Note: Evan Chase interviews former
singer-songwriter Evan Dando
upon the release of his first solo recording, Baby I’m Bored (Bar None Records.)
Punk Globe: Nice to finally meet you, Evan.
ED: Nice to meet you, Evan.
Punk Globe: We crossed paths a few times, back in the Vineyard Days, 1997.
ED: The Vineyard Days have not ended yet.
Punk Globe: You played a friend of mine's wedding, Jon Fiutak, married an Amherst girl.
ED: Yeah yeah yeah. Somebody had some mushrooms.
Punk Globe: Yeah I was wondering if you enjoyed playing the show.
Definitely, it was at the Chilmark Community Center .
Punk Globe: Really, where they have the Feast?
ED: You weren't there?
Punk Globe: I hadn't discovered the Vineyard. It was much later, I saw you - you were rolling around on Gay Head, I introduced you to my mother actually.
Punk Globe: Yeah it was cool. Good times. And I saw you out back at the Hot Tin Roof. You sat down with me and my brother and we had a smoke. So how's the tour going?
Punk Globe: Enjoying yourself?
ED: Yeah totally.
Punk Globe: I know you spoke with the New York Times, and you're living in New York now.
ED: That is correct.
Punk Globe: Happily married?
ED: Yeah, definitely. Very.
Punk Globe: A sweetheart, your wife, Elizabeth? Congratulations on that. (Evan shows me a picture of Elizabeth in his journal, on a rooftop behind which are the ruins of the World Trade Centers.)
ED: See those buildings in the background? That's where the World Trade Centers were.
Punk Globe: Oh, right on.
ED: We live two blocks away. I was on the roof when the second one hit. We were south of it.
Punk Globe: So are you happy in New York ?
ED: No, no one is. We want to move to Paris. New York just recently became part of America. When the towers came down, now it's a part of America. Before it was more international, like an island off the coast of America. It really was. It felt a little different. And since that happened, it's totally changing. It sucks right now, I think. Rent's too expensive for anyone interesting to live there. Not that rich people are boring. I know.
Punk Globe: Well, they are, we both know that.
ED: What I mean is they don't come out of their houses. It doesn't make for a good community.
Punk Globe: Yeah, and they're kind of the enemy of art in a lot of senses.
ED: Well not traditionally. I'd say art never would have happened without rich people. The whole patrons thing.
Punk Globe: You're right, patrons. If only you could have a patron. Well you've got a patron in your new label, Bar/None. In your long history, I'd say you've lived three full waves, from the indie days with "Stove" and all that, that's when I got turned on to you, that was the first one, and that song broke my heart.
ED: We have a stove in our trailer, too. The busdriver just happened to have brought one. I wanted to bring it on stage for that song.
Punk Globe: Right on.
ED: I was just joking.
Punk Globe: Yeah, I know.
ED: He's a no-nonsense kind of guy, he wouldn't.
Punk Globe: So you did that, and you did a number of records for Atlantic, very commercially successful.
ED: Yeah, two of 'em sold tons, like they both went gold in the States. We were in the Top 50 of all-time Atlantic recording overseas. At least we were when I checked in '97.
Punk Globe: Right. A Top 50's recording star, that's a beautiful thing.
ED: Like, overseas sales. In other words, they were gold in the States but they did a lot of business in other countries, too. Like England and Germany .
Punk Globe: Wonderful. And you're gonna tour Europe.
ED: We already toured Europe .
Punk Globe: And I hear the feel's really good, a lot of sing-along, a lot of enthusiasm.
ED: It's amazing, yeah it's great.
Punk Globe: I have a lot of enthusiasm for your work, old and new, and I think... a terrific job on the new record. I wanted to ask you, the three waves, obviously the indie days, the Atlantic Years, now you're with Bar/None. Where are you gonna go from here? You're on New York time right now. Are you going to head back to a major at some point?
ED: I'll go... yeah... I don't know anything. I'm going to do my music as best I can. All I care about is the playing of the music. The money is a side effect of the playing of the music. Sometimes you don't have any and sometimes you have tons. Basically that's the way I look at it. Wonderful. Whenever I have money, I spend it. That's the feast or famine nature of things.
Punk Globe: Yeah, my bank account's overdrafted right now, 300 bucks but that's...
ED: Me and my friend were talking about writing a screenplay though. The best thing with money is to just have just enough just to get by. Because if you have too much, it screws you up, if you have too little it screws you up. So we're doing really good that way right now.
Punk Globe: You ever read The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde?
Punk Globe: Where he talks about the whole concept of style over substance came from there. And the guy who's playing the piano says, "I don't play it well. I don't play with accuracy. I play with tremendous style."
Punk Globe: What I enjoy about your music is that you have a combination of style and substance. Can you speak to that about your songwriting?
ED: I'd say I'm underrated as a singer. I am a damn good singer.
Punk Globe: Oh, the stuff I've been reading online says you have a beautiful voice.
Don't listen to that shit. I wouldn't.
Punk Globe: It's coming from the New York Times, it's shit?
I guess I don't believe in anything, really.
I just believe in today.
Punk Globe: You trust people?
ED: Nah... yeah. I do. I do trust people. I'm a trusting person, for sure.
Punk Globe: Good. That's really important. Having an open heart, open mind. That is important. You've seen a lot. You've had a whole lot of experience. Let's talk about any particular influences. You did the "$1,000 Wedding" with Juliana, your version of (Big Star's) "Thirteen."
ED: Let's see. Neil, Sabbath, Marvin Gaye, Martha and the Vandellas, Velvet Underground.
Punk Globe: That's it?
Hank Williams, Sr. I love the Beachwood
Punk Globe: Oh they're wonderful. How about the Glands, you share a label with them currently.
ED: I didn't know that.
Punk Globe: You should check out their records. They're on Bar/None.
ED: See, I'm not really familiar with Bar/None, they just had the money, you know?
Punk Globe: Right. You considered Anti because of Tom Waits?
ED: Yeah I have.
Punk Globe: Have you met Waits?
ED: No, I'm a huge fan.
Punk Globe: Anybody you enjoy that you haven't had a chance to meet yet? Westerberg?
ED: Anybody in particular? I've talked with Westerberg on the phone.
Punk Globe: Has he had an influence on you?
ED: He had a huge influence, yeah. [Plays "Color Me Impressed" on his acoustic.] Or else there's that great Bevis Frond song. [Plays "Lights Are Changing."]
Punk Globe: Two more questions for you. One, with the mp3 thing. Kazaa, Napster, you're all over the place.
That's a good sign.
Punk Globe: Get your stuff out there.
I think computers are going to kill mankind.
Punk Globe: Advice to young songwriters?
I think the key to everything is relaxation.
To find a way to relax while you play.
Punk Globe: You wrote "You Were the Last High" (on "Welcome to the Monkey House") with Courtney from the Dandys.
ED: Yeah, I was just hanging out with Courtney the other night. He was telling me what I contributed to that song. I did the "na na na na" part.
back to home page