Breakups can be tragic and severe. Sometimes the people involved part with such acrimony that nothing can persuade them to be cordial to each other, not even if their friends cast them in their new video.
“It’s about a couple of friends of ours who broke up and have not spoken to each other since then,” singer Courtney Taylor-Taylor said of the Dandy Warhols’ new single, “We Used to Be Friends.” “So I thought it was clever to put them in the video. And they still didn’t …”
“They were in separate rooms,” bassist Zia McCabe interrupted.
“They ended up sitting near each other with their new boyfriend and girlfriend, and not really talking,” Taylor-Taylor added.
Uncomfortable silences aside, the video for the single off the band’s fourth album, Welcome to the Monkey House, went according to plan. Taylor-Taylor, who directed this clip as well as most Dandy videos, described the digitally enhanced end result as “a New Romantic video, a cross between Duran Duran’s ‘Planet Earth’ and some modern glitchy technology.”
It’s no surprise that Taylor-Taylor used a Duran Duran clip as a point of reference, since two members of the ’80s poster boys lent their talents to Welcome to the Monkey House, which dropped last week. Keyboardist Nick Rhodes produced much of the album, while singer Simon LeBon contributed backing vocals to a track.
“We had heard they were big fans,” Taylor-Taylor said. “We were kind of wondering what to do with the record, because we were working with it for a year and a half almost. We just needed somebody to finish it with. So we thought it would be a good idea [to have Rhodes produce]. If nothing else, it would keep it from being electro-clash.
“So I called up Nick Rhodes, and he was like [in an effeminate falsetto], ‘Oh, Courtney … Courtney, I’ve been listening to some of your rough mixes … You’re clever … clever … more than I originally suspected. Good for youuuuu.’ ”
Rhodes helped Taylor-Taylor, McCabe, guitarist Peter Loew (formerly Holmstrom) and drummer Brent DeBoer tighten their sound by adding lots of keyboard parts, scaling back the guitars and retooling the drums (see “Duran Duran, Chic, Lemonheads Members Join Dandy Warhols’ Monkey House“ ). As compared with their previous albums, which positioned the Dandys as the premier Velvet Underground-like psychedelic band of the mid-’90s alt-rock set, Welcome to the Monkey House finds them awash in synthetic revelry — more velvet, less underground.
“The approach to this record is different, because we wanted to see if we could take the Simon and Garfunkel melodies and lay them over Dr. Dre arrangements,” Taylor-Taylor said. “So the way to reduce the size of the songs is to take out the guitars. They’re the biggest instrument on the palette; they occupy so much space. Then put in smaller sounds to do the job that the guitars do, but take up less space. Eventually some guitars made it back into the mix, but they were shorter riffs and had skinnier sounds.”
Besides being fans of the double Ds, another reason the Dandy Warhols enlisted Rhodes’ work was to bring back a lush decadence that has been sorely missing from the music scene for some time.
“Duran Duran are definitely champagne and caviar,” Taylor-Taylor said. “Their first record, [1981's Duran Duran], is perfect. It’s really sexy and dreamy and beautiful. There’s not a lot of that stuff going on.”
Dandy Warhols tour dates, according to Epic Records:
- 8/28 – Portland, OR @ Roseland Theater
- 8/30 – Seattle, WA @ Exhibition Hall at Seattle Center (Bumbershoot Festival)
- 9/2 – Boulder, CO @ Fox Theatre
- 9/4 – Minneapolis, MN @ First Avenue
- 9/6 – Chicago, IL @ Metro/Smart Bar
- 9/8 – Toronto, ON @ Opera House
- 9/9 – Montreal, QC @ Le Spectrum
- 9/10 – Boston, MA @ Paradise Rock Club
- 9/12 – Washington, DC @ 9:30 Club
- 9/13 – Philadelphia, PA @ The Trocadero
- 9/14 – New York, NY @ Bowery Ballroom
- 9/15 – New York, NY @ Bowery Ballroom
- 9/17 – Atlanta, GA @ Cotton Club
- 9/19 – Houston, TX @ Engine Room
- 9/20 – Austin, TX @ Zilker Park
- 9/21 – Dallas, TX @ Gypsy Tea Room
- 9/24 – Los Angeles, CA @ Henry Fonda Theatre