The answer’s a lemonhead

It‘s a shame about Evan Dando, bunged up with the cold in Amsterdam. But Craig McLean is no respecter of disease, and pestered the invalid with questions about his band. The Lemonheads.

He's holed up in Holland. and not the perkiest of souls. Like one of the dudes that people his hands latest album. Evan Dando is our drugged buddy though not on mile-high. mind-wide ‘skunk‘ that is top of the pops in this dopers‘ heaven. The medication here involved is more likely to be Day Nurse. Night Nurse. Everything Inbetween Nurse. since Evan Dando is weathering one stinker ofa cold.

Such are the rigours ofinternational touring. Such is the price to pay when your record strikes a chord a particularly cool chord across the continents. And such are the consequences of releasing an album as all-embracineg pleasureable as It 's A Shame About Ray. Evan Dando. how does it feel to be a pop star? At last?

I Ie sniffles and shrugs. ‘All I can tell is that everyone on the tour‘s got a cold. It‘s hard to feel really. like. excited about stuff right now. . .‘

But excited we are. chuffed by the laid—back literacy and almost folksy bonhomie that this 1992 Lemonheads dole out.

Of course. it wasn’t always this way. It may have bunged up his nose. but the Netherlands has also bunged out three old ‘Heads records. The country‘s Semaphore label has picked up the band‘s Tang releases. re-issuing Creator. Lick. and Hate Your Friends. In those days of yore. Lemonheads were barbous crypto-noiseniks. Now. just as everyone has cottoned on to the (artistic) kudos and (commercial) merits to be found in rackety thrash. Lemonheads have gone all cosy and marsmallowy sort of— on us. Even Evan‘s mom said. ‘Man. what happened to all the loud guitars'?‘

‘I haven‘t heard it in a long time. that old stuff,’ he drawls. his thoughts becoming fogged in memory and encroaching influenza. ‘But, erm, it's just kinda. . . I rememberit. . .it‘s clear to me that we‘ve just done some different kinds of stuff. . . it‘s just kinda funny to hear the old records, like, to remember those times by.‘

Er, right. Moving swiftly on. those times are

past. and the line-up flux that latterly dogng the Boston band has vapourised. The dust has settled round Dando as pivotal 'Head. with girlfriend and star in her own right Juliana Hatfield. and drummer David Ryan. The result is Lemonheads‘ most complete album. ‘My Drug Buddy" is fittingly trippy. drippy. ‘Hannah And Gabi‘ is lackadaisically strummed. ‘Rockin‘ Stroll’ is a 100-second blur. ‘Bit Part' is launched by Hatfield‘s crescendo screech of ‘I just want a bit part in your LIFE!‘ with its Fatal/1 [traction terror tones. Yet none ofthcse lock horns. all ofthcse neatly coexist. As an album. It's A Shame/{bout Ray is happily together. in a post-therapy. mid-life oasis kind ofway. Evan Dando is 25.

‘Eventually. with this album I feel we‘ve made a more consistent record. Our last ones had some good things on them. but they seem really spotty to me. It‘s got a lot to do with going to Australia, meeting some cool people down there. I went down there to write some stuff and it came out


Tales of a drug buddy; a flakey ditherer who ‘kinda shoulda sorta woulda loved her ifhe coulda'; an imminently sky-high female friend who's 'starting to happen'; the eponynous and anonymous Ray, victim of an indistinct fate. Then overlaying it all is the affable production ofthe Robb Brothers. These two are pedigree LA studio hounds. one-time neighbours ofCharles Manson. professional associates of Art Garfunkel and Rod Stewart. and owners of an address book thick with session player legends. Well. so it says in the handy Lemonheads biography anyway.

‘Those guys tended to favour the acoustic guitar way more than I would have. And I just sat there and went like. “Yeah. I‘ll buy that!" I‘ve always just looked on the whole thing as just kinda funny.’

Sure it's kinda funny. But their touch is

impeccable, Ray is near brevitous perfection (it’s

less than half-an-hour long). and Lemonheads are the greatest (flower) power trio around. As their record company band history put it. with suitable

good.‘ he understates. ‘It‘s refreshing down there.‘ L golly-gee wonder. ‘Isn‘t it all just superb!‘

And, it would appear. full ofcharacters and incidents. since Ray is a compendium ofvignettes.


The Lemonheads play The Cathouse. Glasgow on Sat 10 and The Venue, Edinburgh on Sun 11.

The List 9- 22 October 1992 27