Often compared to the druggy psychedelic pop of the Velvet Underground, the Dandy Warhols do possess more than just a passing resemblance to Lou Reed and company at times, but elements of such modern rockers as Love and Rockets and Ride can be detected in their sound as well. Formed in Portland, OR, during 1994, the Dandy Warhols consist of members Courtney Taylor (vocals, guitar), Zia McCabe (keyboards), Peter Holmstrom (guitar), and Eric Hedford (drums), who signed on with the independent label Tim/Kerr shortly after their formation. In 1995 came the release of the quartet's debut release, Dandy's Rule OK?, and while other rock bands may be a bit hesitant to spell out their influences, the Dandy Warhols decided to openly advertise it, as the album contained such song titles as "Lou Weed" and "Ride."
Capitol Records signed the group the same year, but the Dandy's new label rejected a second album they submitted (claiming it didn't have any "hits"). Disappointed but undeterred, the group reunited once more with the producer of their debut album, Tony Lash, and came up with Dandy Warhols Come Down, issued in 1997. While the album didn't exactly establish the group as a household name, it did prove to be an underground fave (especially in Europe, where the group became the toast of the critics and enjoyed more substantial commercial success), while the single "Not If You Were the Last Junkie on Earth" received some attention, for which a promo video was filmed by renowned celebrity photographer David LaChapelle. At the height of the band's popularity, Hedford left the band to take up DJing in Portland, and Taylor's cousin Brent DeBoer stepped in to play drums. In 2000, the band issued its third full-length overall, Thirteen Tales from Urban Bohemia. "Bohemian Like You" was a hit at college radio. Two summers later, founding member Peter Holmstrom married his longtime girlfriend and took her maiden name of Loew. Taylor also got a name change when he opted to go by Courtney Taylor-Taylor after an interviewer misinterpreted the pronunciation.
Within months, Taylor-Taylor, Loew, McCabe, and DeBoer were back in the studio for a fourth album. Welcome to the Monkey House (2003), a tribute to Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.'s book of short stories, featured collaborations with Nile Rodgers, Duran Duran's Nick Rhodes, and Evan Dando. The Dandy Warhols were also personally asked by David Bowie to be the opening act for his fall 2003 A Reality tour. Though the band was relatively quiet during 2004, it remained prominent thanks to the fascinating documentary Dig!, which chronicled the love-hate relationship between the Dandy Warhols and the Brian Jonestown Massacre. The group returned with new music in 2005, when Odditorium or Warlords of Mars arrived that fall.[AMG Greg Prato]