This film tracks the tumultuous rise of two talented musicians, Anton Newcombe, leader of the Brian Jonestown Massacre; and Courtney Taylor, leader of the Dandy Warhols; dissecting their star-crossed friendship and bitter rivalry.
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The aftermath of this doc raises its contextual appeal - the cautionary tale of Brian Jonestown Massacre paradoxically turns them into an indie cult success. It's a fascinating insight into the alternative/mainstream ideological divide.
For this to work you must accept the premise that Anton's a genius, that the BJM make something more than tepid, hacky psychedelia homages. The truth is, Anton's a mediocre asshole. Accepting that, though, DIG! has a potent thesis, claiming (through deceptive editing, it's been noted) that well-groomed mediocrity (the Dandys) always succeeds over messy genius (BJM). But, again, that requires suspended disbelief.
I hate all this tortured genius nonsense. When you're more famous for your lifestyle and issues than your music you're not a genius you're a screw up! I enjoyed the contrast between Taylor & Newcombe's attitude to the music industry, but this was no Oasis V Blur rivalry as Newcombe's issues would have always got in the way of any potential fame.
I couldn't really care less about either band, but I did find the exploration of explicit image manipulation interesting. In a way, it was like watching two very different kinds of car crashes. The BJM is consumed by drugs and erratic behavior (which is not particularly interesting - I find no romance in junkies). The DW, via the seemingly unfiltered voice over by the lead singer, come across as soulless creeps.
A rollicking good ride with some nice insight into the minds of the two frontmen and how success can stress a friendship. How important is artistic authenticity and how important is commercial success. Can you have both? Does it matter?
One of the best music documentaries I've watched so far. It's super complete, full of lost, epic footage (thank God for the guys holding a camera) and cool interviews with, not only friends, but important people in the music industry. 26 years and never a fuck to spare to sign with a label, can't get more trve than that. Really made me want to see them, now that Anton's all sobered up and giving 3 hour long shows.