How many dancing syringes feature in the music video to The Dandy Warhols’ 1997 single ‘Not If You Were the Last Junkie on Earth’?



“[Surprised] What?! That was an educated guess! There didn’t seem to be room for more than three and two wouldn’t have counted as a chorus line. At the time, there was nothing like that video. In 1997, the ‘80s were passé. We were a small-town band confused by the expenditure and scale of it. We decided to slap pasty white makeup on and do nothing but look like we were strung-out and remain deadpan. But it was nerve-wracking, and we were adapting to what would probably be a normal day in Hollywood.”

The video was directed by pop photographer Dave LaChapelle…

“I had broken up with my girlfriend and was super-depressed when we met David LaChapelle at the Chateau Marmont in Hollywood. He could see I wasn’t OK so invited me to stay in the hotel, saying: ‘We’re going to hang out and brainstorm until we come up with a F-ing amazing video’. So we partied in the Chateau with a lot of people from Madonna’s documentary Truth or Dare and Keanu Reeves. For me, it was depression mixed with overindulgence. And I developed a palette for 15-year-old bottles of Dom Pérignon which I still carry to this day.”

Which two bands did The Dandy Warhols play between at Glastonbury 2000?

Bush went on before us, then I have no idea because when I started walking offstage, David Bowie and his band – who had been watching us at the side – came towards us like a wave of black Gucci jackets and teeth.”

WRONG. You were sandwiched between Saint Etienne and Muse.

“I have no idea what happened that day. Hours are gone from my memory. We were invited to watch David Bowie’s headline set at the side of the stage. Zia [McCabe, Dandy Warhols’ keyboardist/bassist] started blowing bubbles over David’s stage, and somebody launched into a flaming bitch-fest at her: ‘WHAT THE HELL DO YOU THINK YOU’RE DOING?! THIS IS GOING LIVE ON TV TO MILLIONS OF PEOPLE!’. Zia put them away, then after the next song, that person frantically came up to us and went: ‘DAVID LOVES THE BUBBLES! WE NEED MORE BUBBLES!’.”

“Whenever David was in New York, he would come to our shows and he and Philip Glass owned a studio in Midtown that he’d let us use for free – that’s where we did our fourth album ‘Welcome to the Monkey House’, and we worked together with him on that. Above the telephone line, if you pulled one of Philip Glass’ platinum records to one side, the number of the Beastie Boys’ pot dealer was there – David caught us calling him one day and thought that was so cool.”

“We toured extensively with him and it was fun being friends with. He was like a wizard, but was reluctant to give advice. When we found out we were David Bowie’s favourite band, it was like god came down to me and said: ‘Courtney, I meant to tell you, you were right the whole time. All that shit you went through in high school – they were wrong and you were right’. Bowie was also great at pool. I remember him once walking into a bar with me and my friends, racking up the balls. He ran the pool table while we stood with our mouths agape!”

In an infamous scene from the documentary Dig!, can you name the contents of a package Anton Newcombe gifts you?

“Shotgun shells?”

CORRECT. Individually-wrapped shotgun shells. Will you be doing anything to mark the 20th anniversary of Dig! – which purported to follow the rivalry between The Dandy Warhols and Anton Newcombe’s Brian Jonestown Massacre – this year?

“Hopefully the 20th anniversary of Dig! will help visibility for our new record ‘Rockmaker’, but as for the movie, I don’t care one way or another. It wasn’t accurate. It ended up being a very mean and nasty affair. We were just there as a foil to the Brian Jonestown Massacre. It was a terrible situation. Other than bright moments of [Brian Jonestown Massacre member] Joel Gion being funny, it’s just straight-up negativity.”

Do you regret doing it?

Yeah, definitely. People weren’t used to being filmed back then. We were told that she [director Ondi Timoder] was manipulating the Jonestown in the same way. She would get in their van and go: ‘Hey, the Dandys are working in the studio with David Bowie now. Anything like that going on with you?’, and they would just get pissed and work themselves up to her getting the shot. There was nothing about music; she’d just try and get something angry out of us. She’d wake me after two hours sleep at noon saying: ‘We’ve got the president of Capitol Records on the phone. You’ve got to talk to him!’, as I’m about to throw up and my head hurts. But it all makes for a fun watch – I just wish it wasn’t my band in it. It was a huge turning point. It was brutal for us. It made Anton’s career though. He would not have had a career without it.”

Who covered Dandy Warhols’ ‘We Used to Be Friends’ for season four of Veronica Mars?

Chrissie Hynde.”


“When a Rock & Roll Hall of Famer covers your song, you don’t forget it!”

Name the five first names contained in song titles on your 1995 debut album ‘Dandys Rule OK’.

“OK, there’s Lou, Betty….fuck! Those are the only two I can think of!”

WRONG. Tom, Tony, Lou, Dick and Betty.

“Oh! The songs ‘Introduction by Young Tom’, ‘(Tony, This Song Is Called) Lou Weed’, ‘Grunge Betty’ and I forgot about ‘Dick’!”

At which Britpop band’s salubrious Hollywood industry party did Zia claim she once walked into completely naked with a martini glass in one hand?

“That was Supergrass’ record release party.”


“We had opened for them. Zia was not going to upstaged by someone else’s record release party! She was a hot, young, liberated indie rock chick and loved to get naked because she was super-fit and extremely cute – but it intimidated and scared off every guy who would be worth her time. That night really brought us together with our record label big wigs, because the security guards were chasing her around, and the President of Capitol Records, the head of radio of promotions, and the head of video, would block the security guards so that Zia could walk around nonchalantly chatting to people. Any time someone saw the security guards coming, another executive would block them. It was a whole show! She worked it.”

Who were the best bands to party with at the time?

The Charlatans were an awesome train-wreck [Laughs] and Joe Strummer took us to some good, weird parties. The Strokes partied hard and were up for anything at any hour, before they got to a level of success where they became more ambitions and got more guarded.”

The Dandy Warhols’ 2000 hit ‘Bohemian Like You’ played as the former UK prime minister Theresa May walked offstage of the Conservative party conference in 2011. But which band mistook it for their song?

Bobby Gillespie?”

CORRECT. An incandescent Bobby Gillespie thought the then-home-secretary walked offstage to Primal Scream’s ‘Rocks’, issuing a statement that described the Conservative/Liberal Democrat coalition government as “legalised bullies…persecuting the poor for being poor’, before realising he’d mistook ‘Rocks’ for The Dandy Warhols’ ‘Bohemian Like You’. Which is hardly a fitting choice for her either…

“But what song would you pick for Theresa May? [Laughs] [Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes] ‘(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life’?! Conservatives don’t really get music made for them; they aren’t in tune with the right kind of people.”

The Dandy Warhols appear playing ‘You Were The Last High’ as one of the titular 9 Songs played by rock bands in the director Michael Winterbottom’s 2004 movie, which was controversial for featuring real sex scenes. Can you identify any of the eight other songs?

“‘Spread Your Love Like a Fever’ by the Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and ‘Rocks’ by Primal Scream?”

WRONG. You could have had: ‘Whatever Happened to My Rock ‘N’ Roll’ (Punk Song)‘ and ‘Love Burns’ by Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Primal Scream’s ‘Movin’ on Up’, The Von Bondies’ ‘C’mom C’mon’, Elbow’s ‘Fallen Angel’, Super Furry Animals‘ ‘Slow Life’, Franz Ferdinand’s ‘Jacqueline’, or Michael Nyman’s ‘Debbie’. Did you enjoy the movie?

“Well, it’s porn and gets boring. I was friends with Michael Winterbottom who was a daring pioneer, so I went to Sundance with them and did some hard partying – once again! Those were the days! – but I never saw it the whole way through. By the end of the third reaming, you’re yawning: ‘Again?!’”

What is the reclusive musical genius lead character in your 2009 graphic novel One Model Nation called?

“Sebastian Shell.”

CORRECT. Which follows a fictional 1970s German krautrock band, who end up getting embroiled with the terriorist group Baader–Meinhof. An accompanying studio ‘greatest hits’ album by the group, ‘Totalwerks, Vol. 1 (1969–1977)’, was also released.

“Seven film companies over the years have wanted to turn it into an animated feature, but they can’t get the green light for a movie about the krautrock and terrorism of 1970s Germany [Laughs]. Keanu Reeves helped me by giving advice when I started writing it as a screenplay before I turned it into a graphic novel; he’s a very sweet guy, funny, and very commercially-world minded.”

What number did ‘Welcome to the Monkey House’ reach in the UK albums chart?


WRONG. 20. Your 2003 album featured musical and production collaborations with Duran Duran’s Nick Rhodes, Nile Rodgers, and Evan Dando.

“Man! That one clunked and bumbled along because we had a new president at Capitol who was against it, so it did really well considering everything that was thrown at us. It was bludgeoned in the press, with journalists complaining ‘the ‘80s are stupid and suck – I knew this band wasn’t cool!’ . It was the time of The Strokes, The Vines, The White Stripes, and Jet and our previous album, ‘Thirteen Tales from Urban Bohemia’, was still selling a lot, so it took time to find its way and become a classic album. We collaborated with David Bowie on ‘Scientist’ and ‘Rock Bottom’ on that record, which was fun.”

Tell us about The Dandy Warhols’ new album ‘Rockmaker’

“The start of the pandemic was a very stressful time, and there wasn’t any metal or punk-influenced music coming out that I liked. I generally don’t relate to the singers. It’s either growling ‘Grr, I’m a hairy, hairy man!’ leftovers from grunge, or whiney pop-punk that’s too slick for me. To me, punk sounds like Circle Jerks, Sex Pistols or Ramones. There’s something in the dirt in in the recording that turns me on. When you iron that out with expensive producers, it just misses, so I started this album by putting down heavy guitar riffs.”

“Originally, Zia didn’t like the direction, protesting: ‘This is just sweaty, smelly-boy rock’, but she did due-diligence and appears on every track. When she heard the mixes, she finally looked at me with this dazed expression and said: ‘Wow, I really didn’t think it could be like this!”

The album contains big-name guest stars such as Guns N’ Roses Slash playing guitar on the single ‘‘I’d Like to Help You With Your Problem’…

“I’ve bummed 300 cigarettes from that guy during my career! I asked his people about appearing on the song, and 40 minutes later, I got a text back saying ‘Slash loves the song. He wants to know what style you want’, and I replied: ‘Well, fucking Vietnam-era acid rock, dude!’. He ended up doing these amazing Guns N’ Roses ‘Don’t Cry’ riffs and it just fits the song.”

…And Pixies’ Black Francis contributes guitar to the song ‘Danzig with Myself’

“We were going for a Danzig 4 sound, which is how the title started, but then it moved towards sounding like the Pixies. I was checking in with him [Black Francis] and he happened to be in Zurich, so I hooked him and his children up with a tour of HR Giger’s house and some museums. They were stoked and months later, he said ‘If I can ever help you out…’, and that’s when I replied ‘Yes, you can actually!’ All of our guests are on there for the reason that they can do something that no one in my band can do.”

The album culminates with the epic ‘I Will Never Stop Loving You’, featuring Debbie Harry

“Debbie Harry was very difficult to get. I sang her part in the demo, and made sure it was too loud and underproduced, because like a stupid kid, I thought it would make her think: ‘They need me on this one!’. Listening to her vocal reminded me of mixing Sinéad O’Connor [on the Wolfmen’s 2009 single ‘Jackie, Is It My Birthday?]. You move all the faders down and bring the track up by itself and have her legendary voice in your ear and it feels insane.”

“I listen to this record constantly every day. I get a little buzz on, smoke some grass, and have to put the Dre Beats on, open up the page and then just let her rip!”

The verdict: 6/10

“Ugh! That’s a C!”

The Dandy Warhols new album ‘Rockmaker’ is released via Sunset Blvd. Records on March 15

The post The Dandy Warhols: “‘Dig!’ was a huge turning point. It was brutal for us” appeared first on NME.


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