guy. Yeah, I even like his songs about ice-cream vans. I reckon there should be more pop songs about ice-cream vans.”

 

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