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Brian Jonestown Massacre – That One Band from the Movie

Posted by September 9th, 2005 No Comments »

This guy is totally fucking crazy and kind of an asshole.The Brian Jonestown Massacre
Live @ Neumos September 9
By Will Wagler

So did you see that one movie about the two bands who were going to start a music revolution? One of them was all self-destructive and the other got signed to a major label and toured the world and had hits on the radio and now owns houses and a recording studio and glory and minor fame?

At one point in the movie the main guy from the dysfunctional band actually kicks an audience member in the head. Some drunk heckler was harassing the opening act, a precious girl singing softly with her accoustic guitar. Anton Newcombe, the mainstay of The Brian Jonestown Massacre (the self-destructive band), reprimands the heckler then demands that he come forward to the edge of the stage.

“C’mere…Come here!” he says. Then when the guy gets to the front of the stage, “blam!”, he boots him in the head.

This guy is totally fucking crazy and kind of an asshole.The Brian Jonestown Massacre
Live @ Neumos September 9
By Will Wagler

So did you see that one movie about the two bands who were going to start a music revolution? One of them was all self-destructive and the other got signed to a major label and toured the world and had hits on the radio and now owns houses and a recording studio and glory and minor fame?

At one point in the movie the main guy from the dysfunctional band actually kicks an audience member in the head. Some drunk heckler was harassing the opening act, a precious girl singing softly with her accoustic guitar. Anton Newcombe, the mainstay of The Brian Jonestown Massacre (the self-destructive band), reprimands the heckler then demands that he come forward to the edge of the stage.

“C’mere…Come here!” he says. Then when the guy gets to the front of the stage, “blam!”, he boots him in the head.

It’s all there in the excellent Rockumentary DIG!, which chronicles the evolution and relationship of The Brian Jonestown Massacre and the Dandy Warhols.

Being real life and all, the guy didn’t get knocked out like he would have in the movies. Instead, he staggered backwards and then muttered in disbelief, “You kicked me in the head.”

If that’s not reason enough to go see The Brian Jonestown Massacre at Neumo’s tomorrow night, I don’t know what is. In fact, Newcombe and his band are one of the most fascinating musical spectacles of the past decade, running through like 40 different members throughout its infamous existence and once releasing four full-length albums in the same year (1996.)

Despite drugs, infighting and poor business decisions, the band has endured based on Newcombe’s talent and charismatic aura. Basically, whenever this dude speaks, you become completely captivated. He talks on a grand scale, drawing people into his music and ideas in way that’s more reminiscent of a cult leader than band leader.

Still, what good is a captivating personality and great story if the music sucks, right?

As any music fan who has seen DIG can attest to, it turns out that the Brian Jonestown Massacre’s music is as interesting and compelling as their enigmatic frontman. They make albums you’re intended “experience” as well as “listen to.” Think surreal, hallucinogenic 60s Brit Pop and you’re on the right track. Take fuzzy organs and spacey electric guitars and combine them with acoustic instruments and blend them together so majestically that it feels good even when you aren’t tripping, and you’re right on the money.

My favorite example of the Brian Jonestown Massacare’s ability to carry their listeners away on a grandiose, sweep-me-away type of musical vibe is “Geezers,” from the 2003 album And This is Our Music. On it, Newcombe perfectly summarizes the music and the experience of his band’s live show when he sings “dreaming, keep dreaming, until it’s time to go.”


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