Long before their brief — but deserved — ascension to the peaks of ‘90s Alternative Nation, the Lemonheads were just another bunch of underground indie/punk kids, releasing a trio of albums on Boston label Taang! Records in the late ‘80s. Originally comprised of Evan Dando, Ben Deily (who shared songwriting and vocal duties), and Jesse Peretz, the band cycled through personal fallouts and personnel changes (including stints from the Blake Babies’ Juliana Hatfield and John P. Strohm; Dando is the band’s lone continuous member) before signing to Atlantic, broadening their sonic palette to include jangle rock and Gram Parsons-style country rock and breaking through with the 1992 classic, It’s A Shame About Ray. Meanwhile, the band’s popular cover of Simon and Garfunkel’s “Mrs. Robinson”, initially released in ‘92 as a single commemorating the 25th anniversary and VHS release of The Graduate, but later appended to Ray, further piqued interest in the band, and photogenic frontman Dando soon found himself on numerous magazine covers and dating Hollywood starlets. Two more well-received albums followed while Dando came to terms with fame and addiction — 1993’s Come On Feel the Lemonheads and 1996’s Car Button Cloth — but sustained success eluded the band. As ‘90s alt-rock’s popularity waned at the end of the millennium, the band went dormant, eventually returning in 2006 with an eponymous album (with members of the Descendents and featuring contributions from Dinosaur Jr’s J Mascis) and a 2009 covers album, Varshons. Despite the occasional rumblings of activity, as of 2016, no new Lemonheads album has been announced.
As for the other founding members, Deily presently works in the advertising industry, but remains active in the music scene with his band Varsity Drag. Peretz found success in Hollywood, directing (among other programs) the popular cable television shows Girls and Nurse Jackie.
(by Stephen Haag)
Published on September 13, 2016