Why are The Lemonheads one of my favourite bands?
It's A Shame About Ray was a landmark album for me and many of my age/generation. I was 16-years old in 1992 when it came out; the warm guitar sounds (acoustic and electric combining), pop punk perfection and more delicate numbers like My Drug Buddy and Hannah and Gabi were all wrapped up in an album under 30-minutes in length.
Indeed - I have just double checked this! Yes, there is so much goodness, 13 songs, lyrical genius, hooks, choruses and lovely guitar sounds in under 30-minutes.
I remember hearing Evan playing an acoustic show live on the Evening Session back in 1992 (I think it was from Sheffield) and being deafened by the screams. He was, and is, a handsome guy!
I dug deeper, the band had been going since 1986 and released a few albums. There were some cracking tracks like Ride With Me, the cover of Luka and Stove (all from Lovey, the album that proceeded ..Ray) but It's A Shame About Ray is when it all came together; Rudderless, Alison's Starting To Happen, Bit Part....just brilliant guitar songs.
The form continued into Come On Feel The Lemonheads, released swiftly the following year. Gems like Into Your Arms, It's About Time and a reworking of the beautiful and brilliant Being Around (originally a b-side of the Mrs Robinson single) gathered more fans for Evan and his band and propelled The Lemonheads into the top 5.
Evan always had an air of mischief about him and the success led to lots of attention....and drugs. Evan became a regular in the NME and Melody Maker, not just for his music, but for hanging out with Oasis, shagging Courtney Love, partying harder than most and generally being a rock star.
It took 3-years for a follow up and Car Button Cloth was a mixed bag but it still had incredible songs like If I Could Talk I'd Tell You (a co-write with Eugene Kelly), Hospital and the absolute class act that is Outdoor Type (written by Dando's friend Tom Morgan).
Since then there hasn't been a great deal of output; a cracking Dando solo album (also a rare live album), the eponymous album in 2006 and a covers album in 2013.
But Evan has always been relatively active; playing solo shows, touring with The Stooges, shows with Juliana Hatfield and occasionally getting a group together to tour as The Lemonheads.
I have caught the band and Evan live a number of times over the years and there have been some very memorable shows; two in particular spring to mind - Evan at Nice n Sleazys back at the end of 2003 was incredible. I literally got the last ticket in town so had to go on my own and I was right down the front - mesmerised, singing-a-long and very drunk. Then a long Lemonheads set at Benicassim in 2005 with Evan refusing to leave the stage was just sublime, perfect guitar pop.
It is great to have Evan and his friends back and here are the details.
The Lemonheads have announced details of a UK tour in October. The shows will be their first in over 3 years and follow a recent sold-out solo tour by Evan Dando. The line-up will feature Evan Dando (vocals/guitar), Chris Brokaw (guitar), Todd Philips (drums) and Jen Turner (bass). Tickets are on sale now.
Thurs 1st - Birmingham - Library
Fri 2nd - Cardiff - The Gate
Sun 4th - Belfast - Limelight 2
Mon 5th - Dublin - Academy
Tues 6th - Glasgow - O2 ABC
Weds 7th - Manchester - The Ritz
Thurs 8th - London - Indigo2