Dean & Britta

“Warhol was not afraid to bore people.” So says Dean Wareham by phone from New York. We’re talking about the hundreds of short black-and-white screen tests Andy Warhol made in his Factory during the ’60s. Most of his subjects, of course, were not bound for Hollywood stardom. But with his wife and musical partner, Britta Phillips, Wareham has made a selection from the archive, including some familiar faces (hello, Dennis Hopper), for their 13 Most Beautiful…Songs for Andy Warhol’s Screen Tests. Though, back in his old Luna days, Wareham contributed a song to I Shot Andy Warhol, he wasn’t well versed in the screen tests. “I guess I didn’t really know that much about them,” he says. “No one has seen them much. Only what we’ve all glimpsed in movies, like Bob Dylan storming out of his [test]. If you try to look for them on YouTube, they’re not there.” Indeed, it was Pittsburgh’s Andy Warhol Museum, which controls the films, that approached Dean & Britta with the idea of scoring them. Wareham recalls, “A difficult part of the process was narrowing it down. I guess he shot 400 or 500 of them. I just went down to the museum a couple of times and started looking through the tapes.” Among those who made the final 13 are “Nico, Edie Sedgwick, Ingrid Superstar…a lot of those people are dead. Of the 13 we scored, five of them have died too early. I can’t help thinking, standing on stage and playing these songs and looking at their faces, it’s sad.” But the new music isn’t funereal or biographical, he adds: “I don’t want to sum their lives up in a pop song. We’re just trying to bring out whatever mood is there. Sometimes a pop song works for that. Of the 13, eight have lyrics and five are just instrumental. We think of it as a rock show.” [NOTE: THIS EVENT IS NOW SOLD OUT.] BRIAN MILLER

Fri., Feb. 6, 7 p.m., 2009

 
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