Dandy Warhols Lead Singer Tours His ONE MODEL NATION

Dandy Warhols Singer Talks Graphic Novel

 

The first time One Model Nation was released in December 2009, Courtney Taylor-Taylor didn't want to sell the graphic novel on the famous name of his band, The Dandy Warhols.

So he didn't — literally. The book was credited to " C. Allbritton Taylor ," with some media interviews omitting the connection between the neo-psychedelic group and the Image Comics release altogether.

"I just wanted it to be a comic book in the comic book world, and I didn't want a big bunch of hype," Taylor said in a phone interview with Newsarama. "Which ultimately did happen, anyway."

So Taylor is fully embracing his rock band fame with the Titan Books reissue of One Model Nation, out on Jan. 31 along with a companion album under the guise of the titular band. Directly on the cover, it states: "From The Dandy Warhols' Courtney Taylor-Taylor." According to Taylor, that decision came at the suggestion of the book's new publisher.

"Image has a different disposition all together, they're just groovy, they like to put out cool stuff," Taylor said. "Titan is a titan. They're politically savvy, marketing savvy — like a major label, and Image is like Sub Pop Records. I definitely enjoyed both."

 

The book takes place in late '70s Berlin, with fictional art-rock band One Model Nation politically persecuted due to the actions of the Red Army Faction, a real terrorist organization that prompted the "German Autumn" crisis. The second printing contains a re-illustrated prologue and epilogue, new lettering and a few changes made for clarity's sake.

"It sure was nice to have an opportunity to fix some stuff," Taylor said. "It's just so hard to make things perfect when you're the one making it, and living with it, day in and day out for years."

Taylor lived with One Model Nation for about a decade, originally conceiving the story with his friend, actor Donovan Leitch, who is credited in the book as "historian." His pride for the story is clear, though he was unsure of his ability to bring it to life.

"I have to now learn how to become 'a writer,' and not just a writer, but one of the great writers of the world," Taylor said of his original mindset. "Otherwise, why would it be worth it? I can't just be OK. Fortunately, what I found out, is that you can just stay out of the way of Jim Rugg."

Taylor pegged Rugg, the artist of One Model Nation, as a good fit based on Rugg's '70s pastiche Afrodisiac.

"[Rugg] is an absolute master of the medium," Taylor said.

Originally written as a screenplay, Taylor was swayed to crafting One Model Nation as a graphic novel partly as a result of his many friendships in the Portland-area comic book community. Madman creator Mike Allred supplies the new edition's foreword, and Taylor sent him an early version of the script to make sure he was on the right track.

"Mike Allred has the comic mind of a 13-year-old boy," Taylor said. "That guy is absolutely pure."

 

Though he calls many of today's comics "slutified" by Hollywood, Taylor grew up a major fan as a kid in the '70s, and is also a devotee to the work of folks like Allred, Matt Wagner and the Pander Brothers.

"Michael Golden stuff was my thing," Taylor said of the comics he read as a kid. "My jam, seriously, was Micronauts. Micronauts is an amazing comic book."

Despite a major media blitz for the new release of One Model Nation — with coverage from The Huffington Post, Rolling Stone and more — Taylor said he doesn't have any immediate plans for another comic book project, in part because his first one was of such a personal nature.

"It's a giant metaphor for how I've felt about being an actual, professional musician and artist and creator of things that I think are beautiful, and make me feel better about my life, and myself, and the world," Taylor said. "Then what the world does back to you is just gross.

"You just carve out your little group of people that feel and think similarly to you, and then you go on tour, and hopefully your band doesn't get so big that anyone else shows up," Taylor continues. "And that's sort of what this band is."

As lead singer, guitarist and primary songwriter of The Dandy Warhols — whose hits include ""Not If You Were the Last Junkie on Earth," "Bohemian Like You" and "We Used to Be Friends," which served as the Veronica Mars theme song — Taylor is readying a new studio album, their seventh, titled This Machine.

"We have it done," Taylor said. "I've only had it mastered like eight times now, so we've just got to pick the best one. Because sometimes you overwork your art."

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