Ben Deily of The Lemonheads

Ben Deily is an American musician and songwriter, most famous as one of the founders, writers and lead singers (along with Evan Dando) of the Boston-based alternative rock band The Lemonheads.

After leaving the Lemonheads to complete his degree in English & American Literature, Ben graduated cum laude from Harvard University in 1994. Since then he has worked in the advertising industry—as a copywriter and as an Associate Creative Director–while living in Boston, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Portland, Maine. Deily’s work has won several Clio Awards, Addy Awards, inclusion in the Communication Arts Advertising Annual, and other advertising industry honors.

According to the Boston Phoenix Deily presently lives and works in the Boston area, where he and his wife Lisa Deily frequently perform with their current band, Varsity Drag.

Deily’s band Varsity Drag has performed with The Lemonheads, sharing a bill with them at New York City’s Bowery Ballroom in June, 2009.

At the 2010 South by Southwest music festival in Austin, Texas, Deily joined Dando on stage for an acoustic performance of several of their early Lemonheads songs.


Varsity Drag

2006 for crying out loud (CD, colored 10″ vinyl with bonus track)
2009 rock & roll is such a hassle: varsity drag live in Europe (CD and digital)
2009 night owls (CD and digital)
2009 live owls: varsity drag live on WMFO (live ‘official’ bootleg, digital)[6]
2010 “white cat in a snowstorm” single (digital)

as Ben Deily

2006 all these years gone by: selected songs, 1986-2006 (limited edition double CD)

About The Lemonheads

The Lemonheads are an American rock band first formed in 1986 by Ben Deily, Evan Dando and Jesse Peretz. Dando has remained the band’s only constant member.

Since its formation, recording and touring lineups of the band have included co-founders Deily and Peretz, John Strohm (Blake Babies), Doug Trachten, Corey Loog Brennan, Byron Hoag, Ben Daughtry, Juliana Hatfield (Blake Babies), Nic Dalton (Godstar, Sneeze, The Plunderers), Dave Ryan, Patrick “Murph” Murphy (Dinosaur Jr), Bill Gibson (Eastern Dark), Mark ‘Budola’ Newman, Kenny Lyon, Vess Ruhtenberg, Devon Ashley, Karl Alvarez and Bill Stevenson (Descendents), P. David Hazel and various others.

After their initial punk-influenced releases and tours as an independent/”college rock” band in the late ’80s, the Lemonheads’ popularity with a mass audience grew in 1992 with the major label album It’s a Shame about Ray, which was produced, engineered, and mixed by The Robb Brothers (Bruce Robb, Dee, and Joe). This was followed by a cover of Simon and Garfunkel’s “Mrs. Robinson”, which eventually became one of the band’s most successful singles. The Lemonheads were active until 1997 before going on hiatus, but reformed with a new lineup in 2005 and released The Lemonheads the following year. The band released its latest album, Varshons, in June 2009.

August 21, 2012, in was announced that Juliana Hatfield would rejoin The Lemonheads for a late year tour supporting The Psychedelic Furs.

On September 17, 2012 Ryan Adams tweeted that he would be playing drums on a new ‘punker sounding’ Lemonheads album as well as producing it. He also announced that Evan Dando would be joined on the record by Juliana Hatfield and, for the first time since 1989’s Lick, co-founder and original co-songwriter Ben Deily.

Hate Your Friends (1987)
Creator (1988)
Lick (1989)
Lovey (1990)
It’s a Shame About Ray (1992)
Come on Feel the Lemonheads (1993)
Car Button Cloth (1996)
The Lemonheads (2006)
Varshons (2009)

Related post: Ryan Adams Producing and Drumming on New Lemonheads Album

Juliana Hatfield – “How to Walk Away” Album 2008

45 yr-old Juliana Hatfield

When the book is finally written, you’d figure there wouldn’t be much to say about Juliana Hatfield. Except the book was written, by Hatfield herself– a memoir, called When I Grow Up– and she has plenty to say. Factor in the detailed and thorough dissections of her songs Hatfield’s been posting on her website under the heading “An Arm and a Leg” and you might be convinced she (both with the Blake Babies and solo) is every bit as important as Boston scene peers, pioneers, and predecessors Mission of Burma, Galaxie 500 and the Pixies, let alone welterweights the Lemonheads.

Don’t be. Hatfield has released some fine music but really little more than that. Yet for a couple of years there, she loomed larger than some might have predicted, certainly given the modest impact of the Blake Babies. Hatfield’s gift has always been an ability to connect with the seemingly disconnected, the losers, loners, and dreamers that never had a scene of their own. That these disparate souls eventually coalesced under the alt-rock umbrella was of course out of Hatfield’s control, but for a moment there she did suddenly seem in tune with the rest of the world.

That was then, and this is now, and once again Hatfield has been relegated to the sidelines. The difference is that now she seems comfortable and at ease with her place, successful enough to make a living but not so much fame as to be a distraction, and that left-of-center poise has ported over to her latest disc, How to Walk Away. Produced by Ivy’s Andy Chase, it’s a defiantly adult record, never pretending to be something it’s not and often deceptively tougher than its jangle-pop exterior lets on.

Hatfield’s called this album very autobiographical, and in so far as she can be trusted, the singer’s obviously been burned and has forgone the balm in favor of pain. Admittedly, Hatfield’s naïf act was always a little disingenuous. Here she comes across honestly wounded and resentful. In “The Fact Remains”, lies flood a home like levees breaking. In “This Lonely Love”, she approaches the final chorus with the ghostly whisper of “I’m alone.” In “Shining On”, Hatfield tries to forget “all the mistakes, disasters and words that should never have been spoken.”

Still, she doesn’t try too hard. Lies, loneliness, and recrimination are the name of this How to Walk Away game. “He used to look in my eyes and talk to me, but now we just have sex and watch TV,” she recalls in “My Baby…”, and if there were still any question how “he” has left Hatfield feeling, there are nasty couplets like the “Law of Nature” simile “Flies are feeding on someone’s blood/ Isn’t it kind of just like love?” or the backhanded, backtracking diss in “Just Lust” of “I never said I can’t live without you, baby/ I just said you look good tonight.”

That sharp words like these are generally paired with bright melodies and strummy guitars may be one of pop’s oldest tricks, but Hatfield applies it well (certainly better than she applies a cameo from the Psychedelic Furs’ Richard Butler on “This Lonely Love”). Yet if Hatfield is as hurt as she seems, if she’s in pain, it would have been a welcome change had she, even once, let some of that lingering anger out in the music as well as the lyrics. While it obviously takes someone strong to keep their cool and composure despite all evidence to the contrary, even the most pointed songs here, like “Now I’m Gone” or “So Alone”, betray little of Hatfield’s punkier roots, mostly sticking closely instead to safe singer-songwriter territory (think: Suzanne Vega or fellow Boston scene vet Aimee Mann). Songs this bitter demand catharsis, but nestled in its pop cocoon, that side of Hatfield’s story instead gets stifled by the soft bomb approach when what you really want is for the singer, once and for all, to explode in rage and break something.

Juliana Hatfield
How to Walk Away
Ye Olde; 2008
September 24, 2008

Related post: Ryan Adams Producing and Drumming on New Lemonheads Album

Evan Dando and Juliana Hatfield of The Lemonheads reunite in Brooklyn

Old pals and ’90s “bubble-grunge” alums Evan Dando and Juliana Hatfield took the stage at the Bell House, performing acoustic versions of their songs (in our opinion, that’s how they sound best). The pair mined vintage Lemonheads material in the barely-lit space and the crowd swooned.

Photographer: Paul Wagtouicz
Jan 24 2011

Related post: Ryan Adams Producing and Drumming on New Lemonheads Album