In 1994 a groovy little band outta Portland, Oregon burst into life – they were called THE DANDY WARHOLS. There were a group of friends who ’needed music to drink to’. For the last two decades, THE DANDY WARHOLS have solidified themselves as a veteran rock act that combine a detached garage rock cool with effervescent pop melodies, creating a sound that has been described as Portland’s answer to Brit-Pop.
Jen had the chance to chat to Brent DeBoer to catch up on all their news and to check in about how he is feeling about the sad passing of David Bowie.
Hi Brent, I noticed that you are not living overseas but in Australia, the best place to live!
Yes I do.
Only a few months now until you head down here, you were last here for Splendour last year?
Yes it was the last time, that was hell of a night!
I saw you set there, that stage was awesome that day. I basically stayed there the whole day watching bands and the mud slides and fights. (both laughing) It was an amazing day!
You are quoted as saying “We love Australia! It’s part of our family, it’s part of our body.” Any other members that live in Australia?
Yeah our lighting guy , Scotty has moved here as well.
So you are touring now with your new album Distortland. you are pretty much booked up till Christmas according to facebook, are you planning any sort of holiday when everyone is over here?
Yes, It is pretty back to back. I think the others will stay here a couple of days after the tour, that will be fun. I have a guest room here so if one of them want to stay with me, I could show them the town. I haven’t heard yet so I’m not sure. We usually do hang around for a little while and take a look around and relax a little bit. We like to do that anywhere around the world after we finish the tour. It is really nice to pick a place, catch a train and go to some city that you’ve never been and enjoy it for a little while before you fly home.
What made you decide to record on an 80’s cassette recorder? I can imagine the recorder I grew up with, being a teenager in the 80’s was great. Certainly an unusual style.
Well 90% of the album was recorded in our studio called the Odditorium and was recorded with all the big fancy board with all the outboard gear and the big mic’s. When Courtney firsts writes a song he goes down into his basement and when he first has it going, he arranges the song and does a demo on his four track tape player. Then we bring in and use some of those sounds in the actual final product. Sometimes we get amazing and quirky sounds out of it. most of the sounds that you hear on the album recorded properly in our nice studio in Portland.
Talking about the 80’s, I like the Reference that Heaven is a place on Earth in Catcher in the Rye.
When you first started out back in 94 did you think that you would still be making music that people will still fork out their hard earned money to buy and to see you live?
You know we always kind of go day to day or week to week and never really knowing what’s around the corner that we will be able to afford. The only way that we can play shows is that we are confident that people will turn up because it is very expensive getting our whole band and crew to various parts of the world. You never really know when that door will shut. We have been very fortunate the two decades to be able to travel and play concerts and release album after album. Yeah I don’t know songs just keep on bubbling up and we keep recording them. And we just hit the road and we have been doing that the two decades and we have been fortunate to be able to do this as long as we have.
You are 2 years older than me, I feel like you guys were part of my 30’s when I was more into the alternative style of music than my friends. I have no regrets with my life choices (well maybe some) do you have regrets that you choose to be an artist or when you think of all the touring and the places that you have seen, people met etc make it the right decision?
No not at all! I never really chose to. I don’t think anyone else in the band chose to as well. It is one of those things. When I was 5 years old I would play, I had a little record my parents got me that I had beside my bed, and I would just spend spent rainy day after rainy day, in Portland Oregon, just playing song after song. I spend a lot of time rocking on my bed and my parents realized after a while how obsessed I was with music and recovery drum set. My dad is a musician and I think he wanted one around too.
I just latched on to that thing and I would just play for hours and I don’t ever remember learning to play the drums or anything like that. I think all those chords and melodies, the lyrics in Simon and Garfunkel songs, Dillon, that Africa song by Toto, my little six-year-old brain would just fantasize about being the world was and that music came from a place like England. I don’t think I really chose to be musician in the first place, I think music chose me. Same with the songs that I have written, and Courtney had said this as well, we don’t really seem to write them. They just seem to be beamed in and suddenly we have to document this thing that just got beamed into your skull.
We just seem to dump the thing out of our skull into a recorder. I don’t really know how to sit down and craft a song. They just kind of show up as if there existed forever.
So you two are the song writers for the band?
Courtney writes most of them, the last few albums I’ve written one or two songs. I am constantly writing, some songs I write are perfect for The Dandy Warhools and some are perfect for my band Immigrant Union, where I play the guitar in that group. Then other songs of mine they don’t seem to work with Immigrant Union all the Dandy Warhools. So I set them aside and think maybe I someday do an EP or something or do another solo record.
My fav on the album is STYGGO, I really like the sound and also the fact that it is a take off of Tommy James and the Shondells song Crimson and Clover.
I love that song. it stands for somethings you just have to get over. The song really came out nicely.
Is there a particular song on the new album that is amazing to play live?
That one is really good to play live. But I think my favorite song to play live all year has been the first song on the album “Search Party’ that is just an absolute blast to play that song live. It is a real challenge to play as well, is a bit of a different drum beat and it is driven by the Shaker so we get the percussion cranked up in our monitors and we play to that. I’m real busy with the drumbeat and I sing the harmony on every word so it is a real busy mind expanding trick to play the song live but it is so much fun.
The album finishes with The Grow Up Song, and (Courtney) state that he is too old for this shit, and that your friends are the becoming mummies and daddies, are you indicating that this is your last album?
No that was just Courtney writing a song about reminiscing with our own gang in Portland, these people have got their spouses and their children and just kinda thinking about it. Some of the lyrics are ‘Goodbye to Cigarette Smoky Cocky guy, and all night longees. I don’t think that Courtney to the end of his life, I don’t think he will stop cracking some nice wines and staying up to the sun comes up but it is harder these days with kids and everything. We still have a lot of fun, don’t get me wrong.
The Grow Up song is just about changing times.
Well that is good news!
I was looking through your facebook page and came across Courtney’s advice on how to enjoy a festival,
“Be mobile – get around and see everything. Make sure you have enough apples, bananas and water. Your spirits will dwindle if you have low blood sugar and you are dehydrated, you will be miserable.
Do you have a preference for tours or festivals to play at? Or do you enjoy both the same.
Every day even club to club, venue to venue, festival to festival, stage to stage is totally different. Every place sounds different, every roof sounds different the songs will change based on the room and the vibe room, the tempo and the velocity of the songs will change according to the environment that you are in so really every stage is it’s own little experiment within itself. We love playing at the big festivals, we prefer at festivals to play once it is dark because rock ’n’ roll is a night time dirty rock thing. It is a little bit more exposed and we have a great time. Sometimes at festivals you don’t get a sound check, it can be hit and miss for the first couple of songs. We just tackle each of them in our own special way. We like the festivals and the indoor gigs all the same really.
I took a trip down your memory Lane and watched you guys play with David Bowie playing White Light White Heat. Can you tell me how special that was. From first seeing him sing along to your songs to playing with him. (In Glastonbury in 2000, the band looked to the side of the stage during their set, and there was Bowie and his group, in their black suits, belting along. He invited the Dandies to open for him at the Meltdown Festival in London. )
When were you when you heard about his passing? Being friends with him would of made it so much harder to deal with.
Yeah it was strange, it was one of those things that you didn’t really think that the last time that I saw him, I did not think that it would be the last time. I guess that is the way it is when people die young, it just slaps you on the side of the face. We did not know that he was sick. I don’t think anyone really did.Yeah he kept that really private and so, yeah there was no way of really preparing yourself for it, I remember we were on tour and we had all landed at various airports and we all started texting each other because we opened up emails and had 50 emails and 30 text messages and we were like OMG. So we all called each other and just thought Damn. He was a good friend and he was real supportive of our whole thing, he came into the studio with us and he came into our studio and the one in New York when we were there. We worked with him a couple of times and we would see him around the world and that is not the easiest thing to do for a guy like Bowie. To head on out to a concert it is just a logistical nightmare. We were always really appreciative and he would see us afterwards. Yeah we could not believe it, he took us under his wing, on the road for a couple of months, actually on his last tour. It was a tough deal, it does not seem real. He was a heck of a dude and it was pretty amazing to call him a friend.
Definitely This year has not been a good year for Musicians passing away.
Yeah it is just bonkers isn’t it.
Yeah. Well thanks for your time Brent, I look forward to seeing you at your Melbourne gig.
Cool thanks, come up and say hi.
THE DANDY WARHOLS return to Australia thanks to www.metropolistouring.com & www.selecttouring.com.au in support of their latest album, Distortland. Distortland was first recorded in frontman, Courtney Taylor’s basement on an 80s cassette recorder with the band putting on the finishing touches in a studio. Jim Lowe – best known for his work with Taylor Swift and Beyonce – mixed the album. Courtney notes that the end result is an album that is “organized like a pop record but still has the sonic garbage still in there.” This will be Australia’s first chance to hear new material live and in living colour. Speaking to Mixdown Magazine, frontman Courtney Taylor spoke about the upcoming Australian tour, “We love Australia! It’s part of our family, it’s part of our body.”
With an impressive back catalogue of iconic hits, The Dandy’s set list is sure to not only include Distortland future classics, but also be jam packed with pure pop crowd favourites, including ’We Used To Be Friends’, ’Horse Pills’, ’Get Off’, ’Godless’, ’Everyday Should Be A Holiday’, ’Boys Better’ and of course the evergreen crowd pleaser ’Bohemian Like You’.
We’ll leave the final words to NME – “The Dandy Warhols are a lifestyle, not a performance; an intoxicating and unpredictable band”
Dandy Warhols Australian Tour October 2016
26th Oct – PERTH – Metro City
27th Oct – ADELAIDE – HQ
29th Oct – BRISBANE – Eatons Hill Hotel
30th Oct – GOLD COAST – Parkwood Tavern
3rd Nov – CANBERRA – ANU Bar
4th Nov – SYDNEY – Big Top
5th Nov – MELBOURNE – Palais Theatre
Tickets From: http://www.metropolistouring.com/thedandywarhols