Thursday, June 23, 2005

false idols with gleaming pleather sheen

I couldn't resist the temptation. I went ahead and watched the Dandy Warhols movie last night. I liked it a lot. It's not quite fair to call it a movie about the Dandy Warhols, though. Really, it's about The parallel lives and careers of the Dandys and The Brian Jonestown Massacre. (note: to best view the Dandys' website, you'll have to turn off any sidebars, and view in full-screen). The two bands were an inspiration for each other, and each founding member would always swear that the other was a bleeding genius. Musically, they were always trying to catch up to, and one-up the other. In that respect, their relationship was very much a Brian Wilson - Paul McCartney thing. Although the two bands had a rough relationship (The Dandys' Courtney Taylor would refer to BJM's Anton Newcombe as both his best friend and his worst enemy), neither would be as good without the other.
While the Dandys were signing major label deals and making videos, the BJM were plugging along, making 5 full-length records in the span of two years. They would never get the major-label deal. They would never get the hot-shot video director. They were, though, wildly popular and very well respected. However, people showed up to their concerts with ulterior motive. They wanted to see some drama.

Newcombe repudiates the film, saying it depicts him in an unfair light. There are no other original members of BJM, but they all say now, as they did then, that he was impossible to work with. He fought the band members on-stage. He fought audience members. He sabotaged record deals. He drove band members to quit the band while on the road (even today, the lineup is posted on their website with the warning "lineup subject to change without notice"). He caused a lot of trouble. The whole time (in classic junkie fashion), he denied that he had a problem and would say that Courtney Taylor was more of a menace than he. The evidence is to the contrary.

You should check this movie out, even if you're not into the music. However, I know for a fact that we have at least two Dandy Warhols fans among us. It's probably the case that you, like me, have heard of BJM, even if you haven't heard them. The movie spans seven years, and there's a lot of stuff that happened in that time. Frankly, this film could have been twice as long, or maybe even a Ken Burns-style series, and it would still hold my attention.
As a sidenote, one of BJM's original members went on to start Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. A much better deal for him. As another sidenote, the only change the Dandys made was to get a different drummer.

If you haven't seen this documentary, please do. Sadly, I only own one Dandys record, and this film has filled me with the urge to get more. That's what I'll do today before work.

now playing:
The Dandy Warhols -- The Dandy Warhols Come Down
The Dandy Warhols...The Dandy Warhols Come Down

No comments: