Courtney Taylor-Taylor had reached his Queensryche quota.

He had also grown tired of Pearl Jam clones, angst-filled rap-rockers and basically everything else that was in heavy rotation at the time.

"It was 1993," he recalled, with a bit of horror in his voice. "Can you imagine how dark and awful a time that was for music?"

So he decided to do something about it. In early 1994, Taylor-Taylor helped form the Dandy Warhols, a group that would go on to play a significant role in the American indie-rock renaissance of the late 1990s and early 2000s.

The rock group Dandy Warhols have a new CD, "Earth to Dandy Warhols." The band performed at the Warfield in San Francisco Saturday night.
The rock group Dandy Warhols have a new CD, "Earth to Dandy Warhols." The band performed at the Warfield in San Francisco Saturday night. ( Joe Kurihara Photography )

The famed Portland, Ore., troupe, best known for appearing in the documentary film "Dig!" and for delivering the smash single "Bohemian Like You," is now ready to celebrate its 20th anniversary. It'll do so with a world tour that kicks off Wednesday at The Independent in San Francisco and includes a stop April 24 at Ace of Spades in Sacramento (details: www.dandywarhols.com).

In honor of the occasion, I spent a recent afternoon with three of the band's original members -- singer-songwriter-guitarist Taylor-Taylor, guitarist Peter Holmstrom and keyboardist Zia McCabe -- at the Dandy Warhols' massive studio complex in Portland. (The group's drummer, Brent DeBoer, was not present.)

It was a wild and woolly conversation, which touched upon everything from Lil Wayne to Bob Seger to bear sausage (no joke). On occasion, the talk even turned to the band's landmark anniversary.

JH: Back in 1994, did you think the Dandy Warhols would last for 20-plus years?

Peter: When we started, I had never done anything for more than five years. So five years was as far as I ever thought it would go.

JH: What has kept you interested in the Dandy Warhols for all these years?

Peter: Music.

Courtney: Duh.

Zia: It's not like something more fun has come along to make music pale in comparison. Because if that happened, we probably wouldn't do (music). But it's the most fun thing we know how to do.

Courtney: It's not just fun. It's more like an act of desperation for me. (Laughs)

JH: But there are a lot of avenues for making music. What is appealing about collaborating with this specific group of players?

Courtney: All of my friends (in 1993) were just hard-core musicians. That meant that every single one of them had rotten taste in music. The (original) point was to make a cool band so you meet other people who are into cool music. So it was about the people and (their musical) tastes. We'd figure out how to play our instruments later.

Courtney Taylor of the Dandy Warhols and Anton Newcombe of the Brian Jonestown Massacre. For "Dig" story. HANDOUT PHOTO
Courtney Taylor of the Dandy Warhols and Anton Newcombe of the Brian Jonestown Massacre. For "Dig" story. HANDOUT PHOTO

Peter: Still working on that. (Laughs)

JH: Last year, the group celebrated the 13th anniversary of "Thirteen Tales from Urban Bohemia" by performing that highly acclaimed album in its entirety on tour. Now, you've just released a document of that tour -- the live set "Thirteen Tales from Urban Bohemia Live at The Wonder." What was it like to revisit your best-known recording?

Courtney: It was like, "Thank God, we didn't embarrass ourselves anywhere on this record."

Zia: We probably never really left (the album), I guess. So it wasn't like unearthing a record from our past.

JH: It was great to hear the band play "Big Indian" for the first time in memory. I just love that song.

Courtney: "Big Indian" is just straight up Americana. It started out as this Irish-y, Celtic-y type of thing. And it just ended up being, like, Bob Seger.

JH: So, you're saying it's your "Night Moves"?

Courtney: Yeah, it's my "Night Moves." (Laughs)

Peter: No.

JH: I've always seen "Thirteen Tales" as a kind of a concept album, one where the whole is much greater than the sum of its parts. Yet I've often wondered whether the band actually intended it as such.

Courtney: It started out as a concept. And it got about as far as we ever do on any concept -- which is not really that far.

Zia: We use concepts as jumping-off points, to give (us) enough inspiration to get excited and get going. Then we have to just respect the identity of the music after that. If it's not working, you can't go, "We said it was going to be like this, and this is how it's going to be -- even it ends up sucking."

JH: The best-known song from the album is "Bohemian Like You." Did you know immediately that you'd hit absolute gold with that one?

Courtney: I think I (have hit gold) with everything I do -- every single song.

Zia: Every song we are making (feels like) a hit.

Courtney: It's so hard to make a really good record. No, it's easy to make a really good record. It's hard to make a (expletive) amazing (expletive) perfect record.

Follow Jim Harrington at Twitter.com/jimthecritic and Facebook.com/jim.bayareanews.