Dando was born in Boston, Massachusetts on March 4, 1967, and raised in its environs. During his youth, Dando had gravitated towards such influential '80s punk outfits as Hüsker Dü and the Replacements. Along with school friend Ben Deily, he formed The Lemonheads at the Commonwealth School in Boston circa 1986. At this stage they played very snotty punk rock, and were briefly known as the Whelps, until a name change in 1987 led to the birth of the Lemonheads, a candy which Dando noted was sweet on the outside, and sour on the inside, possibly a metaphor for the band's sound. Their very first recording as a group was titled Laughing All the Way to the Cleaners. Dando enrolled at Skidmore College, but couldn't maintain his grades and dropped out to pursue a career as a musician. Having signed to 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, where night after night he continually played the guitar riff of Sweet Child O' Mine during Deily's songs. The relationship had broken down, and Deily left.
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, this album was a year too early for grunge and never took off. 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 Mrs. Robinson (recorded to promote the video release of The Graduate) was released to the annoyance of the band and got 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 modest mainstream exposure.
During 1992-1993, Dando's face was on virtually every magazine cover, posters of him peering out between golden blonde locks hung from teenage girls' walls. Courtney Love said she had impure thoughts about him while he stayed with the Cobains, and People magazine voted him one of the Sexiest Men Alive.
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 but paved the way for future madness with tracks like Style and The Jello Fund. Once again, the band enjoyed modest 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. The cracks were beginning to show, and after one ridiculous interview where Dando (not being able to speak, having lost his voice) admitted to having a crack problem, he was no longer viewed as the slacker sex kitten of the previous year. His star began to dim.
Dando became a figure of fun, infamous for showing up anywhere and anytime with an acoustic guitar stuck to his chest, and constantly appearing in the pages of the music press with the equally winsome Juliana Hatfield. Saying things like The universe is really sparkly! didn't help his cause. Evan began to slip into an alcohol- and drug-fuelled haze, which culminated in an arrest in Australia and a spell in rehab.
In 1996, Dando got a new band together, 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 proved that all was not well with Dando's head.
The band toured successfully in 1997 and played a final gig at the Reading Festival, after which Dando promptly disappeared from view. Atlantic's release of The Best Of The Lemonheads in 1998 only served to increase the mystery.
He reappeared in late 2000 (having done 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, 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. (It has not been released elsewhere.) In addition to a number of live songs from a Boston concert, the release also included a second disc with several covers of country songs.
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.
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 UK fan site, Dando has played several live dates over the past year, 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.
In 2006 Evan 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 in the United States. Dando then toured extensively in the UK and Europe before coming back to the United States on November 19, 2006.
Evan Dando Facts
|Birth Name||Evan Griffith Dando|
|Birthday||March 4, 1967 (50)|
|Birthplace||Boston, Massachusetts, USA|
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