WITH THE NEWS THAT Fire Records are to release expanded versions of Lemonheads’ first three albums – Hate Your Friends (1987), Creator (1988) and Lick (1989) – on October 7, MOJO’s post-hardcore contingent were out in force, insisting as they always do that it was all downhill for dishy Evan Dando’s slacker-punk compadres after founding co-writer Ben Deily went up the road. Certainly, Lemonheads became a different band after Lick – first with the streamlined pop-punk of Lovey (1990), then the wistful alt.Americana flavours of It’s A Shame About Ray (1992) – a group transformed by various defections, recruitments and Evan Dando’s sojourn down under.
Reason to revel, then, in the raucous, sometimes overlooked thrills of Taang!-era Lemonheads, as delivered by this artfully-spliced clip of the Lick lineup. Drool as they tear into their cover of Suzanne Vega’s Luka, via Black Sabbath, with Corey Loog Brennan, en route from Bullet LaVolta into the Lemonheads line-up proper, giving it maximum shred.
The Lemonheads’ rocking soul is in tangible evidence, as are the dumb pop instincts (they always dug Kiss) that made them outcasts on the Boston hardcore scene and paved the way for Dando’s drug’n’madness scarred alt.stardom.
Corey Loog Brennan is now an associate professor of Classics at Rutgers University, New Jersey, USA, with respected volumes on Roman history to his name. But what of Dando? Rumours last year suggested that he would reunite with Ben Deily to record a new album featuring It’s A Shame About Ray collaboratrix Juliana Hatfield and produced by Ryan Adams.
But since this story involves two of the most easily distracted characters in recent rock history, perhaps we oughtn’t hold our breath.