Saturday, October 16, 2004


So, a reader mailed me a copy of Ondi Timoner's documentary, 'DiG!', on two bands that suck, Brian Jonestown Massacre, and The Dandy Warhols. It's an entertaining ride as various assholes fail, and some other asshole sink into pyrrhic success. Having never heard the music of the BJM before, mostly because I assumed (correctly, might I add), they sucked, and partly out of laziness. What I didn't know they is that they are sitar wielding dumbfucks, even dumber and more self absorbed than most of the dumb, self absorbed assholes that form the rich pastiche of 'Rock History'. As for The Dandy Warhols, I never listened to them, either. They have the kind of name that instantly informs you that the band is worthless and doesn't even require a listen to confirm it. With the exception of a unfortunately brief shot of utility girl Zia McCabe's amazing bare breasts bouncing during some live performance in some LA shithole, everything about them was horrible. Their music is the typical post-alternative disposable godawful bullshit, with just a touch of 'edginess' - enough to get their greatest success, providing the jingle to a cell phone company in a European commercial. So, the doc follows massively ugly, untalented frontman of a shitbag band, Courtney Taylor and his relationship with monomaniacal, self absorbed, attention whore, drama queen Anton Newcombe, the marginally talented leader of the BJM - at one point mentoring, then rivaling, then baby brothering the other group. Anton is a violent, drug addled pinhead with a diva attitude and very little record sales. He pisses off everyone around him (Taylor included) who inexplicably still insist is one of the most talented people to have ever been spawned, despite no empirical evidence being offered the course of the film. We get acid casualty Greg Shaw calling him a prophet, some A&R (job title alone is a credibility deep-sixer to be sure) twit singing his praises to high heaven, a four-alarm weirdo from something called 'Psychic TV' mentioning that all he ever used to listen to is the music of Newcombe, and a manager (who looks alarmingly like Larry David's fictional manager) sagely informing us that Newcombe is on his way into the cannon of Harrison, McCartny, and Dylan... If that's the case, how come I can't remember a single melody, lyric, or snippet of his music from the film? Oh, some Editor from Paper magazine says he's good? Well, holy shit! I must be wrong! Oh, someone from TVT records (excuse me while I snicker) digs him? Fuck a duck! Another jerk-off mentions how the deep, pervading influence of the Brian Jonestown Massacre has influenced the very foundations of contemporary music and/or spawned the music of Beechwood Sparks, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, the Warlocks, and more. Wow, quite the legacy, a bunch of lousy, faux drone, 60's influenced bands that are getting their limited time in the sun as part of what will surely be a brief trend. This isn't quite as impressive as the footage in the wonderful Ramones doc 'End Of The Century' with the Ramones planting the seeds for Bad Brains, The Cramps, Black Flag, and others. The conclusion of the film, along with the dramatization of Newcombe having to spend a night in jail after a (admittedly extremely impressive) kick to the head of an audience member, (something you certainly deserve for attending one of his shows) drums up the whole music crazy unsung genius thing to the hilt. It just begs the question: how come nobody has made the definitive Roky Erickson doc? Also treated as tragic, is that Newcombe won't be allowed to see his son. Hey, call me a cynic (I don't even like kids and tend to get an erection when I see one in pain) but it seems like a perfectly rational decision on someone's part. Part of the problem is that nobody offers a dissenting view of Newcombe, who at times isn't without a certain Captain Ahabesque charm - and the movie never brings up a very salient question; do you really think his music would be half as interesting if he wasn't crazy as a shithouse rat? But, at least he's entertaining, unlike Courtney Taylor, who picks he feet during one interview, mentions that he 'sneeze[s] and hits come out', praises BJM and Anton (for amongst other things, their 'cool clothes'), and generally confirms the opinion of this reviewer, that he is a clueless, self delusional nitwit that can posture all he wants, but is still a pop slinging pinhead as materialistic and shallow as the Major Label cocksuckers he is quick to decry. The film has been garnering good reviews, and it's worth seeing. It's a pretty incredible, incisive portrait of horrible people with oodles of intimate footage, made out of a legitimate passion for the material and the form, rather than a chance to catapult the director to Hollywood success. But movie critics are as clueless about music as music critics, and haven't seem to have question the merit of either band's music, and taking the claim of being some huge influential force on American Popular music with a straight face.

One last thing, I dare you not to get deeply annoyed with Joel Gion. What an obnoxious, irritating, preening asshole. Here's hoping he's dead in a gutter somewhere.

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