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Checking in with Evan Dando During the Pandemic

Evan Dando played a solo acoustic set at the Masonic Lodge at Hollywood Forever in Los Angeles, CA, on October 7, 2021. According to, it was his first solo show in more than two years.

Video of the show was posted as numerous clips on YouTube which have all been subsequently deleted. It was awkward from the get-go. As Evan walked on stage, he started to ask the sound guy about the strange feedback that he was hearing before realizing that it was his "intro tape" that was playing. He started the set with "The Turnpike Down" before stumbling a bit mid-song and stopping to adjust the guitar strap. As he did so, he joked that "edible pot" does wonders for your organization skills but that he was sure that he was going to snap out of it. He then told a joke ("Why can't you keep Jews in jail? Because they eat lox.") before launching into "Hard Drive." A few songs later he seemed to be struggling to remember the lyrics of "My Drug Buddy" but soldiered on before apologizing.

In the middle of "Different Drum" he got stuck in some miscellaneous strumming and humming and had to ask the audience to remind him what song he was in the middle of...and continued on after someone yelled out the title. He was still struggling to remember lyrics during "Outdoor Type." Later on he moved an amp so that he could sit down and adjusted the mic before quickly standing up again...not seeming to be able to get comfortable. He was asking the crowd what they wanted to hear but seemed to get confused as he thought they were calling out songs that he (incorrectly) thought he had already played.

Personally, I thought that the best moments were some of the covers like James Taylor's "Blossom," Hüsker Dü's "Green Eyes," Dinosaur Jr.'s "Severed Lips," Florida Georgia Line's "Round Here," and New York Dolls "Lonely Planet Boy" among others. I would have enjoyed it if he'd played more of Dinosaur Jr.'s "Green Mind" than he did (or "Budge" which he posted on YouTube earlier this year). He also played a bit of The Smiths' "What Differece Does it Make?" but stopped after emphasizing the lyric "And your prejudice won't keep you warm tonight" apparent reference to Morrissey's embrace of far-right politics during the Brexit era.

At the end of the show, Evan referenced being there for the "industry wanks" and starting playing "Favorite T" before quickly realizing that he meant to play something else...and transitioned to playing "Paid to Smile"...apparently a connection to his previous comment about the industry. He then transitioned to playing a bit of "Being Around" (which he had already played earlier) and ended the show.

On YouTube, Evan responded to a commenter who criticized the night's performance. He acknowledged that the edible pot caused him difficulties but that he thought he got his legs after a half hour...and that he thought the guy should have stuck it out. He also confessed to being rusty after not playing in a year and a half and apologized while offering to refund the ticket price. I thought the show did improve somewhat as it went but not was pretty shakey and not especially professional throughout. 

Later on Twitter he confessed to being pissed at himself for indulging in cannabis before the gig and acknowledged that anyone who saw the show without already knowing him as an artist would have been pissed too. 

He also mentioned being "...a bit overwhelmed no gigs in ages (no offense Walgreens)" which was a reference to the early-2021 moment when he posted on Twitter about losing his wallet, had a Walgreens employ respond that it had been turned in at the store, and then performed an impromptu version of "Confetti" in-store to thank the guy for helping to reunite him with his driver's license and debit cards.

After watching clips of the show and seeing Evan's comments (and knowing of his rich history of erratic behavior), I wondered if the show was a one-off debacle of sorts or might be more typical than he'd care to admit. There is video on YouTube of a Lemonheads performance in Milwaukee from mid-September. Evan didn't look entirely comfortable on stage but did a better job of performing like a professional musician.

Just before the beginning of the pandemic, there was a brief Lemonheads tour of Australia and Evan also played some shows as a member of Jimmy Flemion's band The Frogs.

According to, his only other performances since the beginning of the pandemic were a Lemonheads show in August of 2020, one in October of 2020, and one in May of 2021. He appeared on an episode of "at HOME and SOCIAL" in October of 2020 to promote a streaming show and the 30th anniversary release of Lovey. He doesn't look super comfortable but seemed like he was doing OK. There are many interesting tidbits in the interview like a Charlie Watts drum kit loaned to him by Keith Richard's son and a pre-show ritual of linking pinkies with the band that was modeled after Eugene Kelly of The Vaselines.

Dando released a Lemonheads album of covers in 2019 (Varshons 2) ten years after the previous release (also an album of covers, Varshons), and was featured in a lengthy profile in the New York Times ("Evan Dando Knows He’s Lucky"). In October of last year it was reported that Dando was collaborating with music writer Jim Ruland on a memoir titled "Rumors of My Demise" to be published in 2022.

“From starting out in Boston’s hardcore punk scene in the Eighties to becoming a Nineties icon as the Lemonheads lead singer, Dando is the embodiment of the golden age of alternative rock & roll-bacchanalian tours with the Lemonheads, two gold records, and all several lifetime’s worth of drugs, sex, and parties,” Gallery Books, the memoir’s publisher, said of Rumors of My Demise. “Dando’s memoir will set the record straight on everything the media got wrong and include never-before-told stories from the tumultuous band history to what it was like to be famous in the Nineties before the internet turned everything toxic.”

The memoir’s editor Alison Callahan added, “I’ve long been a fan of Evan’s music. His shockingly honest memoir is a look inside the funhouse of his mind and a much welcome capsule of Nineties nostalgia.”

In September of this year Ruland reported in his substack newsletter that he was getting close to finishing a draft of the memoir and highlighted the recent death of Evan's father after a long illness.

Dando posted a tribute to his father in August.

In early October, Dando mentioned that he was was back on Cameo (an online service that lets people hire celebrities to create personalized videos).

A few days later he emphasized that actually he was doing fine and didn't mean to worry anyone.

He also had some fun writing poetry with speech to text on his phone.

The Lemonheads will be on tour in November of 2021 culminating in a shared bill in Boston with Dinosaur Jr.

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