The Lemon Twigs have backed The Zombies and played with Todd Rundgren: they also drive each other crazy

The Lemon Twigs group shot
(Image credit: Captured Tracks)

Child actors-turned-gifted multi-instrumentalists, Long Island brothers Brian and Michael D’Addario formed The Lemon Twigs in their mid-teens. Flamboyantly dressed purveyors of Baroque pop, power-pop and glam, they swap duties across guitars, drums, lead vocals and more, and Todd Rundgren, Justin Hawkins and My Chemical Romance’s Gerard Way are among their fans. 

Two albums on from Go To School, their concept album about a chimp raised as a human, Brian says their new album Everything Harmony is “darker, much more true to life”.


The Darkness’s Justin Hawkins has declared his liking of Lemon Twigs on his YouTube channel. Did you see that? 

I did. It was cool and kinda weird that such an early song of ours [2016’s As Long As We’re Together] resonated with him, because, to me, what we do now is much easier to get into. 

Justin seemed very taken with the pink satin bomber jacket Michael wore in that track’s video. 

[Laughs]. Yeah, the stylist for that was this amazing woman called Shirley Kurata, who has since been nominated for Academy Awards, I believe. But these days we mostly just do our own styling.

The new track In My Head demonstrates your flair for perfect power-pop. Any sixties or seventies power-pop recommendations?

We both love stuff like Starting Over by Raspberries, plus The Nerves and the Flaming Groovies. 

I Don’t Belong To Me sounds like it might have been influenced by your session work for Natalie Mering, aka Weyes Blood, on her album Titanic Rising.

To me it’s more influenced by [American songwriter/composer] Arthur Russell or the Beach Boys. When that 2019 Arthur Russell compilation Iowa Dream came out, we got super into that. He had a totally unique melodic sense.

Have skills that you and Michael learned as child actors across Broadway, TV and film been useful in your music career? 

Definitely. Especially when we were just starting out. We’re very comfortable in front of an audience. 

You played with The Zombies’ singer Colin Blunstone at the SXSW festival in Austin, Texas recently. Fun? 

Yeah. We were already driving to SXSW when we got asked if we’d like to back him. As soon as we got to our hotel I took the Wurlitzer up to my room to learn the organ solo for She’s Not There – I wasn’t going to try and busk that! Colin’s voice is still great.

You also played on Todd Rundgren’s latest album Space Force. Who else would you like to collaborate with? 

It would be really cool to do something with Sparks. They’re so consistent, so creative all the time. I’d be fascinated to see how Ron and Russell write together and what their process is. 

Brothers in rock – for example Oasis and The Black Crowes – isn’t always pretty. How do you and Michael make sure you don’t drive each other crazy? 

We do drive each other crazy, but we tend to vent in the moment and get it over with. There’s a great understanding between us musically, though. 

Everything Harmony is out now via Captured Tracks Records

Julian Marszalek

Julian Marszalek is the former Reviews Editor of The Blues Magazine. He has written about music for Music365, Yahoo! Music, The Quietus, The Guardian, NME and Shindig! among many others. As the Deputy Online News Editor at Xfm he revealed exclusively that Nick Cave’s second novel was on the way. During his two-decade career, he’s interviewed the likes of Keith Richards, Jimmy Page and Ozzy Osbourne, and has been ranted at by John Lydon. He’s also in the select group of music journalists to have actually got on with Lou Reed. Marszalek taught music journalism at Middlesex University and co-ran the genre-fluid Stow Festival in Walthamstow for six years.