Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Big Gay Heart for Evan Dando

I've recently had a rediscovery of The Lemonheads. It was a day like any other. I was at the library, sifting through the CD's when I happened upon The Lemonheads' It's a Shame About Ray. (BTW-The COMO library has a great collection of music.) This was one of those albums I traded in at Used Kids and have regretted it ever since.

As I played the first few tracks while in the car, driving to the grocery store, I remembered listening to this album over and over again in high school, then in college. I was obsessed with celebrity (still am, I guess), and Evan Dando was a huge obsession.

It was the cover he did for Spin that started this fixation. Dando was swapping spit with this skinny, long-haired girl. The image was really hot! It was hard to figure out where Dando's limbs and hair began and where the model's limbs and hair ended.

What I found inside was the typical Behind the Music story of drug abuse and multiple sexual partners that had me reading the pages continuously for weeks...until J Mascis graced the next Spin cover. I was naive enough to believe that Dando's story was unique. I think I still believed that Kurt Cobain's drug problems weren't that bad at that time. Sure, I had read the Led Zeppelin book, but that seemed so unreal, almost made-up (A shark? Please!) compared to Evan Dando's story.

I continued following Dando and the Lemonheads through his next album, Come on Feel the Lemonheads. It was a diverse album (at least to someone who mostly listened to grunge) that jumped from genre with almost every track. I loved the song "Big Gay Heart" for Dando's courage to sound so...well, gay. Here was this rock star who depended on girls lusting over him, and he was comfortable enough with his own sexuality to sing about his big gay heart. Other tracks like "Into Your Arms", "Style", and "Dawn Can't Decide" also captured my imagination.

I waited through the credits of Reality Bites to see Dando's cameo in which he played the fictionalized Troy Dyer.

I don't know if the music is great, but I know that my emotional and intellectual attachment and its role in shaping my identity will always make the Lemonheads important to me.


ATR said...

This is an excellent artifact. And, I remember it as an immensely enjoyable (though not earth-shattering) album (don't have it anymore). I wore this one out, too. Loved "Frank Mills" (silly cover), "Allison's Starting to Happen", and, even, the title track, especially. Dando was super-hot for a while back then, huh?
This album also introduced me to Julianna Hatfield and Blake Babies. Not the highest points of my musical tour through life, but they were interesting, literate, and they convinced me that there was more to Boston than just dirty water (frozen and liquid)and bad drivers.
I'm glad you got reminded of this one (and reminded me of it, also), and, if you see Frank Mills, tell him "Angela and I / don't want the two dollars back. / Just him."

jeff said...

I'm not familiar with that band, but what about this song?

comoprozac said...

Tony, you hit the nail on the head with that hammer thing.
Jeff, repost the link. It didn't work when I copied and pasted.

jeff said...


comoprozac said...

That's the ticket! Wendy's originated in Columbus, Oh, so a song like this is close to my heart.

planbreaker said...

"It's a Shame about Ray" was on the radio around here the other day so this post is reflecting all that I felt when I heard the opening guitar riff.

And I'll admit that the new Lemonheads album is surprisingly good. And the new Dinosaur Jr. is pretty ok too. But it was a little shocking when I saw how Jerry Garcia-like J. Mascis looked on tv a couple of months ago.

comoprozac said...

Yeah, we saw Dinosaur Jr. in the spring. They look...well, old. J Mascis is no fashionista, that's for sure.
I also liked Evan Dando's solo album.