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Don’t Forget the Songs-365: Mach Tres: Day 122
Fri. May 31, 2013

“We Used To Be Friends”
The Dandy Warhols

2003
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“♫ A
long time
a go/ we
used
to be
friends
♫”

“We Used To Be Friends” reminds me of my first year when I moved to Chicago. I went back to work at Tower Records in Lincoln Park, not knowing that one record store gig was the job that would eventually change my life forever. Before my life changed I was single and loving my life in the Windy City. I was estranged from this girl that I was dating in San Antonio and I remember every time I got the urge to call her, I would play this Dandy Warhols cut and “We Used To Be” would always remind me how unfriendly this girl I once longed for always treated me.
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Lead singer Courtney Taylor-Taylor claimed that “We Used To Be Friends” was based on his friend Mark explaining, “My friend Richard was living down the street with my girlfriend back in about ’93. I was over there, having a serious discussion with her when Rich comes down the hall, says “Mark’s on the phone.” […] Growing up, Mark and I were in the same grade although he was nearly a year older than I. He still is. When I was about 13 Mark would sometimes take his dad’s Audi 5000 turbo out in the middle of the night and come pick me up. We would listen to Candy-O. I wrote a song about it. Strange as it was for me then to have written a song about a dude, even stranger yet is that I wrote another song about the same dude several years later.[…] and Richard asks if I need to talk to [Mark who’s still on the phone] about anything. I say “no” and continue with the ex. Years later I realize that I haven’t heard from Mark in a dog’s age so I get hold of him and meet for dinner. During the course of the evening he tells me that he thought I was pissed at him for something way back when I declined that particular phone opportunity and so he hasn’t bothered trying to get in touch with me since. To me that was so completely bizarre, sad and idiotic that I apparently couldn’t get it out of my head for quite a while. Long enough to apparently write an entire song about it. I can honestly say were that to happen now I probably wouldn’t think twice about it. Just wouldn’t really care. Strange that it bothered me so much back then. Oh well. It’s a good song.”
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Taylor’s right, “We Used To Be” is a good song and one of my favorites. “Friends” is kind of a personal anthem of perseverance, when I felt weak wanting to crawl back to someone who mistreated me, Courtney’s clever high pitched chorus always gave me the strength to drop the phone and continue living my solitary life away from her.
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Ironically enough, later when Dandy Warhols were shooting the video for “Friends,” Taylor admitted that “We Used To Be” was also inspired by two close confidants of the band when he explained, “It’s about a couple of friends of ours who broke up and have not spoken to each other since then; so I thought it was clever to put them in the video. And they still didn’t.” M-TV reported that bassist Zia said that during the video shoot, both parties hung out in separate rooms, and according to Courtney, “They ended up sitting near each other with their new boyfriend and girlfriend, and not really talking.”
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Maybe that’s the unspoken morale of “We Used To Be Friends,” sometimes former lovers are meant to be ex’s forever estranged from our current and future lives. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with it. There’s something to be said of letting go of the past and focusing on our beautiful present. I like to believe that’s why Courtney Taylor-Taylor sung the chorus of “We Used To Be Friends” in such a mockingly brilliant high pitched way. Taylor wanted to metaphorically knock some sense into his listeners living in denial. Either way, Courtney was right; “We Used To Be Friends” is a memorable song. This Welcome to the Monkey House cut always gave me strength and I will forever be thankful for the way The Dandy’s helped guide me to the path that would eventual change my life. A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away from me, we used to be friends and that’s the way she will always remain—my Dandy Warhols memory.
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Although TV fans might remember hearing “We Used To Be Friends” on the Fox series The O.C., this Dandy Wahorls hit actually found fame as a theme song for another TV show. For those of you wondering how “We Used To Be Friends” became the theme song to TV show, Veronica Mars, Taylor explained, “The writer of the show is a fan, and it apparently it just works as lyrical content and the feel he wanted to have for the show. And it sounds kinda like that chick looks, you know? She’s got kind of a good New Wave-y haircut, and a good angular face, and she’s tomboyish but pretty and kind of a little exotic. You know, a little bit tomboyish, a little New Wave, a little bit rock, a little grungy. So, yeah, it just worked, and so he called up John, my manager, and said, “Here, I want to send this to Courtney,” and sent us the pilot episode and it was pretty fun. I mean, half the time I don’t know what the hell they’re saying. You know, it’s a barrage of clever dialogue, I’ll tell you that, with this really, really cute chick. And so we were like, “Great. Cool.“”
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