NEW YORK, N.Y. — Nearly 20 years after leaving cult band The Lemonheads to return to college and “try to become a grown up,” co-founder and certified grown up Ben Deily has come full circle: his new band Varsity Drag makes their New York City debut this Thursday at the Bowery Ballroom, sharing the bill with old friend Evan Dando and The Lemonheads.
“I’m really happy this is finally happening,” said Deily. “Ever since stepping back a bit into music, I’ve been hoping that Evan and I would be able to get our paths to cross – or at least near-miss onstage. It’s a great way to finally reach New York with Varsity Drag and even better that it’s with Evan.”
The Lemonheads are currently on tour in support of their new album “Varshons,” an ambitious and eclectic album of covers selected by Dando and producer/indie music legend Gibby Haines (B*tthole Surfers) and featuring guest vocals from surprising luminaries as Dando friends Liv Tyler and Kate Moss.
“I’d have come down anyway to hear Evan do the stuff off Varshons, which is a fantastic record,” adds Deily. “Getting to be a part of the onstage action, well, that’s just gravy.”
“More than anything else, I’m looking forward to playing my newest songs for Evan and finding out what he thinks. After 27 years, you can really get a sense of someone’s musical taste and judgment…and Evan’s is solidly in my top three.” Deily laughs. “I mean, well, obviously.” (And no, he’s not revealing the other two.)
About Varsity Drag: Deily’s new band performs music that has been described as “luscious, beautifully abrasive, powerful pop” and “pop-punk for grown-ups.” The power-trio consists of Deily, long-time collaborator Joshua Pickering and self-taught bass player Lisa Marie (who just happens to be Deily’s wife). They are promoting a live album recorded during their recent European tour, “Rock & Roll Is Such a Hassle: Varsity Drag Live in Europe” due for release on July 13th through the U.K.’s BossTuneage label. The album features, along with new songs, a generous smattering of Deily’s old Lemonheads standbys.
“Most of those songs hadn’t been heard or played in decades,” explains Deily. “When we hit Europe, there was what you might call some real ‘pent-up demand’ for my old catalog…now they’re an important part of our set.”
“I’m looking forward to getting to play those tunes again for Evan, who helped bring them into existence in the first place.”
Varsity Drag has an all-new studio album (a follow-up to their 2006 debut, “for crying out loud”) scheduled for release in October, coinciding with a tour of the U.K. “All in all, this is a really exciting time for us,” concludes Deily.
Thursday June 25, 2009, 8 p.m.
with The LEMONHEADS
The Bowery Ballroom
6 Delancey St
New York, New York 10002.
For more information, images, interview or CD requests, please contact 8 Sparks Entertainment Marketing: Rachel Weingarten at 646.371.3054 or Rachel@8sparks.com.
“File under no nonsense, luscious, beautifully abrasive, powerful pop with a capital P. 5 out of 5.” — Sean McGhee, Punk/Oi in the U.K.
“This is pop-punk for grown-ups, an album written and performed by one of the finest craftsmen of the genre…Ben Deily has been one of pop music’s best-kept secrets for far too long. Start crying his name out loud.” — Hot Cuss.
“Ben Deily and his troupe have crafted…completely bulletproof tunes perfect for summertime driving, or summertime leaping around in your bedroom like a teenager.” — Hecklerspray.
All trademarks and service marks are the property of the respective parties. Photo credit: Josh Pickering. Send2Press(R) is the originating wire service for this story, Copr. 2009.