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Dandy Warhols - Interview

  by Olga Sladeckova

published: 17 / 8 / 2004

Dandy Warhols - Interview


The Dandy Warhols are currently one of the best known indie rock acts in the world. Singer Courtney Taylor and drummer Brent Deboer chat to Olga Sladeckova at their first show in Prague about the success of their band and the group's ten year history

The Dandy Warhols released their first album, 'Dandys' Rule OK ? ', in 1995. 4 albums and 9 years on, the band have proved themselves to bemore than “OK” and have become one of the best known musical acts all in the world. Influenced by the whole Andy Warhol Factory scene and the Velvet Underground in particular, their limitlessly imaginative music, like that of their heroes, combines raw energy with inventive tunes that once heard prove impossible to get out of your head Having made music for more than 10 years , and toured constantly, you would think there wouldn’t be many places, if any, where the band have not played. Until the 15th August, they had, however, never played Prague. Pennyblackmusic was there not only to see the Dandy Warhols' Prague debut in the the Czech Republic' capitals' Roxy Club, but also talk to the band’s singer Courtney Taylor and drummer Brent Deboer. The Dandy Warhols first formed in 1994 in Portland , Oregon. The original line-up consisted of Courtney Taylor (vocals, guitar), Zia McCabe (keyboards), Peter Holmstrom (guitar) and Eric Hedford (drums). “We all grew up in the Portland area” says Courtney when we finally get time to sit down and talk 20 minutes before the band are due on the stage. “Pete and I were friends since high school and Zia worked at a local coffee shop with some other friends of mine. "I guess the band was actually Pete's idea though" he adds, laughing. " He had just moved back from New York and thought it would be an easy way to meet some people with better taste in music than the people we were then currently drinking with.” “Yeah” Brent agrees. “They started playing around and a lot of people started going to their gigs. I was only watching it from outside for the first years but they had a real buzz about them even then.” Like Andy Warhol at his Factory studio in the 60’s and 70’s, the Dandy Warhols created a similar scene for themselves. In fact, the Warholian scene was the main inspiration for the band. “Our scene at the time definitely had a lot of similar features” says Courtney. “We liked the whole thing and the people he had around him. It’s similar in Portland where there are many very arty people that are poor and mildly famous, if you know what I mean.” The main force behind the lyrics writing in the band is Courtney. All his lyrics take their inspiration from reality. “I think when something is really on my mind and when I think about something like around 7,5 or 8 on the scale of 10 then I will write about it" he reveals. " I did write one song for a movie and that was a lot easier. The movie was called ‘Dead Rock Stars’ but it never got made.” It didn’t take long for the Warhols to become well known in the Portland area. To round it all off they came to an attention of a local record label Tim / Kerr who in 1995 released ‘Dandys' Rule OK?’. “That’s just an old mod thing” says Brent about the question mark at the end of the title. “Mods Rule OK ? Courtney considers himself to be a bit of a mod and so that’s why we put it on.” The album was greeted with a great excitement by music fans. In fact, it brought the band to the attention of a major label Capitol who then released their second album ‘The Dandy Warhols Dome Down’ in 1997. ‘The Dandy Warhols Come Down’ was Eric Hedford's last album. In spite of the band’s growing popularity he decided he wanted to take up DJi-ing in Portland. The Warhols didn’t need to look far for the best possible replacement. Courtney’s cousin Brent DeBoer was more than happy to join them. “I was watching them all that time from the beginning anyway” recollect Brents. “And when they asked me if I wanted to play with them I was like ‘Yeah! Definitely!’” Brent first appearance on the band’s recordings was on their 3rd album ‘Thirteen Tales From Urban Bohemia’ in 2000. The album was a huge success outside America. It even went gold and platinum in Europe and Australia. That was followed by ‘Welcome To The Monkey House’ in 2003 which only strengthened the Warhols position in the music business. Besides thousands of music fans, the Dandy Warhols also drew the attention of other popular musicians. Robert Smith of the Cure is known to be a fan and David Bowie asked them to be the opening band on his Reality Tour in the winter of 2003. “Bowie started going to our gigs” recollects Brent with great excitement. “And then we did a tour with him for 2 months. We also got on the stage and played ‘White Light, White Heat’ with him too! That was at the Royal Festival Hall in London.” The Warhols started this year by releasing,exclusively through their website, their fifth album – ‘The Black Album/Come On Feel The Dandy Warhols’. It is actually a double album. The first disc ‘Black Album’ consists as Courtney explains, of some very early music. “It’s the real second album actually. We wrote that after ‘Dandys' Rule OK?’ and before ‘Come Down’. It was our first attempt at an album for Capitol records, but Capitol didn’t like it and said that it was something they didn’t expect after the first record. It was a very dark and messed up record.” The name ‘The Black Album’ mirrors the band's personal circumstances at the time. “We never named it because it was never finished” admits Courtney. “It was just this unfinished, really f**ked up thing.” “I think at the time the largest rain storm was taking place in Oregon” recollects Brent. “And everybody was inside doing a lot of bad drugs and making this record that is really dark and freaky.” The second disc ‘Come On Feel The Dandy Warhols’ features several of the band's latest recordings. Tonight the Warhols are almost at the end of their tour. They look tired but happy. “This was our best tour yet” confirms Courtney. “We had the best mixer for outdoors and we were playing outside a lot at night like at 10:30 for 40 000 people. We are well rehearsed. Brent has a different approach to playing drums as well. His new approach is to hit them hard and it’s great. It’s f**king amazing! We have been just great. I don’t think it’s going to be the same indoors tonight because it will be so echoey.” “It’s our first time in Prague" continues Brent. "And the venue is tiny but really nice. Small venues can be amazing but also a nightmare and I have no idea what will happen …” In spite of feeling tired the band are thinking about their future already ,although it does includes a lot of resting. “We are looking forward to going home” admits Courtney. “I need some sleep.” He laughs. “We will go home and then finish our next record. We are going to get Dave Sardy, who mixed ‘Thirteen Tales Of Bohemia’, to do that one as well and then we will hit the road again.” When I later watch the band live at the “tiny Prague venue” (By the way the Roxy has a capacity of at least 500 people…) the first words that Courtney says are “I’ve only just woken up.” The band, however, put on a strong show, and the gig, however, turns out to everything that Brent was hoping. The next time the Warhols come to Prague they will definitely need a much bigger venue because the Dandy Warhols are very much “OK” in the Czech Republic.

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Dandy Warhols - Interview

Dandy Warhols - Interview

Dandy Warhols - Interview

Dandy Warhols - Interview

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