When the Dandy Warhols burst on to the Portland music scene in the early ‘90s, some saw the group as saviors, heralding the second coming of rock ‘n’ roll.
Then, amidst problems with its major label (Capitol Records), disappointing record sales and a variety of other problems that were popularly chronicled in the music documentary Dig!, the band reached a crossroads. Fortunately success overseas gave the Dandys a second shot at stardom, and now eight studio albums and one drummer later the group is currently touring behind the release of its ninth record This Machine (read the Underground’s review of the album here), which hit stores in April.
The Underground recently had the chance to catch up Dandy Warhols frontman Courtney Taylor-Taylor via e-mail on the eve of his group’s appearance at the Royale Nightclub in Boston, and asked him his thoughts on the new album, playing new songs live and how he feels about working with filmmakers. Here’s what Taylor-Taylor had to say:
Underground: First off, the Dandy Warhols new album This Machine was just released in April. What has it been like to tour behind this latest record?
Courtney Taylor-Taylor: It’s been great. Interesting that’s there's a “new band” vibe going on but with far bigger crowds because of our catalogue. Our audience is a strangely wide spread, little kids to old hippies and everything in between.
What has the crowd reaction to the new material been like?
Pretty thrilling to start a new song and have that shrill “WHOOO” go up from the audience when you expect blank stares. This has been the smoothest integration of a new record that we’ve yet had.
What did you notice the first time you played one of the news songs for an audience?
Objectivity is the most important element and the way we maintained some of that was by not staying in the studio for more than a few days in a row. We also had Tchad Blake mix this and since we’ve had him mix two other records we didn’t need to stand over him while he mixed.
How would you describe your current sound?
A four piece rock band.
How has your music evolved?
It’s less like a four octopus rock band. We are still playing a number of instruments each but just less on this record.
In 2011, the band “rearranged and performed” the theme music to the popular television series MythBusters. Also, in the past the song “We Used to Be Friends” was used as the theme song to the show Veronica Mars. What led to the Dandy Warhols involvement in these projects, and how does the group feel about exposing popular music to audiences through the medium of television?
Filmmakers love us. Always have. Bruce Labruce used “Ride” in his film Hustler White and since then we have had a deep love affair with all film from blockbusters to tampon commercials. If we respect what you do you can use our music to amplify your emotional impact. Just don’t fuck it up.
Watch the official video for new song “Sad Vacation” by The Dandy Warhols here:
How would you characterize your role in today’s popular music scene?
I have no clue.
What is some advice you would like to share with other aspiring artists and musicians?
Don’t do any sound or anything that is considered currently “cool.” You will last longer.
What about some words of warning?
Do not allow other people to make a film of you without you having the final say on the edit.
Finally, what might fans expect from your show at the Royale Nightclub in Boston, Mass. on June 1?
Beautiful music. Thick euphoric atmosphere with a deep swinging groove.
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