Picture the scene; LA is burning, riots fill the news, there’s looting and angst for all. Love and peace are in short supply. It’s 1993 and The Lemonheads are celebrity-nodding following the global enthusiasm for their short, sharp and pretty damn perfect ‘It’s A Shame About Ray’ album.
How to follow that, as the plaudits kept on coming…
Sitting on the hotel bed trading riffs and one liners with Antipodean songwriting spar Tom Morgan, everything is good; Evan and co go late into the night. Back in the studio with production team The Robb Brothers, the drop-in celeb count is augmented by musical input from a motley crew of desperadoes, including the soon-to-be-jailed Rick James, Belinda Carlisle, The Flying Burrito Brothers’ Sneaky Pete Kleinow and a returning Juliana Hatfield. There were good times to be had.
Originally released on October 12, 1993, the praise was plentiful for ‘Come On Feel The Lemonheads’. Indeed, everyone RSVP’d.
“Lemonheads have produced a scruffy rock-pop album that is as loveable as it is listenable,” said Q, while the NME opined “’Come On Feel The Lemonheads’ is all it purports to be: a chance to dip into Evan’s jumbled-up, dope-smoking love-buggy of a life and celebrate it while we can.”
As ever, teetering on the edge, challenging himself and living the life that those plugged in would love to, Evan’s Lemonheads produced hit after a hit, a string of super cool singles: ‘Big Gay Heart’, ‘Into Your Arms’, ‘It’s About Time’, and ‘The Great Big No’. Pure genius filling the radio waves and taking the stage…
Just prior to the album’s release, in the August of 1993, Q met up with the band, this time backstage at Reading Festival: “Evan is impossibly happy, unstoppably talkative and clean as Betty Ford’s whistle. He is, however, wearing a cotton flower-print summer dress, his hair is up in two bunches and he is currently drawing suspenders on his thighs with black magic marker.” You gotta love the guy.
Some 30 years on; Evan is still knocking that songwriting thing out of the park and ‘Come On Feel The Lemonheads’ sounds as fresh and perky as it ever did. Amid the hits on the original record are stencils and outlines for yet more magical music and now this deluxe edition adds a second disc of demos and acoustic versions, plus a host of one-offs from sessions and compilations that add further colour to the myth and how it was created. There’s the in-demand combo lovingly covering Victoria Williams’ ‘Frying Pan’ from her ‘Sweet Relief’ album, which is joined by an eclectic set of flipsides and out-takes, like their version of original garage punk nugget ‘Little Black Egg’ by The Nightcrawlers, Evan’s homage to Gram Parsons on the winsome ‘Streets Of Baltimore’ and Buddy Holly’s melancholy ‘Learning The Game’. Evan knows a good song when he hears it, as ‘Come On Feel The Lemonheads’ certainly proved.
“Ultimately, ‘Come On Feel The Lemonheads’ has an effortless pop sensibility to it.” The Melody Maker cooed back in 93. Can’t argue with that.
Celebrating 30 years since its release, Come On Feel is set for release on 19th May on Fire Records. Featuring new artwork, approved by Evan Dando, this special deluxe edition includes two extra discs of material straight from The Lemonheads archives.
‘Come On Feel (30th Anniversary Deluxe Edition)’ is out 19th May. Available On Ltd Deluxe ‘Bookback’ 2LP With New Liner Notes, Red & Yellow Gatefold 2LP, ‘scratch n sniff’ strawberry gatefold 2LP, Deluxe ‘bookback’ 2CD and more.