Lemonheads The Lemonheads

Lemonheads The Lemonheads
Evan Dando’s an easy guy to count out. He’s always practiced rock’n’roll with a careless abandon: dabbling in drugs, earning a reputation as an erratic or no-show live act, and then there’s those long stretches of time between records. If you’re counting, Car Button Cloth, the last Lemonheads record, was released a decade ago, and despite cutting a solo effort in between that time, Dando’s always kept the door open for the Lemonheads. Well, it’s good to know he can just pick up and continue whenever he likes, which is just the case with this eponymous seventh album. Like with every Lemonheads album, Dando has recruited a new line-up. Some may be shocked to find ex-Descendents members Karl Alvarez and Bill Stevenson (also of Black Flag) joining him, but the trio gel impeccably to take the band back to their original punkier roots. A different semblance that the affable one responsible for It’s A Shame About Ray, the riffs are short and beefy and solos have been implemented everywhere (J Mascis appears on two tracks), but Dando’s voice still works the same boyish charm that made him an alt-rock pin-up. Best of all though is the assurance in knowing that the man can still pen lyrics that are markedly a great Lemonheads song. Count him out? Never. He’s just getting started.

What made you decide to bring back the Lemonheads instead of continuing under your own name?
Dando: I was thinking back on the Lemonheads and thought, "Hey we did pretty good but we really didn’t do all we could as a band.” (And of course, I was just talking to myself because it’s just been me since 1990.) I wanted to leave a slightly better looking corpse.

What made you decide to bring in Bill and Karl and create such a heavier sounding Lemonheads?
That’s the kind of music I like. Black Sabbath is probably my favourite rock band of all time. All along that wuss rock I was making, I didn’t have my heart in it. I did but I never really can explain my creative process and I’m never happy with it, but as far as the actual playing, I’m really happy with this record. We’re gonna cut another one when we finish this tour.

Are drugs still something you use to write songs?
Not anymore. It stopped working some time in ’94. To tell you the truth, the actual songs I wrote were written mostly about remembering being high. As my mom told me today, "When they bring up drugs just say, ‘I don’t want to talk about it.’” So that’s what I’ll say… (Vagrant)