Mojo magazine recently came up with a list of fifty best punk songs ever and “Second Chance” by The Lemonheads from their first album Hate Your Friends was among them. What’s interesting about that song is that it wasn’t written by Evan Dando, but Ben Deily. I always thought that on first three Lemonheads albums it was Ben who wrote more intelligent and more comprehensive songs compared to Dando’s work. Lemonheads saw their big international breakthrough with a cover of Susanne Vega’s song “Luka.” This single and MTV video came out in between their second album Creator and third album Lick. Deily was on Lick and again his songs were my favorite on that record: “7 Powers” and “Anyway.” But a strange thing happened, all text from that time that I remember were centered around Evan Dando’s persona, and all I knew about Ben was that it’s a different voice than Dando and his name was on the record sleeve.
I am not sure what happened, but Ben left the band after Lick. Apparently, Dando and him didn’t have a fight, but the outcome was horrible for Ben. Dando continued with Lemonheads, having their heyday with “It’s A Shame About Ray” and keeping reissuing old records without paying a cent to Ben. I tracked down Ben at one point on Internet where it was said that he put together another band called The Pods up in Boston. But that was all I found about them. I never saw their records on sale, not even on Internet. No news about them on or on Deily, no Internet sites. It seemed like Deily disappeared.
But, surprise, just yesterday my friend, also a Ben Deily aficionado, sent me a link to a relatively new Ben Deily site: www.bendeily.com. It was great to see Ben alive and kicking. He has a new band Varsity Drag and according to the tunes he posted to the site, band is really good and Ben’s songwriting didn’t suffer through all these years. Ben is trying to keep up the atmosphere on the site with many jokes, and most of the time they work, so browsing the site is great fun. He posted up some rare photos, including those from Lemonheads’ early days. He also mentions that he had met up with Dando a year ago when they both set down with their guitars and played some of their old stuff. Both of them remembered all chords. Wish I was a fly on the wall.