Wednesday, April 27, 2005


Last week, I watched this movie. Covering the rise/decline of the Dandy Warhols and the Brian Jonestown Massacre, you don't have to know anything about their music to enjoy this documentary. If you like to see what happens to a band after the word-of-mouth buzz/hype dies down, I strongly urge a viewing.

Underground bands get a lot of people talking when they have a sort of "untapped potential" buzz. The scenario is like this: band supposedly has a unique style and a good live show, then there is a bidding war between labels, the band is signs with a label, and then, anything goes. Sometimes the band a) makes a good record and gets big b) makes a bad record and gets big c) doesn't get big but makes a good record and has a sizable audience d) doesn't get big, makes decent record and retains a sizable audience e) doesn't get big, makes bad record and is almost completely forgotten about

According to the doc, the Dandy Warhols didn't really break big in the US, but they were (and still are) popular in Europe, England and the U.K. They have a sizable audience in the US, but they aren't about to be heard on a modern rock station any time soon. Then there is the Brian Jonestown Massacre, who had a buzz for quite some time for good songs, an ever-quotable lead singer and on-stage fights.

Anton Newcombe of the BJM is shown in a variety of ways. Part prophet, part idiot, part jerk, part tragic figure and part prolific songwriter. Apparently Newcombe didn't like his portrayal in the film, but he is shown in sympathetic and unsympathetic ways. It's a fair portrayal, but this guy seems like he doesn't really known pure happiness.

Drugs are a problem, but ultimately, ego is the biggest problem with both the BJM and the Dandys. The doc shows the motivations behind bloated egos that come with a desire to make music your means of a livable income. Highly recommended.

1 comment:

Sarah E. said...

I completely agree. This movie is really great. I saw it a long time ago when it came out in the theater.

Basically, without Anton, I think the film would not have been nearly as fascinating. He's just one of those "characters" that makes the movie.

I highly enjoyed this movie, even though I was pretty unfamiliar with both bands (I'd heard of them, but hadn't heard much of their music). I actually was turned on to the Dandys' music after watching this film.