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In this over-processed age of here now, gone tomorrow bands, it’s comforting to know that old school acts like The Dandy Warhols, once major label rock darlings, can continue to grow and prosper on their own terms. They’re back this summer in truly independent fashion with their own Beat the World label release. You can call it lucky album number seven, but just don’t call it a come down. Earth to… just may be The Dandy Warhols at their creative, verging-on-experimental, best.

Courtney Taylor-Taylor has never been known for cozying up to journalists or for saying what they want to hear, and frankly, we wouldn’t ever want him to go all soft on us. While tucked away inside the Dandys’ compound in foggy Portland, Taylor-Taylor took some time out to speak his mind.

How does it feel to be doing away with the corporate label business and releasing your album on your own terms (with a little help from World’s Fair of course)? Would you say digital releases are indeed the way of the near future?
Digital reshmeeses? Jeez, I don’t really know if it’s gonna stop there. A: They don’t sound that good. B: We don’t know if something smarter or better might accidentally happen between now and the much rumored day that the CD becomes extinct.

You did some great experimenting with sounds in songs like the languorous, Kubrick-ish “Musee D’Nougat,” the long-winded ending “whoozy,” yummy bit of Valerie Yum and the Morricone-style space cowboy aspect of the song “The Legend of…” And there’s no denying that the Mick Jagger rap style in “Welcome to the Third World…” is highly addictive and fun. Did you enjoy opening the songs up, delving into new styles and more electronic elements on this album?
Sure, sometimes you enjoy it, but also, you don’t know if you’re just being a five-year-old living out your geeked-out dreams, so I think there is a built-in inhibitor of really having what you’d call “fun” when you’re recording and creating personal expression knowingly, (on some levels), for public consumption or approval. There is a level of ‘fuck you if you don’t also love this’ that is very immature, but I believe necessary, in the process journey.

Does the process of writing songs, coming up with a theme and creating a new album seem easier to you now or harder from all that you’ve learned and been through with past releases?
There’s the fun part – when you hang out a lot together all day with nothing to do but work, you come up with things and then you keep them going. Sooner or later something seems plausible on the time and money levels as well as the ‘dude, wouldn’t it be amazing if…’ level.

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How has the band dynamic changed, if at all, over the past year or so?
We’ve never worked harder. I don’t know if the band’s relationships with each other have changed one iota but… we’ve never worked harder.

Will your upcoming tour for Earth to… incorporate visual elements like projections or film to add to the otherworldly theme of the new songs?
Yeah, we always seem to be collecting visual stuff/junk. Our visuals guy is one of the best in the world. We hooked up with him on the Love and Rockets tour about ten years ago. Our previous friend, who got way into doing projections and stuff for us, got burnt on hauling around 8 and 16mm projectors and the overheard projector with the food coloring and vegetable oil and whatever, so it was perfect timing.

How did you happen to get Mark Knopfler and Mike Campbell to add to “Love Song”?
I e-mailed Mark and texted Mike. We’ve played with Tom Petty a couple times so I knew Mike from then on. I just wanted Mark because his recordings were so important in my group of friends when I was around college age.

thedandywarhols.com

–Madeline Virbasius-Walsh/photos by Ray Gordon

 
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