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Evan Dando performing live in 2005
|Birth name||Evan Griffith Dando|
|Born||March 4, 1967|
|Origin||Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.|
|Genres||Alternative rock, punk rock|
|Occupations||Singer, songwriter, guitarist|
|Associated acts||The Lemonheads|
Evan Griffith Dando (born March 4, 1967) is an American musician, best known for fronting the alternative rock band The Lemonheads. He is the only original member left in the current Lemonheads line-up, having served as lead singer since the band's original formation in 1986. He was married to English fashion model Elizabeth Moses until separating in 2010.
Early life and education
Evan Dando was born in Boston, Massachusetts, the son of a fashion model and a real estate attorney. He grew up in Essex, Massachusetts. During his youth, Dando gravitated towards such influential 1980s punk outfits as Hüsker Dü and The Replacements. For high school, he attended the Commonwealth School, in Boston. Dando enrolled at Skidmore College, but he could not maintain his grades and dropped out to pursue a career as a musician.
Along with school friend Ben Deily, he formed The Lemonheads at the Commonwealth School in Boston in 1986. The Lemonheads played their first show on August 18, 1986. At this stage they played punk rock, and were briefly known as the Whelps, until a name change in 1987 led to the birth of the Lemonheads, after a candy manufacturered by Ferrara Pan Candy Company which Dando noted was "sweet on the outside, and sour on the inside," possibly a metaphor for the band's sound. Their first recording as a group was titled Laughing All the Way to the Cleaners. After being signed by local label Taang! The Lemonheads released the albums Hate Your Friends, Creator, and Lick with Deily and Dando sharing lead vocals and songwriting duties until about 1989, when Dando left the band.
However, the lure of a European tour and moderate success of single "Luka" brought Dando back on tour with the Lemonheads, this time--at his request--assuming drumming duties. Deily, however, quit the band shortly before the European tour, bringing Evan back to the front on guitar and exclusive vocal duties.
Dando then recruited David Ryan on drums, was signed to major label Atlantic/Warner, and produced the album Lovey in 1990. Straddling punk, rock, country, and metal, the album sold roughly 30,000 copies. Dando cut his losses and flew to Australia to write some songs with friends Nic Dalton and Tom Morgan.
These songs formed the basis for It's a Shame About Ray, the Lemonheads' breakthrough album. However, a cover of Simon and Garfunkel's "Mrs. Robinson" was recorded to promote the then modern video release of the classic film The Graduate. The band had not wanted the cover released, though it brought them the most exposure they'd had so far. When the "Ray" album was reissued, the track was tagged on to the end. The band enjoyed quite a bit of success on college radio, and major mainstream exposure.
During 1992-1993, Dando's face appeared on many magazine covers. People magazine voted him one of the "50 Most Beautiful People." He also garnered attention in 1993 for admitting to smoking crack cocaine.
Still, a huge breakthrough single still eluded the band as they released Come on Feel the Lemonheads in late 1993. This was a successful album which included the tracks "Style" and "The Jello Fund." Once again, the band enjoyed mainstream success, this time with the single "Into Your Arms."
The Lemonheads then toured throughout 1994; Dando famously befriended Oasis and appeared at the band's live shows.
Dando makes a quick cameo appearance at the end of the 1994 film Reality Bites.
Dando continued to appear in the pages of the music press with Juliana Hatfield.
In 1996, Dando assembled a new band, still called the Lemonheads, featuring old friends John Strohm and Murph (ex-Dinosaur Jr). This band produced another Lemonheads album, Car Button Cloth. While featuring jangly guitar songs such as "If I Could Talk I'd Tell You," this set also showed off the darker side of Dando's writing: "Break Me" and "Losing Your Mind."
The band toured successfully in 1997 and played a final gig at the Reading Festival, after which Dando promptly disappeared from view—due in no small part to his addiction to crack cocaine. Atlantic released The Best Of The Lemonheads in 1998.
Solo career and other bands
Also while in Australia with Nic Dalton and Tom Morgan, Dando worked closely with a number of Half A Cow artists and made minor appearances on the self-titled album by the band Sneeze and the album Coastal by Godstar.
Dando recorded a duet with Juliana Hatfield for the 1999 album, Return of the Grievous Angel: A Tribute to Gram Parsons. The two sang Gram Parsons' "$1000 Wedding". Their relationship inspired a line in the Barenaked Ladies' song "Jane" about a relationship gone sour which, according to the writer, could still work. The writer says that their current relationship offers "No promises as vague as heaven. No Juliana next to my Evan".
Dando started making public appearances again in late 2000 (jokingly stating that he had been doing "monitors for Enya"), singing with the Blake Babies and playing some acoustic shows. A full acoustic world tour kicked off in earnest in early 2001, with Dando garnering some rave reviews and renewed interest in his back catalogue. He played with Ben Lee and Ben Kweller, with several strong new songs, and seemed to regain a measure of confidence.
These shows led the way to Dando's first solo release, Live at the Brattle Theatre, which was released in Australia in 2001. In addition to a number of live songs from a Cambridge concert, the release also included a second disc with several covers of country songs.
Dando sings back-up on Mary Lorson's/Saint's Low's 2002 release Tricks for Dawn on the song "Long Way Down."
In March 2003, Dando finally released his first proper solo album, Baby I'm Bored, to critical acclaim and a top 40 placing on the UK albums chart. Described by many as a return to form, it allowed Dando to continue to tour, except this time with a full band.
In Spring and Summer of 2011, Evan Dando paired up again with Juliana Hatfield for a series of live performances where each played guitar and traded off vocals, alternating between one another's songs.
As well as guesting with the reformed MC5, writing songs with The Dandy Warhols, collaborating with soundtrack composer Craig Armstrong, and having two tribute CDs recorded for him by fans through his fan site, Dando played several live dates, including a full performance of the It's A Shame About Ray album as part of All Tomorrow's Parties' Don't Look Back festival.
Most recently Dando recorded a cover of a "Lovely NY" produced and mixed by Alex Elena for the forthcoming record "Tarka and Friends"
In 2005, Dando put together a new lineup for the Lemonheads, consisting of Karl Alvarez and Bill Stevenson (both most known for their work with pop-punk pioneers, the Descendents) and signed to Vagrant Records. A new self-titled Lemonheads album, produced and engineered by Stevenson, was released September 25 in the UK and September 26, 2006 in the United States. Since then, Dando (along with a new touring lineup featuring Vess Ruhtenberg and Devon Ashley of the Pieces) have toured extensively in the UK, Europe, Australia and North America with bands such as Vietnam and Hymns.
Despite the lack of an album to support, Dando, along with a new lineup featuring Vess Ruhtenberg and P. David Hazel of Beta Male, began a tour of Europe in August 2008.
An album of cover versions, Varshons, originally rumoured to be released September 16, 2008, was released in the United States on June 23, 2009. Liv Tyler, model Kate Moss sing on the album and The Only Ones guitarist John Perry guests on five tracks.
In Summer and Fall of 2011, The Lemonheads continued their 'Shame about Ray" tour, playing the album in its entirety (sans Mrs. Robinson).
In November 2011, a 'best of' Double CD of The Lemonheads was announced for release in early 2012.
- "Perfect Day" (1995 - Kirsty MacColl and Evan Dando) (UK #75)
- "Stop My Head" (2003) (UK #38)
- "It Looks Like You" (2003) (UK #68)
In popular culture
- Ben Lee's song "I Wish I Was Him" is a tribute to Dando, who has often covered the song when performing live.
- Mentioned in Kimya Dawson's song "The Beer."
- Briefly mentioned a couple of times throughout Bret Easton Ellis novel Glamorama.
- Chuck Biscuits, while a member of Social Distortion had "Bring me the head of Evan Dando" scrawled on his bass drum.
- In the song "Jane" by Barenaked Ladies, Dando's relationship with Hatfield is referenced.
- Bell, Max. "Interview with Evan Dando", Vox Magazine, August 1969. Reprinted on www.evandando.co.uk. Accessed March 11, 2013.
- Heibutzki, Ralph. Wig Out At Dando's: Ten Years In The Life Of The Lemonheads, Discoveries Magazine, December 1994. Reprinted on www.evandando.co.uk. Accessed on March 11, 2013.
- Deevoy, Adrian. Interview with Evan Dando Of The Lemonheads, Q Magazine, November 1993. Reprinted on www.evandando.co.uk. Accessed on March 11, 2013.
- Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 139. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
- Evan Dando & Lemonheads fansite
- The Lemonheads official site
- Vox Interview And Biography
- Interview with Evan Dando on AOL Music
- Bar/None Records - Evan Dando
- Evan Dando at the Internet Movie Database
- Russian site