In LA for two sold-out shows at the Teragram Ballroom, two members of the Dandy Warhols—frontman Courtney Taylor-Taylor and keys/bass/vocalist Zia McCabe—chatted with High Times backstage before the gig.
The First Time
Courtney Taylor-Taylor: I was a ’70s kid, so I don’t even remember when I first smoked pot. I might have been 10 years old. Playboy magazines and black-light posters, hanging out in friends’ bedrooms, who knows when that was. Maybe I was 9… or 12—who knows?
Synergy and Sinsemilla
Zia McCabe: The band was the only thing for years. Constantly touring, packing and unpacking. There’s wonderful things about having a life in a place [Portland], but there’s also something wonderful about leaving that place from time to time, and when we get this just right, we get to appreciate both worlds. Getting along with other humans is not easy, and we aren’t even easygoing people. We have opinions, baggage, and grudges, but we also really appreciate each other and we love what we do together so much that it’s worth it. Somehow, what the four of us bring synergistically has created this project…that just keeps going and going.
CTT: Fans have flown in from all over the country and the world to follow us from LA to San Francisco and Oakland, to Portland’s Crystal Ballroom for the Cowboy Christmas. We’re playing a whole lot of new songs and if we switch out the first song, it’s gonna feel like a different set for the people following us… Right?
ZM: We’ll rehearse for an hour or so, then take a “break,” and when we get back our perspective may have changed, sometimes wildly, and it changes the way the music feels and the way we relate to each other. Same thing when we’re recording. You can get lost in the weeds, then smoke some weed and come back with a heightened sensitivity. You might be less focused, but you’re more clear on what feels right and what feels wrong. This is probably why cannabis and art go so well together. When I DJ stoned, I’m hypersensitive to what should and should not be played.
The Green Rush
ZM: Nowadays the pot industry up in Portland is like a gold rush. It’s everywhere. It’s amazing. Friends are growing it—and I might when I’m not traveling so much. It’s a great alternative to alcohol. Going to a show stoned is way better than going to a show drunk. Rather than prohibition, they should have made it culturally uncouth to be drunk. Going to a show drunk is like not even really going to a show.
CTT: I liked it when pot smoking was illegal. You’d meet in a bar for a few drinks, then go over to someone’s house to burn one. You’d listen to their music, meet their friends… That’s never really going to go away, I hope.
ZM: I’d choose cannabis over alcohol in almost every situation. I’ve seen a few “dab ’til they drool,” but it’s rare—and they won’t need to go into rehab.
ZM: We’ve been working on a new album and I have to say, I’m more excited about this one than the last three. It’s so good to be that excited about something like this after 24 years of being in this band. That’s a long relationship. It’s like music is our sex. I guess that’s an odd analogy because we get paid for our music—but you get what I mean.
All Together Now
Zia is thrilled that cannabis companies are supporting artists: “Denver’s Sacred Seed has a gorgeous shop, and they’ve paid for me and other artists to come and DJ at their events. We’ve played gigs we’d never have been able to without the support of the pot industry.”
This feature has been published in High Times magazine. Subscribe right here.