A documentary on the once-promising American rock bands The Brian Jonestown Massacre and The Dandy Warhols, and the friendship/rivalry between their respective founders, Anton Newcombe and Courtney Taylor.
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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. Both are hell-bent on staging a self-proclaimed revolution of the music industry. Through their loves and obsessions, gigs and recordings, arrests and death threats, uppers and downers--and ultimately to their chance at a piece of the profit-driven music business--how each handles his stab at success is where the relationship frays and burns. Written by
Sujit R. Varma
Courtney Taylor-Taylor is singer of The Dandy Warhols which is one the bands included on the documentary. Taylor-Taylor narrates the film, giving the viewer the idea that the opinions given are his own. See more »
Excellent documentary, ostensibly about the friendship and subsequent rivalry between two West Coast retro rock'n'roll bands: The Dandy Warhols and the Brian Jonestown Massacre. What it actually turns out to be is a portrait of a borderline psychopath - Anton Newcomb - and his tortured relationship with the rest of the world. Interestingly, for a music documentary, there is hardly any music. What there is - snatches of songs, more often than not aborted by the performers - is incidental rather than central. Although the protagonists are musicians, the story is not about music but rather about a particularly American version of a British myth of a cartoon lifestyle, ie, one where nobody has to take responsibility for behaving like spoiled adolescents on a full-time basis. Tantrums, drugs, violence, grossly dysfunctional attitudes, egomania on a truly epic scale - all of this is excused or positively encouraged because it conforms to some collectively held idea about what rock'n'roll is about.
As a film this is a first-class documentary but it raises more questions than it answers. For example, why is Anton's music so conservative? For someone so wild and outrageous (and he IS wild and outrageous) his music never seems to have progressed beyond the most obvious derivations of his 60s idols (The Stones, Velvets etc.) For someone who claims to be able to play 80 instruments he has never bothered to learn to play any one of them beyond the most rudimentary level. Similarly, the Dandy Warhols burning ambition is based on a vision of rock'n'roll which is astonishingly fossilised in 1969. Nothing wrong with pastiches, of course, but surely there's more to musical life than perpetually acting out a cartoon from the late 60s. Why don't they take some risks with their music - in the way that their role models did? Because, one suspects, this is not about music. Music is just an accessory, a prop, or an excuse, to lead completely dysfunctional and irresponsible lives. But why? In the Dandy Warhols case, the answer is obvious: to make lots of money and be famous. Big deal. Anton Newcomb's case is more interesting. He is obviously very talented, but every time he is given an opportunity to reach a wider audience he sabotages it, usually in the most dramatic way possible. He is terrified of success, and at the same time, deeply resents anyone else who has it - especially his former friends the Dandy Warhols.
Fascinating movie. Highly recommended.
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