About The Dandy Warhols
From their alternative psych beginnings in the mid-'90s to their brief pop-funk dabblings a decade later, American indie quartet the Dandy Warhols never shied away from experimentation or getting a little weird. Formed in Portland, Oregon in 1994, the band initially invited comparisons to influences the Velvet Underground and Ride, but their cool, detached demeanors and knack for melody also provided America with an answer to Brit-pop. The Dandy Warhols were founded by Courtney Taylor (vocals, guitar), Zia McCabe (keyboards), Peter Holmstrom (guitar), and Eric Hedford (drums), and signed on with the independent label Tim/Kerr shortly after their formation. In 1995, the Dandies released their debut, Dandy's Rule OK?, and while other rock bands may be a bit hesitant to spell out their influences, the Dandy Warhols decided to openly advertise it, as the album contained such song titles as "Lou Weed" and "Ride."
Capitol signed the group the same year, but the Dandies' new label rejected a second album they submitted (claiming it didn't have any "hits"). Disappointed but undeterred, the Dandies reunited once more with the producer of their debut album, Tony Lash, and came up with Dandy Warhols Come Down, issued in 1997. While the album didn't exactly establish the group as a household name, it did prove to be an underground fave, especially in Europe, where the band became the toast of the critics and enjoyed more substantial commercial success. The single "Not If You Were the Last Junkie on Earth" received modest attention, for which a promo video was filmed by renowned celebrity photographer David LaChapelle. As the Dandy Warhols' popularity began to increase, Hedford left the band to take up DJ'ing in Portland, and Taylor's cousin Brent DeBoer stepped in to play drums. In 2000, the group issued its third full-length, Thirteen Tales from Urban Bohemia. "Bohemian Like You" was a hit in the U.K. and on American college radio, going on to become one of their most iconic songs. Two summers later, founding member Peter Holmstrom married his longtime girlfriend and took her maiden name of Loew. Taylor also got a name change when he opted to go by Courtney Taylor-Taylor after an interviewer misinterpreted the pronunciation.
Within months, Taylor-Taylor, Loew, McCabe, and DeBoer were back in the studio for a fourth album. Welcome to the Monkey House (2003), a tribute to Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.'s book of short stories, featured collaborations with Nile Rodgers, Duran Duran's Nick Rhodes, and Evan Dando. The Dandy Warhols were also personally asked by David Bowie to be the opening act for his fall 2003 A Reality tour. That album spawned another hit for the band, the synth-disco jam "We Used to Be Friends." Though the Dandies were relatively quiet during 2004, they remained prominent thanks to the fascinating documentary Dig!, which chronicled the love-hate relationship between the Dandy Warhols and the Brian Jonestown Massacre. The group returned with new music in 2005, when the uneven Odditorium or Warlords of Mars arrived that fall. Three years later, the Dandies released their sixth album, the return-to-form Earth to the Dandy Warhols, in both digital and physical formats on their own Beat the World label; the album also featured collaborations with Mark Knopfler and the Heartbreakers' Mike Campbell.
In 2009, the band decided to release a reworking of Monkey House titled The Dandy Warhols Are Sound, which, according to the Dandies, presented their original vision of the 2003 album. Big changes for the Dandies arrived in 2010, as they split with Capitol Records and released a greatest-hits collection from that era, which included a new track, "This Is the Tide," the first Dandy Warhols song featuring DeBoer on vocals. They continued their maturation in sound with their ninth album, 2012's This Machine. In 2013, they rang in the 13th anniversary of their breakout third album, Thirteen Tales from Urban Bohemia, by reissuing a deluxe version of the LP and heading out on the road to perform the album live. The tour resulted in the band's first-ever live album, Thirteen Tales from Urban Bohemia Live at the Wonder.
A second live recording, Live at the X-Ray Cafe, was released by Voodoo Doughnut for Record Store Day in 2016. The EP captured their eighth gig ever from 1994. That same year, the Dandy Warhols' growth continued on their ninth studio album, the patient and pastoral Distortland. ~ Greg Prato & Neil Z. Yeung
- Portland, OR