The psychedelic alternative quartet the Dandy Warhols formed in Portland, Oregon in 1994. Initially, the band 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), who 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 Dandys' new label rejected a second album they submitted (claiming it didn't have any "hits"). Disappointed but undeterred, the group 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 group 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 band's popularity began to increase, Hedford left the band to take up DJing in Portland, and Taylor's cousin Brent DeBoer stepped in to play drums. In 2000, the band issued its third full-length, Thirteen Tales from Urban Bohemia. "Bohemian Like You" was a hit in the UK 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 band was 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 Dandy Warhols 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 band, presented their original vision of the 2003 album. 2010 saw big changes for the group, as they split with Capitol Records and released a greatest-hits from that era, which included a new track, "This Is the Tide," the first Dandy's song featuring DeBoer on vocals. The Dandies continued their maturation in sound with their ninth album, 2012's This Machine. In 2013, the band rang in the 13th anniversary of their break-out 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, their growth continued on their ninth studio album, the patient and pastoral Distortland. ~ Greg Prato & Neil Z. Yeung