The Lemonheads (or) It's a Shame About Ray

February 25, 2012 1 comment Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article

Pump Up The Volume's Paul Thomas Chapman writes aboutThe Lemonheads, It's a Shame About Ray.. Check them out Saturday Night February 25th at Jack Rabbit's

Everyone has seminal moments in life, and I would tend to argue that most have seminal records or, at the very least, songs that provided the soundtrack to times of growth/change/etc. in their lives. Maybe it's the first trip you took to the dark side of the moon or the first time you noticed that you were surrounded by the smell of teen spirit or the first time you got pulled over by karma police in your new (at least to you) beatle; for me it was the iconic (at least to me) back cover of Evan Dando's Lemonheads' breakthrough album, "It's a Shame About Ray".

It was the fall of my 8th grade year and my buddy Jon gave me a ride to his house where my older sister, who would drive me home later, was at some sort of meeting or get together. Fortunately for me Jon was a cool cat and didn't mind being stuck with a burdensome, awkward middle schooler--which was good considering the get together was going long. On this pleasant autumn evening he introduced me to a world of music whose waters I had yet to really venture into. I'll never forget that night and those songs he played (which ranged from AC/DC--thunderstruck to Collective Soul--where the river flows to a cut from the White Man's Burden soundtrack by my [then] heroes Hootie and the Blowfish) he basically created a monster, but the truly life changing moment was seeing the back cover of that Lemonheads record. You see Jon had the rather obnoxious habit of caring poorly for his CDs so this particular [empty] case was randomly chosen to house the Cranberries' cd he was loaning me...

A few weeks later my dad's buddy was closing down his used record store--Rock 'N' Roll Heaven--in Tallahassee. I was offered to be paid in crates of LPs to help pack up and move the store. I of course accepted and proceeded to fill up said crates with an array of truly awful 70's rock (didn't really know any better at that point), but I also found one cd in the very few he had that interested me particularly the back cover that I recognized...

"It's a Shame About Ray" has, from that day forward, been one of my all-time favorite albums. It's a perfect slice of snarky/alt/pop-rock dusted with the subtle flavors of washed out reverb, borderline oppressive chorus, jangly cleans, and abrasive distortion. It's got Evan Dando at his finest aided by his best co-conspirator, the lovely and multi-talented Juliana Hatlfield...and there's even a KILLER cover of a Simon and Garfunkel tune. With classic 90's cuts like the title track, the punch-in-the-face opener "Rockin' Stroll", the gen-x loser-missed-love-requiem set to a perfect pop/punk hook that is "Confetti", and even deep cuts like "Rudderless" and the alarmingly flippant yet transparent "Drug Buddy", this record is one for the ages. And on top of everything it acted as a gateway to find other, even more, underground music.

Sunglasses or hairglasses…multi-purpose shades

Well Saturday night 2/25, I for one am going to show my appreciation for this seminal work in my life by showing up to Jack Rabbit's, where Evan and Co. will be bring the "It's a Shame About Ray" tour 2012 to our fair Jacksonville. Come hang out with me. Wear a flannel or a cardigan, maybe some Docs. Let's have a beer and enjoy a sweet moment in time and maybe even talk about some of your seminal records.

Leave some comments. Have some fun. Stir up some trouble, but don't forget to come Saturday night for one "Rockin' Stroll" through the awesome 90's!

Listen to them here:

Article by Paul Thomas Chapman