Splash FM Website of the Day, 1st August 2005. Be Impressed.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

The Dandy Warhols & Brian Jonestown Massacre

The love/hate relationship between The Dandy Warhols and The Brian Jonestown Massacre (BJM), as chronicled in the film Dig!, took a definite swing towards hate during 1997.

Initially, the bands, and in particular the two frontmen Courtney Taylor (Warhols) and Anton Newcombe (BJM), were close but it was clear the two were not entirely compatible. The Dandys, describing themselves as ‘the world’s most well adjusted band’ were clearly aiming at large scale success. The BJM, on the other hand, were hell bent on self destruction from the start. Their name is an agglomeration of the Rolling Stones guitarist who drowned in his swimming pool at the age of 27 and the mass suicide of over 900 members of a messianic cult. The Dandys have seen only one line-up change whilst BJM has had between 24 and 60 members depending on which source you believe. One of the more entertaining and long lasting members was ‘Spokesman for a Generation’ (read Bez of the band) Joel Gion on tambourine.

By 1997 The Dandy Warhols had signed to a major label (Capitol) and were recording the album The Dandy Warhols Come Down. Dig! has a scene where an excited Taylor plays Not If You Were The Last Junkie On Earth to an obviously under-whelmed Newcombe. Shortly afterwards we see BJM recording their satirical response, Not If You Were The Last Dandy On Earth. Further ructions occurred when most of the BJM turn up for the recording of the David LaChapelle directed video for Junkie (watch it here) and leave with a sense that the Dandys have sold out.

The pivotal moment in the relationship between the two bands comes after the video shot for Junkie when the Dandys are looking for a location to host a photoshoot. The night before, while the Warhols were partying in a posh hotel with LaChapelle, the BJM had hosted a less salubrious get together in the band hovel. Taylor decided the BJM’s dilapidated fleapit would be idea for the photoshoot, presumably giving them the bohemian image they desired but were too hygienic to live with.

Later that year, after recording a new album, there was another bust up within BJM which resulted in a mass evacuation of members including Gion and Black Rebel Motorcyclist Robert Turner - although Gion still regularly joins the band on stage after discovering there is a decidedly sluggish market for his tambourine playing in the global marketplace. The Dandy Warhols went on to make records for mobile phone ads and Courtney Taylor changed his name to Courtney Taylor-Taylor (as if to underline the fact he’s a bit of a knobhead-knobhead).

The Dandy Warhols – Not If You Were The Last Junkie On Earth

The Brian Jonestown Massacre – Not If You Were The Last Dandy On Earth

Download every BJM song for nowt on their website

Buy Dig!

Buy Give It Back

Buy Come Down


I urge, nay command, you all to watch Gideon’s Daughter on Sunday night. It is set largely in the summer of 1997. Not something I’d usually bother mentioning but Stephan Poliakoff’s programmes are always so firmly rooted in time and place – making it seem as though they were shot live at the time – that it has to be worth a watch. Expect much referencing of the rise of New Labour, the planning of the Millenium Dome and the death of Di; perhaps not so many references to the squabbles of American psychedelic bands.

Best of all it alludes to The Cumberland Pencil Museum on one point which puts it in the unmissable category as far as I’m concerned.

On Last.fm

WL97’s sister blog Whatever’s Left has set up a Last.fm group. Feel free to join up.


At 7:54 PM, Blogger Jake said...

Hey! If you or anyone else is interested, you can download "Best Friend" by the Dandy Warhols as part of a free 34 song iMix courtesy of TuneCore. Just go to http://www.tunecore.com/freealbum and click for your free code. No email or registration is required. Enjoy!


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