Dean Wareham: My Firsts - Dean Wareham on His First Kiss, First Hospital Visit, First Job, and Early Musical Experiences | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Dean Wareham: My Firsts

Dean Wareham on His First Kiss, First Hospital Visit, First Job, and Early Musical Experiences

Nov 12, 2014 Dean Wareham Bookmark and Share

My Firsts is our email interview series where we ask musicians to tell us about their first life experiences, be it early childhood ones (first word, first concert, etc.) or their first tastes of being a musician (first band, first tour, etc.).

For this My Firsts we talk to Dean Wareham. Born in New Zealand in 1963, his family relocated to Australia before settling in New York City in 1977 (when the punk scene was still going strong). In 1987, after attending Harvard University, Wareham formed Galaxie 500 with fellow Harvard alumni Damon Krukowski and Naomi Yang. After Galaxie 500’s breakup in 1991 Wareham formed Luna, who recorded seven albums and called it a day in 2005. Wareham has also recorded three albums with his wife Britta Philips as Dean and Britta. His self-titled solo album was released back in March and in 2008 he published a well-received memoir/autobiography, Black Postcards. Wareham announced in October that Luna would be reuniting in 2015 for a tour of Spain and some U.S. dates to follow.

Read on as Wareham discusses an unfortunate infant hospital stay, the first girl he kissed, being duped by a knockoff album, and serving ice cream to a ‘60s rock legend.

First time you had to go to the hospital?

At age 4 months. My parents went on a vacation, taking my older brother, but leaving me in the care of a hired nurse (it was 1963; people did stuff like that). The nurse sat me near the stove while she was boiling some hot water, which spilled over onto yours truly. I have scars on my neck, leg, foot, and I spent about a month in the hospital, with my arms strapped down so that I couldn’t scratch the skin grafts. I have no memory of any of this.

First person you kissed?

At age 8 or 9, Wendy Little, who lived in the house across the street. We kissed in her parent’s garage and pulled down our pants

First movie you saw in the movie theater?

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, which scared the shit out of me, but I love the film still, so many great songs, the incomparable Dick Van Dyke.

First TV show you were obsessed with?

I watched Lost in Space every afternoon, what a depressing show that was.

First record your parents played for you?

“If You Could Read My Mind” by Gordon Lightfoot.

First album you bought?

I bought what I thought was the Best Songs of Neil Diamond. But alas even though Neil’s face was on the cover, the album was Neil Diamond songs covered by some vocal group. That was common in the ‘70sknock-off albums, designed to cash in on someone else’s success.

First favorite band?

Gary Glitter and the Glitter Band.

First concert you went to?

I attended a free Leo Sayer show in Central Park in the summer of 1977, does that count? The first show I paid to see was Richard Hell & the Voidoids, at CBGB’s. In those days they let 16-year-olds in to clubs in New York.

First job you had?

Scooping ice cream and soft-serve tofutti on the Upper West Side. I served tofutti to Ray Davies of The Kinks, that was exciting for me.

First car you owned?

‘74 Volkswagen Super-Beetle in orange

First computer?

The Apple 2C.

First book you read outside of one assigned for school?

I read everything by Enid Blytona children’s author enormously popular in England and Commonwealth countries, who wrote serial novels like The Famous Five, The Secret Seven, and The Faraway Tree. Known for almost pornographic descriptions of food.

First time you voted?

Voted for myself for 10th Grade President. I lost.

First instrument?

Vox Super-Lynx guitar.

First band you were in?

Speedy & the Castanets, formed at the end of high school, which later became Galaxie 500.

First recording device?

A Fostex 4-track cassette recorder.

First professional recording session?

In the summer of 1987 Galaxie 500 recorded some sessions at 6/8 studios at 615 Broadway (the Cable Building). We had been playing together three months at that point.

First bad review?

There was a woman at Boston Rock who hated Galaxie 500 and wrote a nasty review of our first album, but I cannot remember her name.

First interview with music journalist types?

Francis DiMenno, for The Noise, a free Boston music paper.


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December 4th 2014

This event I had the BEST life. So much has happened over the last ten years and I am so thankful that I’ve been he