Evan Dando’s first interview in Brazil: “I’m enraptured here”
A book that marked the lives of many people was “High Fidelity” (95) by the English writer Nick Hornby. The cool narrative of the male with a broken heart and a taste for good music brought an aspect that would become a trend in pop culture: the lists. The practice of organizing our personal world into lists, the famous TOP 5, 10, etc, would soon transcend the literary universe to inspire other new books, films, videos and blogs.
And it’s curious how the culture of lists was so absorbed by Evan Dando as to lead him to dimension aspects of his personality that, only with a lot of suffering, he could have put on paper. Quite naturally, Evan does not shy away from making lists of his influences, favorite songs to play, facts, countries and stories… Except when the question approaches his “pain”, in which he protects himself and returns to his not so talkative rocker persona.
The exclusive interview that you can read here, the first given by Evan during his stay in Brazil since the last days of December, was actually conceived a long time ago: the result of questions that I always wanted to ask him, some as a fan, some as a musical journalist, some as a Lemonheads’ premium customer. And when his fiancée Antonia Teixeira, (as you might know) Brazilian like me, appeared in the story, I saw it was getting closer to the end. I didn’t think twice about finally getting this project off the paper. With Evan coming here, the interview became even more tangible, not only for the shorter distance, but for the availability.
You can imagine that, even so, it took a long time for the main character of a whole series of articles to decide to open up about living in São Paulo, going to Ubatuba for fishing, playing with Renato Teixeira’s family and all. But I think Evan is like some sort of an alien who lives in a world parallel to ours, full of music, sensitivity, purity and, of course, a lot of anguish. Even so, he seems to be able to develop a kind of student discipline for dealing with mundane matters, having decided to only give interviews in Brazil when the first shows were announced, one of the reasons I also feel so proud to be the first to do it.
This kind of “procrastination” does not just arise from suffering to confront any internal demons in interviews, but mostly from the lack of time in the face of intense artistic productivity, contrary to what many think when questioning whether or not there will be a successor to “Varshons 2″ (2019). The Evan that you will know – and some will recognize – here is that 18-year-old boy who, trying to get his start in classical music and indoctrinate himself with the greats of jazz, one day fell in love with the punk-rock band Flipper and, although he hasn’t changed the world with his youthful rage, has certainly made it onto the lists of many fans around the world, including mine.
“I am enraptured here”
RC – As you know, the online tickets for your 2 shows in São Paulo ran out in less than an hour….Did you expect that?
ED – I’m pleased as punch, Marcos! It’s a good thing! Brazil has always been TOP 5 places to play.
RC – Is there a chance of a 3rd show?
ED – We are considering compromising our cool and adding a bigger last show with some Twinpines action!
RC – Will you play in some other Brazilian cities?
ED – There’s talk of Belém do Pará I’m really hoping that pans out.
RC – Through your youtube channel, we can follow your steps, and sometimes (mostly) they are quite mysterious (like some random footage during the night). How has everyday life in Serra da Cantareira/SP contributed to your health, your art, along with the new people you chose to be part of this new stage of life? I see you got all those new Brazilian friends…
ED – I am enraptured here. I love the Serra (Da Cantareira) jungle. I would have died long ago without my sometimes sketchy and unpleasant job. Loving it more and more. It’s obscene. Old guy rock! Forever old rockers never die they just end up painting and narrating forensic file type shows. Have you seen Donnie Wahlberg (God bless him)? This country and my girl are doing the good in the world. She’s a blot on the landscape. I love Antonia Appolonio Teixeira de Oliveira’s guts.
RC – Most of all, were you able to do any fishing? Get any robalo?
ED – We went to Ubatuba but I didn’t catch anything. Oh well, next time.
RC – In 2004, I witnessed the Brazilian tour in which you decided to go back to the name Lemonheads, releasing one of the albums that I consider among the best of your career (“The Lemonheads”). What do you recall from your 3 trips to Brazil, and what’s the difference back then and now that you’re living in São Paulo?
ED – Stuff was always pretty rushed back in the day but I remembered how hot the girls were here and the tough and friendly populace (not to mention the nature – whoops). I don’t see it as much different. I’m a São Paulo person, Rio ‘s a little much for little old me (I’m not saying I don’t like it, for example, one night I went to the top of Sugarloaf Mountain when the moon was full – this girl said something about If I see a rabbit in the full moon I’m falling in love. Instead I threw a big cobblestone from the summit and quite distinctly heard it hit the water thousands of feet down).
RC – Maybe not everyone knows that you have a great hand for the plastic arts. However, your works, unlike the figurative of your Lemonheads’ lyrics, are mostly abstract. Do you try with them to express something that escapes the domain of music as a composer? What are your influences in this field besides your mom, of course?
ED – When I was a twerpy 18 years old acid enthusiast had to do non homework doer. I stopped listening to rock for a year and got really into Bach, Ben Britten, Coltrane, McCoy Tyner, Erich Dolphy, Elvin Jones, Monk, Mingus, Paul Chambers, Tony Williams, Max Roach, Freddie Hubbard, James Joyce, Kandinsky, Paul Klee, Corbet, Polanski, Angela Carter, Paul Boules, etc, etc. It was all highbrow until I saw Flipper in 1984 at the channel in Boston. Made me wanna be a stubborn reprobate. The Angry Samoans were a big part of it as were Gang Green, SSD, The Circle Jerks, Black Flag, Flipper of course, The Volcano Sun, The Blake Babies, Kilslug, The Stooges, The Mother Lovers, The Vaselines, The Louvin Brothers… I suddenly wanted to be in a band.
RC – Another expression of art that you seem to master is literature – according to some secret sources who have already read the first chapters of your autobiography. When will we have this book in our hands, will your book feature never-before-told stories about the 90s, for example or or it will focus on your personal life, for example, the beginning of your contact with music (I know that your father was a great singer and would always harmonize with you and your mom).
ED – I gotta say I’m not sure what’s happening, but it shall happen.
RC – The album “Come on Feel..” will be 30 years old in 2023. Just as “It’s a shame…” was widely celebrated, performed from top to bottom on world tours like the last one, do you foresee something like “Come on Feel”?
ED – No.
And as for reissues, considering that it is currently out of print, are there conversations, for example, with Fire Records?
ED – Yes, big reissue with lots of extra shit.
RC – Is there any extra left like another version of “The Jello Fund”?
ED – No, “The Jello Fund” was all about the money. One take, see ya.
RC – What was your greatest memory of the last “It’s a shame about Ray” world tour: being onstage with Juliana Hatfield, playing bass … ?
ED – I suppose the highlight was going to the truck stops with Antonia and this awesome dude in Omaha GAVE ME a lovely acoustic lap steel from the 40’s. And playing with Bill Stevenson, Lee Falco, M.Farley Glavin and my mom.
RC – You already have dates for the resumption of this tour abroad. Are you excited?
ED – That’s just a weather make-up show and one in Halifax (which gets the serious short end of the stick). Then in April myself, Antonia and Dan Lardner will be on tour for like 3 weeks supporting the fabulous Psychedelic Furs.
RC – Recently, Courtney Love shared the stage with you in a rendition of “Into Your Arms”. After all, have you ever met Kurt Cobain? How was the episode where the guys from Nirvana pranked you?
ED – I don’t talk about that shit. Sorry. Too painful. I loved that guy. Love Courtney.
RC – Do you have any idea how many musicians would take the stage in case of a historic Lemonheads reunion?
ED – No, I have no idea.
Evan Dando will give a solo presentation: march 3 and 4 – Sesc Avenida Paulista (SP)
Many thanks to Evan and Antonia.
All Evan’s pics taken by Antonia Teixeira