Excerpt of One Model Nation, a graphic novel by Courtney Taylor-Taylor of the Dandy Warhols

Screen Shot 2012-02-13 At 11.00.36 AmDonovan Leitch and I were together during the holidays of the year 2000, I think it was. We had been discussing the Hip-Hop movie trend where musicians were having shoot-outs with cops and/or other Hip-Hoppers, drug dealers, gangs and whatnot. We thought it would be interesting to invent a story where this was happening to a rock band. As the night progressed we discovered that we had both been into the Krautrock/German art scene as teenagers, so it evolved into a German electronic band. Well, one that dresses like Laibach. We discussed what scenes would be "awesome" and "rad" and that maybe they should all dress alike and be incredibly resourceful computer and electronic geeks. Then at some point during the night we dropped it and that was that.

Several months later Donno had run across the Baader-Meinhof gang on the internet and began sending me pictures and stories of their exploits of the late '60s and the '70s. It got us interested in the story again so we began putting together an outline, employing the classic Greek "hero's journey" as our narrative structure. Pretty much every story you've read, or movie and TV show you've seen, uses this structure because it just makes sense to the human condition. We began plugging in events from German history as well as inventing drug lords and rival bands and developing the world in which our band would play out their thing.

I was touring with my band at the time so it gave me an opportunity to be in Germany and interview and research those people who were living back then and in that actual world. While in Hamburg (I think), I met with Karl Bartos from Kraftwerk, and he was the one who suggested that the Germany in which the story played out should be fictionalized into a hyper-reality and that it would help make it more interesting than it really was.

We had very nearly finished our first draft when we began pitching it to writers and filmmakers whom we knew and without really being told so, we began to realize that it pretty much sucked. One very successful director/producer whom I was friends with hasn't called me back since. Really.

Well, Donno became a husband and a father and so had absolutely no time for anything else and the whole thing got dropped. It was a couple of years later that I started it up from scratch again in the wee hours of my regularly jet-lagged mornings. I incorporated stories from my own band's experiences and based the four members of One Model Nation on real people with whom I was very familiar and the idiosyncrasies which make them odd and interesting. It took me a few years but eventually I had a full blown tale which fit nicely into a classic structure and was apparently exciting and satisfyingly epic to the people whom I gave it to read.

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© 2009-2012 Courtney Taylor-Taylor.