Breaking up is hard to do

Music IndustryJerry OrbachLaurence Olivier

Unlike many of his rock 'n' roll peers, Dean Wareham doesn't wallow in misery. He'd much rather pour himself a scotch, down a couple Valium, call up some friends and throw a soiree.

As the frontman for the dreamy-and-druggy pop band Luna, Wareham has sung about seashores, penthouse apartments and Italian fashion magazines. And now, after 13 years and seven studio albums--including the latest, the sublime "Rendezvous"--the party is coming to an end; he's pulling the plug on the New York-based band..

We asked him why.

You know, had Luna kept the breakup a secret, you wouldn't have to answer the same questions in every interview over the next several months.

This is true. You know, usually you do a record and then you do interviews and there's really not that much to say about the making of an album. So for the first time I have something to say.

Any extreme reactions from fans?

We played Tokyo and I looked out after the last song and there were a couple people crying. But that's the Japanese. They're very intense.

I understand; I'm a little bummed. But it's not that big of a deal.

Exactly. I suppose the reason people get sad about these things is because it reminds them of their own mortality. I remember being sad when The Clash broke up.

Do you remember where you were?

No, but I remember thinking, "Why oh why would you break up?" Anyone who ever has been in a band knows why. It's hard to keep together. It's different when you're 41 years old. There's a reason bands are formed by people in their 20s without a care in the world.

I heard you might do some acting when this is all over.

I could -- I'm available! I've had to turn things down because of Luna. I'm not, however, going to throw myself into [acting], though it seems like it'd be a pretty easy thing to do to make some extra money.

You played a bartender on "Law and Order." Do any research for the role?

Nah, but I've hung out in plenty of bars. It was exciting to act with Jerry Orbach. I saw him in "42nd Street" when I was in high school.

I'm sure somewhere there's an actor saying the same thing about being in a rock band.

Exactly. Yeah, I've realized a big part of acting is getting out there and schmoozing and getting work.

Did you tell him?

Yeah, he seemed to like that. His advice to me -- and I think this is also Laurence Olivier's advice to the young actor -- was, "Keep out of my light." [Long pause] I think he meant it in a nice way.

Matt McGuire is the metromix music producer.Originally published Nov. 10, 2004.

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