Home > Interviews > The Dandy Warhols

 

 

Part 1

Part 2

 

BB: Which of your albums do you feel the most connected to?
Courtney: Right now, the new one, and that's
generally the case, you know? It's called "Odditorium or Warlords of Mars."
BB: Any others?
Courtney: Yeah. The great "Come Down," one of our first records. "The Dandy Warhols Come Down," is a really special record that's pretty phenomenal.

BB: What can you tell me about the DiG documentary?
Courtney: Okay, yeah, DiG is, like, a fictional movie made from real film. The timeline wasnít accurate. Itís like seven years of us, and eleven months of the Brian Jonestown Massacre. So, I mean, itís like, yeah they were jealous when we got signed, and acted like little baby dickheads and whatever, but weíve been friends for the 5, 6 years since then, again, and the 3 years before that. Ondi Timoner needed to make a film. She needs to make her career as a filmmaker. So, she did what she needed to do. And I was disappointed that the film was not about art or music Ė it was about crazy Anton hitting people, basically, when it comes down to it. But you know, Ondi needed to do her thing. And Anton and I didnít go into the editing room and work with her on it, she was left alone to do it. And so, he and I bitch a lot about how much we feel like we got sold out by the thing, but, you know, what the fuck? We didnít make it, you know?


PLAYING OUT

BB: Do you prefer the studio or playing out?
Courtney: Well, you get to switch off. When I get tired of the studio, itís just incredible to go play a bunch of shows. And after the first few, you donít get nervous or anything beforehand. Itís all gone, youíre just in this state of music where youíre on tour, you donít really care about anything else. Youíve got that hour-and-a-half, two hours, nearly every night, and that is your life. Iíll spend the rest of the day sleeping if I want to, I donít really care, Iíve seen all these towns. And if Iím not gonna be there for a week hanging out, then whatís the use of anything, you know, I just sleep, hang out, read, get a little exercise, stretch. And eat. And t
hen, okay, letís do it again, you know? Letís see what we got tonight Ė get in there, get inside the music and just make this thing happen. So itísÖ when you do it, itís just transcendent; itís the best thing you can imagine.

BB: What do you think makes a good show?
Courtney: The sound, the mix. Us having a mix that we can control that we can really knuckle under. I mean, itís like, youíre creating your own wave to surf, you have to have a delicate balance, but you are riding this giant tidal wave of sound thatís almost out of control, but you can sort of control the way you sit on top of it. For me, itís singing. I think everybody should sing every day. Everybody should sing a little bit every day. Everyone would be a lot happier, a lot.

BB: As you look back over the years of all the shows youíve done, what comes to mind as one of your best shows so far?
Courtney:
CBGB's.  And Vancouver, B.C., in November.  And Amsterdam around the same time. We put on a Tsunami benefit show in Portland earlier this year, and that was maybe the single greatest gig of my entire life. And that was the mix, itís really the sound, and everything. That one I just, I could sing, I could really, it was effortless. My voice wasnít getting lost in the mix, and then it wasnít so loud that it made me uncomfortable to hear it back that loud in front of the mix, it just sat in perfectly.
BB: Nice.
Courtney: It was effortless, and it gave so much, it gave far more back than I had, was putting energy into it, the whole thing was working. The whole was euphoric, andÖ and, so much greater than the sum of its parts.

BB: Of all the people that youíve opened for and shared the stage with over the years, who was the coolest to meet?
Courtney: Well, Bowie.
BB: I would think.
Courtney: Iím the only person to ever walk on Bowieís stage and sing with him besides Lou Reed. That was a fucking amazing thing.
BB: What was that like?
Courtney: Pretty great, cause we had just played, so I was pretty comfortable on the stage. We watched his gig, and then near the end, our band came on and he and I sang White Light White Heat. And all of our, both of our bands, are just piled in like a fucking zoo of musicians, just banging on congas and jumping around, it was really fun. Super intense rock too. Like, White Light White Heat. Bowie had sent me an email saying, or actually we were at Tony Viscontiís studio, and Bowie said, ďOh we should play a song together.Ē And so, then he emailed me right before the gig, a week before or so, when I was still at home, and he said, ďWhat song should we do?Ē And Iíd been giving it a lot of thought, and I was at a friendís restaurant and heard his old, old, old cover of White Light White Heat. So, Iím going, what do we do, a Beatles song? Do we do one of my songs, do we do one of his songs? You know, like what the fuck? And then I heard it, and I was like, thatís it. So I sent him an email back. Four words. White Light, White Heat.
BB: Nice.
Courtney: And it was like, perfect, done. And we rocked it. And he doesnít use actual monitors on stage, he has the in-ear monitors, you know, the littleÖ So he was going, ďmumble mumble mumble mumble.Ē And the whole crowd just went ape-shit! And he looks over at me and kind of smiles, and I donít know if he remembered that I didnít have in-ear monitors, I was just going raw, you know? So later he told me what he said was, ďonly one other person has ever gotten on my stage with me during my gig,Ē and it was in this same room, The Royal Festival Hall in London, and it was thirty years ago almost to the day, Ďcause in the 70ís Lou Reed coming over to England. And it was like the same week, it was almost the same day, 30 years almost to the same day. And I chose the same song without even knowing that, that Bowie chose to sing with Lou Reed.
BB: Seriously?
Courtney: Yeah. David Bowieís only had two people sing, and they both did the same song? You know, the whole thing was really strange.
BB: Wow.
Courtney: Fucking cool.
BB: That is a great story.
Courtney: Thanks, yeah, I love it.


IN CLOSING

BB: How would you compare Boston to some of the other cities youíve played in?
Courtney: Boston is one of these cities that is not like any other city. Itís a weird city. Whatís it like? Itís like Wolver-Hampton or something, you know, it feels and looks like an English working kind of town, like a northern town in England, but then itís giant and itís American. Itís really unique, itís not like any other city at all. And the people, I canít tell, we kind of tend to attract the same type of people everywhere no matter what they speak. Whether itís in Greece, we kind of get the lovely, maybe kind of feel-like-theyíre-a-little-cleverer-than-other-people, but, we donít get the real stuck-up smarty-pants type, chip-on-their-shoulder, groovies. We definitely donít get that, I donít think. Maybe a little. No we donít. I think we just get really lovely kind of outsider types.

BB: Yeah. What do you hope people will get out of your music?
Courtney: Confidence. To sort of understand that how things they feel, that maybe they think are weird, arenít that weird, you know? Other people feel them. I feel them, my band feels them. Thatís why these songs sound this way. Talked about these things. I mean, particularly the small and awful, awful feelings, thatís basically the way I write from, is just, the darkest shit in myself, and then I just try to deal with it, and music is sort of the hopeful side of the darkest part of myself.

BB: What advice would you have for other, well, aspiring local musicians in Boston that might be reading this?
Courtney: Only make music for yourself, youíre not so weird that no one else will like it. Youíre Right. Thatís what music is. Music is you being Right. The minute youíre swayed by the opinions of others, youíre wrong, and you should find another job.
BB: Thanks, Courtney. That was fantastic.
Courtney: Thanks, man. Later.

 

 

To learn more about The Dandy Warhols,

please visit their website at http://www.dandywarhols.com

 

*Pictures courtesy of Ray Gordon

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