The Dandy Warhols
Live @ London Astoria
December 14, 2008
Questionnaire & Photography: Steve Bateman

Every track seems like a hallucination of great pop hooks and melodies from The Byrds to The Stones and Nirvana.” THE GUARDIAN

“A melange of rock, pop, psychedelia and harmonies with the sheen of clever songwriting.” NME

“Insidiously catchy, eccentric and altogether dandy.” HEAT

Unbelievably, with 7 studio albums in their back catalogue, The Dandy Warhols have been delivering their unique brand of upbeat, skewed, woozy and hip art rock for 15 years – enjoying cult, commercial and critical acclaim along the way!

Whilst at the same time, always succeeding on their own terms and retaining their underground penchant for reinvention, experimentation, spontaneity, versatility and twisting conventions with surprises at every turn. Thus ensuring that their name, thanks also in part to their appearance alongside the Brian Jonestown Massacre in the infamous and decadent music documentary DiG! (which won the 2004 Sundance Grand Jury Prize), has been firmly etched into pop consciousness.

Now free from Capitol Records and operating completely independently through their own label, Beat The World Records, interestingly, in the band’s hometown of Portland, Oregon, a quarter city block even houses their very own recording studio – a creative hub and musical stove known as The Odditorium. Which was “fashioned after Andy Warhol's Factory” and provides Courtney Taylor-Taylor (vocals / guitar), Zia McCabe (keyboards), Peter Holmström (guitar) and Brent De Boer (drums), with the ideal spot to immerse themselves in music, video, art, design, live performances and partying, as and when they choose to. In turn, yielding those marvellous songs that so many of us love!

Songs that have effortlessly weathered the passing of time / fashions and are littered with particles of garage rock ‘n’ roll, smatterings of pop, scraps of stoner shoegaze, locomotive riffs, nagging hooks, gripping / brazen vocals, dark droning grooves, narcotic ambience, tongue-in-cheek humour, wry sardonic wit, hazy chilled-out rhythms, lilting country, fragments of funk and blues, slacker druggy hedonism, trippy far out nonchalance, shreds of warm vintage cool and outer space jams.

And whose audacious charm, eccentricity, contagious eclectic styles + cornucopia of influences, were once sagaciously described as being able to “burrow into the deepest folds of your brain, swerving from heroin to bubblegum.” Because not only do The Dandy Warhols’ songs spill out of them, celebrating and subverting guitar music in the process, but as one journalist so eloquently put it, “The elegantly wasted group dance between genres, taking the ghosts of the music they love and bringing them into their world!”

After travelling up to the historic and tragically soon-to-be demolished London Astoria, where I witnessed the band’s staggering 26 song set – from the opening note to the last chord – a great final gig to see there! That night’s hottest ticket in town, even saw Minnesoter and the rarely performed Dandy Warhols TV Theme Song being played at the request of die-hard fans down the front, with Courtney later joking about overrunning the venue’s curfew, "We are so gonna get into big trouble you guys!”

Although I was lucky enough to have a photo pass for this show, sadly, a face-to-face interview wasn’t possible on the day, but Zia very kindly answered a Questionnaire for me upon the group’s return to US soil. But in the immortal words of one of the quartet’s biggest hits, please come back to the UK very soon Dandy’s, “Cause I like you, yeah I like you and I'm feeling so Bohemian Like You”…

Lucy: Your band have been quite quiet for the last few months. Are you looking forward to playing gigs again?
Katie Jane Garside: I think I give very obtuse ans

1.If you could write the perfect headline for an article about The Dandy Warhols, what would it be?
“The Dandy Warhols: What it's like to be in THE COOLEST BAND IN THE WORLD!”

2.Has the group surpassed your expectations, and what have been some of the standout moments in your career so far?
“Of course, we surpass my expectations every year! We have always kept our goals reachable, as in sell out a local venue, tour the West Coast, get a record deal, go overseas etc. We've been pluggin' away and over the last 15 years had some amazing rock ‘n’ roll experiences; Opening for Bowie, The Stones and Tom Petty to name a few. Earning gold and platinum status in several countries for record sales also felt pretty dang good. But for me, the real standout moments are those perfect shows that only happen once or twice per tour, when everyone agrees (band, audience, crew etc.) that the night was magic. I am so happy to still be touring and having those nights, those moments.”

3.In terms of songwriting, Björk shares The Beatles’ idea, that “If you don’t remember a lyric or a melody, it probably wasn’t worth writing down in the first place.” How do you feel about this?
“I can't remember things for shit – if I have a good idea, I have to write it down. Björk and The Beatles must have good memories. Write it down just in case, it sucks to forget a gem like the right words in the right order. Damn.”

4.Of all your songs to date, which are you most proud of and which do you think are the most overlooked?
“I don't have time to look over our discography right now, but I've always been really
proud of I Am A Scientist and always thought Solid would have made a great single.”

5.A new book entitled, ‘The Empty Page: Fiction inspired by Sonic Youth’, was recently published and features “short stories by authors whose initial sparks came from Sonic Youth song titles.” Would you ever like to see a selection of your song titles treated in the same manner, and if so, are there any specific writers who you would like to see take up the challenge?
“Oh hell yes, that would be awesome! I love sci-fi, so I would go with the science fiction writer, Richard K. Morgan (same guy that wrote our most recent bio).”

6.The next instalment of Radio 1 DJ Zane Lowe’s ‘Masterpieces’ was recently aired in the UK, whereby Zane “plays out four albums that he and his crew think altered the musical landscape at the time of their release.” But if the decision was yours, which four albums would you play?
“Um, I can only think of one at the moment, Suicide's first album… Oh wait, Nirvana's first album too. Duh.”

7.Do you think the days of album releases being an ‘event’ are over, and growing up, was there ever a record that you just couldn’t wait to buy and listen to?
“Well it's certainly becoming less of an 'event'. I couldn't wait for Guns N’ Roses – Appetite For Destruction to come out!”

8.Many music magazines now feature a guest columnist discussing a topic of their choice, but if you were asked to contribute an article on a subject that interests you, what would you write about?
“I'm not sure if you mean music related or otherwise. Music related: I would openly beg Korg to come up with a usable modern version of the MS-20 (not that rinky-dink, computer version they came up with). Non-Music: I would want to write about legalising marijuana!”

9.To date, what’s the strangest rumour or untruth that you’ve heard about The Dandy Warhols?

“Shoot, I can't think of anything good. I mean they were always drug related right? Big drug crazed shenanigans was usually the topic favoured when it comes to rumours and untruths about The Dandy Warhols.”

10.You’ve made some of my favourite promo videos – but to date, which one has been the most fun to make and are there any video directors, actors or actresses who you would like to work with in the future?
“I really enjoyed filming the Ride video – I learned to ride a motorcycle that day. Bohemian Like You was also really fun, because it was all of our friends and we got drunk in our favourite bar. Oh yeah, and I loved getting to ride a horse in the Get Off video. As far as cameos go, I would love to have Crispin Glover or Steve Buscemi in a video and how about Drew Barrymore? Hmmm…”

11.You’ve now toured all over the world – what do you most enjoy about other countries, and what do you most miss about the USA?

“To tell you the truth, besides being homesick in general, there is nothing I miss about the USA when I'm abroad (oh wait, I do miss the readily available Mexican food). I just love seeing all the different places and cultures, the buildings, the food, the countryside’s… Travelling is such an awesome privilege!!!”

12.If the Hard Rock Cafe asked The Dandy Warhols to donate a piece of musical memorabilia, what would you give to them?

“Well, I already donated my broken tambourine to a super fan who was getting ready for a bone marrow transplant (he's recovering now), so I'm not sure what I would donate. I guess I could donate my tambouring before it breaks, throw in my harmonica and shakers? That would make a cute display above one of those booths.”

13.What’s the biggest lesson that your career has taught you?
“Have fun no matter what. This may all be over tomorrow.”

14.NME TV recently screened ‘The Top 10 Bands You Need To See Before You Die’ – with the Top 3 being: 1) Muse, 2) Kings Of Leon, 3) Oasis. But who would be in your Top 3?

“Seriously? That's who they put? I would put…
1) The Flaming Lips, 2) Radiohead, 3) Dolly Parton.”

15.Lastly, chips or cream buns?
“French Fries, Chips, Pommes Frites… love 'em!”

A very special thanks to Zia, to The Dandy Warhols’ Management Nicole + Lee, and to Alex + Tasha @ Scruffy Bird, for all of their time and help.

“Summertime, if I was getting paid
For getting drunk and getting laid
I’d grab a phone, call you up and say
Quit your job cause I got it made
Anytime, baby let’s go, everyday should be a holiday”

wers to questions...It's never about looking forward to it. Actually maybe I should change the
script, maybe we are looeir musicm the 3rd album?