Messing With Lemonheads' Song A No No

Photographer/producer Peter Simon just thought he was doing Evan Dando a favor by adding a "harmonica and a little tinkle bell" to an old Lemonheads' song that is being rereleased on an upcoming compilation album.

But pop songstress Carly Simon's kid brother knows now he probably should have left well enough alone. Dando certainly thinks so.

Upon hearing the track, "Deep Bottom Cove," a barely two-minute "ditty" (as Simon puts it), which will appear on Simon's Vineyard Sound Vol. 3 collection, Lemonheads management said Dando was "extremely surprised to hear a mysterious harmonica and percussion added to his song."

Although Simon said most people he played the revamped track for "thought it was an improvement," Dando's people were not as pleased and threatened legal action to have the track removed from the compilation, which will be available on July 15.

As part of a deal worked out between the two sides, only the first 5,000 copies will include the tainted Lemonheads' track.

"I gambled and I guess I lost," said Simon, about his decision to add some extra music to what was originally the b-side to the Lemonheads' UK single "It's About Time."

"It's just something I did on my own," Simon added, claiming that he didn't have enough time to wait for Dando to return from a tour of Japan, so he went ahead and added the additional music.

The 18-track compilation, which features songs by residents of the Massachusetts vacation destination, Martha's Vineyard, as well as tunes about the quaint New England island, contains contributions from local resident Dando, as well as Simon's older sister, Carly Simon ("Rainin'"), Richie Havens ("Secret of Life," a James Taylor cover) and Toots and the Maytals ("Back to the Island").

While a number of less known local acts also contributed to the collection, it was Dando's song that Simon apparently thought needed a little something more. And though he's added instruments to songs on the two previous compilations without a problem, he said, this time he went too far.

"Evan Dando and his people were resentful that I took it upon myself to add the harmonica and a little tinkle bell," Simon said, "and in retrospect, it probably would have been better to either not use it or use it as is. It was pretty presumptuous of me, but Evan was nice enough to let us use the track anyway on the first 5,000 copies of the record."

Dando's management confirmed that no legal action will be taken, but that the track will be dropped from the compilation after the initial 5,000-copy run. The previous two compilations have sold between 10-15,000 copies each, according to Simon.

Twenty percent of the proceeds from the album go to the Martha's Vineyard Preservation Trust, Simon said. The organization purchases old buildings on the island and restores them for public use.