Q&A with The Dandy Warhols’ Peter Holmstrom

Guitarist Peter Holmstrom

Q&A with The Dandy Warhols’ Peter Holmstrom

The Dandy Warhols have been alternative mainstays for nearly two decades, but the Portland-based band is still going strong.

Having released their eighth studio album in 2012, This Machine, the Dandys continue to blend several different genres, incorporating synth pop, straightforward rock, psychedelic drone and shoegaze into their catalog over the years.

Their latest effort attempts to peel back those layers and go in a more guitar-driven direction, bordering on the grundgy side of the tracks.

Midway through their recent tour, Fender News caught up with one of the ones responsible for those multitude of sounds, guitarist Peter Holmstrom.

FN: What’s your take on the new album?

PH: For us, it’s a little more stripped-down.  We tried to do a non-keyboard-y record.  We’ve always had keys because our bass typically comes from our keyboard.  That kind of evolved with this record. 

On top of that, it’s a very Northwest-sounding record.  I think it captures that vibe that you associate with the Northwest.

FN: How have audiences been receiving the new material?

PH: Pretty good, so far.   We’ve had a number of shows that we played before the record came out, and you did see the people just kind of standing there stunned.  It’s like they don’t know what’s going on, but I understand that they’re listening.

Now that the record is out, the songs do get a reaction, so that’s been a good thing.

FN: You seem to use a variety of gear, including two Telecasters for your live show. What can you share about your Teles?

PH: The Deluxe is a ’73 and the Thinline is a ’72.  They’ve both been modified.  The Thinline is kind of creamsicle-looking. I don’t think that’s an original finish, but I like it. 

Somebody had taken out one of the humbuckers, so I had to put that back. I put Bigsbys on both of them, too. And, I have them both tuned to open G, a la Keith Richards. I can’t leave well enough alone, apparently.

FN: Was seeing ‘Keef’ and his iconic Tele one of the reasons you got into playing guitar?

PH: I had a number of guitar influences.  When I went to go buy my first real guitar, I ended up with a Gibson SG.  That was because I went to Chelsea second-hand guitars in New York, and in the window, there was an SG and a Telecaster.  I basically went “eenie-meenie-miney-mo” and ended up with the SG.

Years later, when I had enough money, I stumbled across the Thinline in a store in Portland, and it really stood out with that orange sunburst and all.

Catch The Dandy Warhols as they tour in support of This Machine this summer.  For more information, visit the band’s official website.  

Singer Courtney Taylor-Taylor



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