Evan Dando: “We had people coming down to the studio saying, ‘Get this done, because this guy might die…'”

From The Lemonheads to his solo work, Dando takes us through his career

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Atlantic, 1996. Produced by Bryce Goggin
Dando cuts an increasingly wretched figure, hanging around Oasis wearing a jacket previously owned by the late Kurt Cobain. The album itself is curiously whimsical and chipper.

It got pretty bad. The Oasis part was harmless, and fun, and I don’t know why everyone was bothered by it so much. The jacket… that was bad. Courtney gave it to me, and I liked it, and I wore it a bit, and then I gave it back to her. But I was definitely out of my mind for a while there, and then it got worse. I flew down to Sydney, and banged a bunch of speed, and stayed up. The next night we did E, the next night some acid… and that’s when I lost my mind. By the time we made the album, I’d chilled out. I was drinking way too much, which is worse. Car Button Cloth is a booze album. We recorded it in Woodstock. It was made with no concessions to making a popular record, but I’m not naturally an uncommercial writer, I guess. I wrote “If I Could Talk I’d Tell You” with Eugene Kelly from The Vaselines. I’d always wanted to do “Knoxville Girl”, so I was pleased to get that done – I love The Louvin Brothers. But by 1997, I just felt like there wasn’t really a place for us. I wasn’t hungry any more. I had more money than I knew what to do with, so I was like, “Fuck it!”



Setanta, 2003. Produced by Jon Brion
Seven-year silence broken by terrific solo debut. Cover star a possible clue as to creator’s newfound equanimity – English model Elizabeth Moses, now aka Mrs Dando.
I’d been through the wringer. I just did it so hard for so long that I knew I needed a long break. I did all the things I hadn’t done – skiing, surfing, stuff like that. I was still trying to write songs, but I was having a real tough time. I couldn’t call it a Lemonheads record. There were too many people from other bands on it – Calexico, Come, Spacehog. And Ben Lee [who’d first gained attention as the teenage writer of Dando homage “I Wish I Was Him”]. What happened was that he’d get me over to his flat and say, “Come on, Evan, let’s write a song, just for fun.” He was a good coach. He wrote “All My Life” just for me. I thought it was a catchy song. I didn’t think too much about the lyrics. I was just happy to be back in the game. I never really stopped drugs completely. I stopped drinking in 2001 for four years, because that was a problem. I’m not gonna say no to a line at a wedding, or something, but it’s not my whole life any more. That’s my wife on the cover, yeah. She changed everything for me. Falling in love, it’s pretty cool.


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