Rock’n’Roll Revelation: DIG! XX Unveils the Troubled Genius of the Brian Jonestown Massacre

San Francisco, California – The Brian Jonestown Massacre, a San Francisco band founded in 1990 by Anton Newcombe, is making headlines once again with the 20th anniversary release of Ondi Timoner’s documentary, “DIG! XX.” The film, hailed by Dave Grohl as the “greatest rock’n’roll documentary of all time,” delves into the turbulent journey of the BJM and their encounters with Portland alt-rockers, The Dandy Warhols.

“DIG! XX” not only offers a glimpse into the lives of these two bands but also serves as a larger exploration of the rock’n’roll industry itself. Originally conceived as a project called “The Cut,” which aimed to follow ten unsigned bands navigating the music industry, Timoner’s film evolved to capture the demise of corporate rock in real-time.

At the center of the documentary is Anton Newcombe, a troubled poet and self-proclaimed messiah of psychedelic rock. Born in 1967, Newcombe straddles the line between visionary and enigma, embodying both the spirit of the ’60s and a unique brand of rebellion. Accompanying Newcombe is Joel Gion, the BJM’s tambourine-wielding sidekick, whose role within the band remains somewhat elusive.

The anniversary edition of “DIG! XX” adds depth to the original film, shedding light on Newcombe’s complex character and the contrasting aspirations of the Dandy Warhols. While the DWs yearn for success and financial gain, the BJM seeks artistic integrity and eschews commercialism – a sentiment exemplified by Newcombe’s declaration, “I’m not for sale. The Beatles were for sale. I give it away.”

“DIG! XX” weaves together parallel stories of the two bands. The DWs initially struggle to find their footing in the music industry, while the BJM’s reputation for being unmanageable precedes them. However, despite their flaws, Newcombe’s brooding charisma resonates with audiences, fostering a sense of camaraderie and forgiveness, even in the face of his more outrageous actions.

The power of “DIG!” lies in its exploration of art and commerce in the music industry. The film exposes the underlying desires that drive musicians – a combination of passion and necessity. As Timoner’s documentary continues to captivate audiences two decades later, it stands as a testament to the unwavering dedication and pursuit of artistic expression in the face of a changing industry.

“DIG! XX,” with a running time of 2 hours and 26 minutes, is a remarkable revelation of the inner workings of the Brian Jonestown Massacre and The Dandy Warhols, providing a captivating glimpse into the history and complexities of the rock’n’roll world.