Even after 25 years, Deily's voice and style remain remarkably similar to that of his teenage years with the Lemonheads: his hybrid of anxious punk delivery and sentimental pop prowess are as earnest and honest now as they were then. But if there's one standout track in Varsity Drag's catalog, it's 2006's "Billy Ruane." A chorus that rings out "The place just ain't the same without Billy Ruane" is now more poignant than ever.
"That song was written when I was in San Francisco, when Billy was still very much alive," Deily recalls. "I was feeling homesick for Boston and he was something emblematic about everything that was crazy and over-the-top and wonderful about the scene. As time went on, I realized it sounded like an epitaph. Then he died and the song transmuted into something else. The last time we saw Billy was a week before he died. He told us that he wanted to book us another show soon, but to be sure we didn't play that song, and gave me a big sloppy, stubbly kiss."
It'll be in the Varsity Drag setlist next Saturday at Church. "Now we can use it to celebrate him," Deily says. "We're going to play that song."
VARSITY DRAG + KENNY CHAMBERS + MARS + SATIN KITTENS | Church, 69 Kilmarnock St, Boston | July 23 @ 8 pm | $10 | 21+ | 617.236.7600
: Music Features
, Music, Ben Deily, Church, More