The Ballad of Juliana & Evan: 90s Ultimate Power Couple


Meet Evan Dando: He’s 45 years old. He’s hot in the homeless looking guy/J.Crew model way. He’s talented. He made albums in the 90s that were folky and poppy but even the tough guys were into him. Ben Lee worshipped him. Kathleen Hanna wrote a zine dedicated to him. His band was called The Lemonheads. He’s known for doing drugs. Lots of drugs. If you’re a girl and you like hot guys who play seminal music and have cool ‘tudes, you are in love with Evan Dando.

Meet Juliana Hatfield: She’s beautiful. If the Bad News Bears were a choir instead of a little league team, Juliana would be the coach (or conductor or music teacher, whatever). She was on the cover of Sassy magazine and every wimpy emo indie boy I’ve ever known has been obsessed with her. Her music is underappreciated and fucking awesome. She wrote a book about having an eating disorder, and is (also) in love with Evan Dando.

Juliana Hatfield and Evan Dando

Exciting 90s Fact: Juliana sang backup on some of The Lemonheads most memorable songs, one of them being the classic “Drug Buddy.”

Exciting 90s Rumors: Juliana and Evan were a couple. He took her virginity, which she lost in her 20s (later to be revealed that rumor was false after she admitted to having lost it to Spike Jonze).

Exciting 2011 Facts: Juliana currently describes her relationship with Dando as “Leaving Las Vegas” [NY Magazine]. They played a show together in Brooklyn last Friday at The Bell House. I attended. It was awesome.

It wasn’t awesome because they played so well. I mean, they did, but it wasn’t just that. It was awesome because all of the aforementioned swirling rumors and facts and history came together on a stage right before mine eyes. The show started with some sexual tension between the two of them and ended with full-blown disclosure of everything you’ve ever wanted to know, or at least see in a legendary 90s indie-folk performance.

Okay, what? Gossip is gross. This wasn’t why the show was awesome but I mean, it needs to be talked about. Juliana ended the set with a song called “Evan” for crying out loud!

“Evan I’ve never been the same/since the day I hit my forehead on the doorframe/When I jumped over you and out of bed/to answer the phone in my mother’s room/there was blood/but I was all smiles/because I was in love.”

HELLO! What started as Elizabeth and I giving each other a few raised-eyebrow looks ended with us totally unable to make direct eye contact because of all the (nostalgic) intensity!

From what I gather, the story of Evan and Juliana goes like this: they met in high school and probably went out. She’s really good looking and talented but incredibly insecure. He’s good looking and talented and a drug addict. So she’s addicted to him, and he’s addicted to drugs. He probably sees her play and gets a hard on, sleeps with her, then fucks her over because she’s super insecure. He probably doesn’t know how to commit to anyone/anything because he’s an addict and emotionally immature. It’s like Dope Sick Love only better looking and quieter.

“Evan/We’re burned by the same sun/I’ve never been completely anywhere/I never could count on anyone.”

The gossipy factor wouldn’t be half as interesting if wasn’t for the fact that the two of them actually sounded fucking amazing together. Like Jonny and June amazing. No like Bob Dylan and Joan Baez amazing. Important amazing. Whatever pent up sexual chemistry exists between them is delivered through guitar chords and vocal harmonies, making for a sound orgasm in my ears. Bring on the unresolved issues! I love my musicians sprinkled with a dash of crazy-sauce.

At one point Juliana was like, “Evan’s songs are so much better than mine,” to which he then replied, “Deal with it,” and then everyone was like “No Juliana we love you!” and then things felt weird. They are the perfect example of two unhealthy humans creating one extraordinary sound. Ugly=beauty. It’s real.

“I tried to write you off/but I can’t so I’ll give up/Evan I just love you I guess.”

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