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A documentary on the rivalry between two rock bands. On one hand we have The Dandy Warhols, and its leader Courtney Taylor-Taylor, and on the other The Brian Jonestown Massacre, lead by Anton Newcombe. They used to be close friends but their differing lifestyles and ambitions, especially that of Anton Newcombe, have forced them apart, to the point of being enemies.Written by
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 »
I'll just say what I got to say. I'm here to destroy this fucked up system. I will do it. That's why I got the job. I said let it be me; I said use my hands. I will use our strength. Let's fuckin' burn it to the ground!
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A cautionary tale for anyone looking to start a band
The fickle nature of the music industry is well known. Most bands will try and flounder with a whimper; true visionaries will fail to find an audience or be deemed as too great a risk by the corporate machine; and the pretty but talent-free will strike it rich with one instantly forgettable tune after another. It's been documented in film before, but never in such brutal, in-your-face detail as Ondi Timoner's documentary Dig!. The cameras followed bands The Dandy Warhols and The Brian Jonestown Massacre for seven years, covering their friendship during the bright-eyed, let's-change-the-world beginnings to the bitter rivalry that formed between them as one made it big and the other struggled in infamy.
Both bands wanted to start a music revolution - one that would see artists take back control from the industry heads who ultimately lacked vision - by refusing to sell out. The Dandy Warhols' professionalism and willingness to bend as long as it avoided breaking meant that their star rose with increasing speed, before Bohemian Like You was snapped up by a mobile phone company and they became an overnight sensation, particularly here in the UK. This savviness is mistaken for bending over by BJM frontman Anton Newcombe, and soon Dandy lead singer Courtney Taylor-Taylor is receiving strange packages containing shotgun cartridges. Meanwhile, Newcombe's increasingly threatening behaviour towards everyone around him sees his band often struggle to make it through a set without brawling on stage. BJM were descending quickly from the next big thing to a circus sideshow.
Despite the chaos on screen, Timoner never loses sight of Newcombe's raw talent. His actions can be blamed on mental illness, egomania or copious amount of heroin, but he is the real deal, pouring everything into his work and banging out records at a miraculous rate (they released three albums in 1996 alone). The genius and madness meld together to create an image of a man worn down by his philosophy, someone who preached love but only ever gave any to himself. His descent is both tragic and funny, and every fight, argument and storm-out is captured by Timoner's ever-present camera. For a film ultimately echoing Newcombe's views on a corporate mechanism more interested in money than artistry, Dig! somehow forgets the music itself. The odd bar or snippet can be heard here and there, but it's usually interrupted by some act of self-destruction or other. Ultimately however, Dig! is a fascinating study of the idea of selling-out and a must-see for music fans, serving as a cautionary tale for anyone considering starting a band.
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