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Interview with Evan Dando by John Niven

From Tennent's Lager Magazine March 1993

IT'S A SHAME ABOUT EVAN

With Tennents Live! sponsoring their gig at Glasgow Barrowlands on 10th April, John Niven tracked down the Lemonheads main man Evan Dando to a hotel room in Australia.

 

Time differences - don't you just love them? It's thanks to the miracle of international time zones that I'm robbed of my chance to tell Evan Dando how much I like his group, their fabulous gritty, shoulder shrugging, breakthrough LP, (last year's 'It's A Shame About Ray' catapulted them into a whole new playing field), his perfectly distressed hairstyle, his insane fur coat, his Morrissey impression, the fact that he gets to have his picture taken with Tanya Donnelly's leg... oh, everything really.

Unfortunately it's 10pm in Glasgow and 8.30am in Melbourne, I'm on red wine while Evan's struggling with the first coffee of the morning - the pauses in conversation are gargantuan at first.

So Evan, how's Australia?

The sound of thousands of miles of underwater cable crackles for what seems like minutes... "er... uh... yeah, I like it here (enormous yawn!)... there's lotsa cool beaches an' stuff... um..."

Maybe I should call you back later...

"Naw... it's cool. I'm sorry... I'm just tired."

Under the circumstances it seems unfair to subject Evan to giving a detailed account on how he's coping with the pressures of newly found semi-fame, or to try and obtain a reasoned explanation of "Ray's" sometimes oblique (to say the least) songs. I go for a more low-key approach.

So Evan, what's outside your window?

"Ah, well... it's a sunny day today! It was kinda grey yesterday. I can see some roofs and trees and stuff. That's about all!"

It's almost snowing here!

"What! Snow! No way! What city are you in?"

Glasgow.

"Oh cool, that's a great city!"

Evan goes on to detail his love for Glasgow School of Art discos (where his friend Eugene from Eugenius took him), the Griffin Bar and the Barrowlands Ballroom where he saw Mudhoney the last time he was there. He begins to shake off the sleep and gets almost enthusiastic at the prospect of returning to Scotland for his own Barrowlands date. However, the last couple of months touring Japan, New Zealand and Australia may be taking their toll.

"I'm not partying too much right now. I feel if I party a lot I might get sick. You get to a certain point where you just have to chill out for a while, y'know?"

We chat for a bit about bands he likes (the aforementioned Eugenius and Teenage Fanclub featuring highly) and new Lemonheads material. "I've already written most of the new record ...it'll be kinda like 'Ray' I guess. Nothing too different."

As a parting shot I ask Evan what he does on his days off on tour. Is he a souvenir hunter? Well, "Yeah... but not the sort of stuff you buy. I collect things, shells off the beach, things on the streets, that kinda stuff."

As I do the decent thing and let the poor man get back into bed, I am filled with an intense vision of Evan Dando - this gentle, spaced, latter day Syd Barret - walking along Bondi Beach in his oversized fur coat, weaving in and out of the tanned, oiled bodies of the surf adonises as he stuffs sea-shells into his pockets and suddenly you realise; we desperately need more pop stars like this.

 

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