13 Questions For The Dandy Warhols

The Dandy Warhols’ Courtney Taylor-Taylor answered 13 questions for Pollstar to coincide with this week’s release of the band’s first ever live album, “Thirteen Tales From Urban Bohemia Live At The Wonder.”

Released March 25 via Brooklyn indie label The End Records, the LP features live renditions of the 13 tracks on the Portland-based band’s 2000 breakthrough album, along with two bonus tunes – “Genius” (from 1995’s Dandys Rule OK) and “Pete International Airport/Boys Better” (from 1997’s …The Dandy Warhols Come Down).  

The live album was recorded last June in the neo-psychedelic/power pop act’s hometown at The Wonder Ballroom during the band’s 13th anniversary tour of Thirteen Tales From Urban Bohemia. Marking the group’s third studio album, Thirteen Tales includes one of The Dandy Warhols’ best known songs – “Bohemian Like You.”

We played pen pals with Taylor-Taylor this past week and the frontman replied to our queries via email, talking about Portland, doughnuts, the answer to life, nudity and the live album too. Interview below …

Photo: AP Photo / Christian Palma
Corona Capital Festival, Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, Mexico City, Mexico

Let’s start out by talking about the live album. Did the band put a new spin on any of the tunes?

Not on purpose. It’s basically impossible to play any piece of music the same twice. Well I guess it’s impossible to repeat anything actually, but I digress.  

What is your favorite track from Thirteen Tales from Urban Bohemia to play live?

“Bohemian Like You.” No, “Horse Pills.” Wait,  “Mohammed,” when we open with it, can sometimes blow the entire rest of the set away. Well, “The Gospel” is pretty sick every time now, too. We end almost every gig with “Country Leaver” so that one has a built-in joy combined with relief that can’t really be beat so …

Was there a song or two that you rarely played live before and had to relearn for the 13th anniversary tour?

Yes. “Nietzche,” “Cool Scene,”  “Big Indian,” just off the top of my head.

What can you tell our readers about the bonus tracks included on the live album?

We played a second set every night which was a brief overview of our entire history so the bonus tracks are the ones that reflect that, I think.

You recorded the live album at Portland’s Wonder Ballroom. Did the city embrace the band from the beginning?

Well, no city has one voice or opinion so “yes and no.” Being young and ABSOLUTELY CORRECT and having a big mouth about it made all the raprock/crotchrock scene definitely NOT like us. The folk and queer and psychedelic artrock stragglers loved us immediately. That amounted to about 35 people at every show. Within a year we released DANDYS RULE OK and that pretty much cleared up where music and culture were heading.

Have you seen the TV series “Portlandia” and if so, what do you think of its portrayal of life in the city?

Yeah, some of it’s a good Portland send-up but a lot of it seems like old sketch ideas that they had about other scenes or cities and they’ve just kinda threw them in because they didn’t expect the show to go on for more than a year or so.
One more Portland-related question. Tres Shannon of Voodoo Doughnuts / X-Ray Café recently wrote a new bio for the band. So, what’s your favorite doughnut at Voodoo?

Well I’m a big chocolate and mint lover so I used to get Pepto Bismol and chocolate but they had to discontinue the Pepto cuz of the FDA or something. I like crullers so I’m hoping for a Mötley Crüeller to get me back in there as a regular.

Photo: Joe Eisner
The Fillmore, San Francisco, Calif.

By the way, I love that you celebrated the 13th anniversary of Thirteen Tales. It’s so fitting. I’m guessing that you don’t suffer from triskaidekaphobia – fear of the number 13?

Well [the tour] was also in 2013 so three 13’s is 39 plus then the three is 42 which, of course, is the answer to life, the Universe and everything so we really didn’t need to fear.

Speaking of superstitions, do you have any pre-show rituals?

Yes. (Editor’s note: That’s all he said, so I’m guessing that one superstition is not to disclose the pre-show rituals.)
Since releasing Thirteen Tales from Urban Bohemia, the band put out six more albums, started its own label, landed the theme song for “Veronica Mars,” toured with David Bowie, and was the subject of a documentary. Looking back on everything you and the band have been through in the past 13-and-a-half years, what advice would you give the year 2000 version of Courtney Taylor-Taylor?

Stop drinking so much you fucking boozebag.

If you could do it all over again, would you include nudity in the video for “Bohemian Like You”?

Of course. It’s an integral part of the message. Speaking of which, have you seen the edit that Capitol Records had made? It was weak so they didn’t even release it back in 2000. Just buried it. Well a few years ago someone in the video department found it and mistakenly uploaded it to YouTube and Vimeo thinking it was “official.” The actual ACTUAL version is the one with the brown frame/rounded corners/no blurred sexual organs. Its such a fantastic little film. Won some awards, too, back then. I also did a blurred version for MTV that’s kinda the hottest.

After playing Thirteen Tales in full during last year’s tour, what’s going to be on the setlist for the upcoming U.S. tour?

Probably two or three songs from each record that change every night or get jammed out into 12 minute versions.

Have you and the band been making any plans yet to record a follow-up to your last studio album, 2012’s This Machine?

We have one single, which is nearly finished, and we will release it and work it to radio. In a few months we will have the 2nd one done and do the same. Then another, and another. When we have 10 or so of them done we will release them as a “record” … sometime in 2016.

Photo: Joe Eisner
The Fillmore, San Francisco, Calif.

Upcoming dates for The Dandy Warhols:   

April 23 – San Francisco, Calif., The Independent     
April 24 – Sacramento, Calif., Ace Of Spades     
April 25 – West Hollywood, Calif., The Roxy Theatre     
April 26 – West Hollywood, Calif., The Roxy Theatre     
April 28 – Phoenix, Ariz., The Crescent Ballroom     
April 29 – Santa Fe, N.M., Santa Fe Sol Stage & Grill     
May 1 – Houston, Texas, Fitzgerald’s     
May 2 – Austin, Texas, Carson Creek Ranch (Austin PsychFest)
May 3 – Plano, Texas, Oak Point Park Suburbia Music Festival    
May 4 – Memphis, Tenn., Tom Lee Park (Beale Street Music Festival)
May 5 – Nashville, Tenn., The Mercy Lounge     
May 6 – Louisville, Ky., Mercury Ballroom     
May 8 – St. Louis, Mo., Ready Room     
May 9 – Kansas City, Mo., The Riot Room     
May 10 – Boulder, Colo., Fox Theatre     
June 24 – Zagreb, Croatia, Jarun (INmusic Festival)
June 27 – Bundoran, Ireland, Sea Sessions Festival Grounds (Sea Sessions)     
July 14 – Bologna, Italy, Fiera District (Un Altro Festival)
July 15 – Milan, Italy, Parco Circolo Magnolia (Un Altro Festival)
Aug. 22 – Perth, Australia, Astor Theatre     
Aug. 25 – Richmond, Australia, Corner Hotel     
Aug. 26– Richmond, Australia, Corner Hotel
Aug. 29 – Newtown, Australia, Enmore Theatre     
Aug. 30 – Brisbane, Australia, The Tivoli     
Aug. 31 – Adelaide, Australia, HQ

Visit DandyWarhols.com for more information.