Yes Yes YES!
If you do not own a copy of DIG! (The Brian Jonestown Massacre vs The Dandy Warhols) BUY A COPY NOW! However, if you're not into your garage drone, your rock stars thinking that they are Jesus, taking all the drugs, feuding, fighting, being a general mess, but somehow able to write and perform truly brilliant songs, then I wouldn't bother. Brian Jonestown are one one of the most insane, engrossing and utterly brilliant bands touring. I have my ticket to watch them at Manchester Academy 3 in May, it will be the second time I have seen them live. The first time was two summers ago (anecdote to follow). This is what I expected (extract from DIG!)
Their whole set consisted of no more than 5 songs. 5 long songs. The front man, Anton Newcombe, (as you may have discovered from the video) has issues. They used to be drug issues, ego issues, superiority issues. These days he is off the drugs, but is still a mess. He stormed off stage numerous times leaving the band to continue alone - often elongating the already drony songs. He would return looking ill, eyes rolling back in his head, occasionally wretching as if to vomit - although he never did and at one point he cried. I suspected he was shooting up, however I was later to discover this was not the case.
Now, I may take every opportunity to complain about my hometown, but one thing I cannot fault is some of it's cats (if the word 'dig' can make a come back I'm pretty sure 'cats' as in daddios not actual cats (yes daddios) can make a come back too). There is a small alternative community and only two small alternative places to drink that are open beyond 12. As a result everyone knows everyone. And, we all have shit hot taste in music - oh yes, oh yes. All rather cool characters as well may I add (no pictures just trust). So consequently (and without arranging it) the BJM gig turned into a sort of Wazza field trip. After the gig a BJM guitarist (Ricky Maymi) was smoking out front, being harassed as should be expected, by fans. Of all the Wazza massive, Jules Barrat (previously mentioned here) has to be the biggest BJM fan, maybe even beyond wazza, perhaps in the world.
JB: "Mandi, that's Ricky, I have to speak to him. It's important."
Me: "So do it then. He won't mind. Look everyone else is."
JB: "No I can't, I'm too nervous"
Me: "Don't be silly. Just tell him you enjoyed the set. Introduce yourself. It'll be fine"
JB: "Will you introduce me? please?"
ENTER Helen (HK). I have spoke of Helen on this blog before. She is the one that lives in Paris. Previously, she and I had been discussing in a nonchalant manner, how it was sweet that Ricky BJM is just coolly smoking amongst his fans.
Me to HK: "What do you reckon?"
So we approach. Helen is an attractive lady, very natural, tall, long blond hair and an extremely cool composure. Not too many people are naturally cool, Helen is. At this point Ricky BJM is surrounded by people. Andrew (who was doing his usual crumbling in the face of fame) had commented to me about how hideous Ricky's Brothel Crawlers were, was now complementing the man himself for having superb taste in footwear. I was cringing.
Me to Ricky: "Hey Ricky great set, this is Jules..."
JB: "Hi tonight was so cool..."
Ricky to Helen (because suddenly, to Ricky at least, all the other fans had disappeared and there was only myself and Helen stood there): "Hi I'm Ricky, who are you?"
and then the consequent greetings and introductions ensued. Jules began jumping around for his attention to little avail. Before we knew it, everyone had cleared off, Jules had given up, and there were just the three of us, Ricky, Helen, Myself. He was into Helen. First he invited us to Big Hands for a drink. Now our main problem was this: it was the summer, and I was a student at MMU so had a house in manchester (strange this past version of myself is sort of at a point where a book is about to close, where I become another me and start playing the lead in a whole new book. Completely unaware of all the madness that was to encapsulate me the following term - which retrospectively has to have been the strangest, most mentally/emotionally taxing year of my life! I will write about that year on here when I have gotten far enough away from its chaos.) However, I hadn't yet picked up the keys but my house mate had - only she wasn't answering the phone. We had no digs for the evening so had to catch the last train home. We couldn't stay. Simple as that. We explained this to him.
"Well what time is the first train tomorrow?" 6am "Well forget the bar, come and smoke with us on the coach, you can get the first train."
(Appologies I cannot get this the right way round)
As much as we knew we would look back and think 'damn', there was absolutely NO way that at that moment in time did getting on the BJM tour bus and getting intoxicated seem like a good idea... No, now come on, seriously. Alright, we could see how it may come across as an appealing proposition. We had already seen the state of Anton. We had already seen DIG! numerous times. We were two young, attractive - well Helen at least - ladies, if we were to get on that bus... So, being the losers are, we justified our reasons for leaving, silently, politely declined and said that we have to go for the last train.
"No, I can't just let you go" that was said to Helen not me, think of me as Helen's chaperon in this story. "Where's the station?" ten minutes that way. "Right I'm walking you."
And that is how Helen and I got escorted to platform 5 of Oxford Road station by Ricky Rene Maymi of The Brian Jonestown Massacre. Between finding out about Helen, and exchanging emails, he also revealed some of the mystery behind Anton's onstage behavior.
"Anton has two problems, alcohol, and his mental health condition"
Anton, as you saw in the above video, became angered when ever anyone on stage messed up, now, he has been through psycho-analysis and is off the heroin, he realises that it is himself that he has a problem with. That now, if Anton messes up, he fights him self. He breaks down and has to pull himself together. Occasionally, this means leaving the stage, and, yes, crying. But he's dealing with it. And they are still awesome live.
Two minutes after the train departed, my house mate rang me to ask what was up. I told her not to speak to me.
A week or two later, I recieved an IM from Helen (she had returned to France, at that time a small town in the south called Valance).
"So.. What are you up to the day after tomorrow?" Why? "Ricky emailed saying he can get us two VIP passes to - Garden Nef Party Festival - Angoulême, Poitou-Charentes, FRANCE" this was the line up: Iggy & The Stooges + The Hives + The Raconteurs + Justice + Nada Surf + Hushpuppies + The Do + Moriarty + Brian Jonestown Massacre + The Kills + Simian Mobile Disco + Patrick Watson + Archie + Bronson Outfit. In other words, yeah, awesome! I would happily of watched seven of those bands, and that is a lot for such a small festival. I would to fly to paris and jump trains the rest of the way, meeting Helen there. I would backstage it with Iggy and Alison Mosshart. I speak zero french and I hear they aren't that helpful to English speakers over there, so train hopping in unfamiliar territory where I am absolutely alien was not the greatest idea... I had no money to fly at such short notice. Helen was also struggling finding trains and then affording trains... then there was her boyfriend - he would want to come too, "Hey Ricky could you spare us one more ticket for..." So we bailed.
This one is for Jules. It has been a long time my love. See you at BJM '10