Broke-Ass Band Interview: The Dandy Warhols’ Peter HolmstrÃ¶m
Never as a tween listening to “Not If You Were The Last Junkie On Earth” in San Diego, CA could I have imagined that I would implore Peter HolmstrÃ¶m of the Dandy Warhols to give a “shout out” to anything or anyone. And yet, here we are. I’m glad to know, though, that the tongue-in-cheek “cooler than thou” vibe that delighted me through the years is still alive and kicking today. Aside from the fact that I’ve confirmed that The Dandy Warhols are much cooler than I’ll ever be, you should also know that they’re playing The Regency Ballroom in San Francisco on December 11th, and that they have a very interesting project called Breathe Easy that for some reason took me longer than a normal human person to understand. Peter deserves a big thank you for trying to explain it to me like three times. Oh, and you should definitely check out Pete International Airport, Peter’s side project that will surely please Dandys fans eager for some new tunes.
AG: Alright, so you guys are touring around with The Capitol Years album. Did you want to speak more about that? I guess what it’s like to tour with sort of a best-of album versus a new album?
PH: Well, for us it doesn’t really make that much of a difference because we’ve always kind of toured, played a greatest hits package, I suppose. Yeah, so this was actually really easy, there was no new songs, really to learn except for one, and we could really focus on what we really do best. Yeah, it’s been a blast so far, I’m sure it will continue to be.
AG: So, I know that you guys have some dates coming up in Seattle, San Diego, and Las Vegas, and I know that you guys were just in New York earlier this month in November. Did you guys have any dates for San Francisco?
PH: Yeah, we’re playing San Francisco too, like the day after LA.
AG: Day after LA, when is that?
PH: Um, the 11th of December, I think.
AG: Ok, cool. Yeah, so I write for a blog– I’m based in New York, but, the founder is based in San Francisco and it’s sort of a bunch of writers from San Francisco and New York, and we write about how to live cheaply in both of those cities. So, obviously I know you guys were in New York earlier this month and you guys have that date coming up in San Francisco next month, do you want to talk about some of your favorite cheap bars in San Francisco and New York?
PH: I have no idea, I actually can’t help you with that one. In New York, I tend to'”I actually haven’t spent enough time there to know of anyplace to eat or drink or anything. We got stuck, 'œstuck', at the Ace Hotel in New York last time, and that was not cheap.
AG: Yeah [laughs].
PH: But it was certainly great. Like, downtown on the ground floor, it was amazing, but not cheap, no.
AG: Anything in San Francisco that you might, off the top of your head, think of?
PH: No. Except, wait, Mission Burritos [ed. note: I couldn’t find a place with this name anywhere in San Francisco on the internet, so if any of you SF heads can help me out with this one']. Yeah, in the past we used to go to Mission Burritos and that was all we ate for the whole weekend [laughs].
AG: Yeah, and then I noticed that you guys have a date coming up in San Diego too, where I’m actually originally from, at The Belly Up. Any places there that you might wanna give a 'œshout out' to, I guess?
PH: Oh, any taco joint.
AG: Yeah, totally.
PH: I don’t have any places in particular. It’s one of those things where I never spend long enough anywhere to actually have any places that I normally go to or anything. I don’t know, maybe I’ll check out your blog and see all these places [laughs].
AG: Totally [laughs]. So, I’ve heard about a collaborative work that you guys were working on or have worked on a couple of years ago, or have started working on called Breathe Easy, which, I think, benefits conservation projects. Was that already released? Or, can you kind of speak more about that?
PH: I believe there’s a couple of episodes released, and I think you can find them through our website. Just the little Breathe Easy Icon and click on it. But, what it is is we have musicians that are touring through Portland come into our studio and play some tracks and we film it and then 2 days, a week later, a month later, another band will come through and play tracks on a previous band’s tracks. That way, you can get these really interesting collaborations between J Mascis and The Black Angels, or the Kooks and Vietnam and, I don’t know, The Raveonettes or whoever it is. We’ve had a bunch of really, really great people come through.
AG: Are you familiar with'”are they, like original songs or are they covers, or–?
PH: Yeah, it’s all original, people are just making stuff up.
AG: Oh, ok, so they’re kind of coming in and completing one song all together'”is that it? Or are there different tracks?
PH: Not even completing, that’s never the goal [laughs].
PH: At a certain point, we start editing and trying to complete things out of what has been laid down. But, it is definitely [laughs], it’s not about a complete thing. Nobody except us has that pressure, it’s more just like have fun putting tracks down and you know, just putting something cool down.
AG: Cool. So, they just kind of come in and play and you guys kind of piece it together once you have everybody'“ is that it?
PH: Yeah, pretty much.
AG: That sounds fun. What do you like to do when you’re not playing music and touring?
PH: Um, let’s see, I don’t know, I'˜ve got a bunch of other little kind of creative art projects that I dabble in. Sort of some graphic design and stuff'”I don’t know, I kind of have to be making something in order to be truly happy.
AG: So, you’re kind of interested in graphic design mostly? Or as one of the many things you do?
PH: That’s one of the many things I dabble in. I’ve done stuff for my side project and a couple of things, a couple of t-shirt ideas for the Dandys and for some of our friends’ bands.
AG: Do you still have The Rebel Drone? Is that the side project that you were referring to, or something else?
PH: No, I was referring to Pete International Airport, which is my project. Rebel Drones was Matt Hollywood, and I was just playing along, playing with him and a couple of other guys. That’s kind of fallen apart now that Matt is off in Berlin with Anton recording another Brian Jonestown record.
AG: Ok. Is there anybody you’re listening to right now or really excited about music-wise that you want to talk about?
PH: Um, let’s see, I really like Jason [Simon] from Dead Meadow’s solo record that he just put out. I think it’s really amazing, and then Hopewell, who we toured, or was our support band for part of our tour. They’ve been a favorite'”a new kind of favorite for the last year, year and a half, and yeah, those guys Black Angels, Black Rebel, all our friends’ bands.
AG: Awesome, cool. Anything you wanted to add? That was my last question, so if there’s anything else you want to chat about or anything else?
PH: Not off the top of my head. After five interviews, I’m a little talked out [laughs].
AG: Well, thanks so much. We’ll definitely look out for you in San Francisco after LA, and thanks so much!
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