Dig!Mikey 4 comments
I am very late seeing this documentary and I have no real excuse for that fact. But last week on our local radio station the feature album was The Brian Jonestown Masaacre’s "My Bloody Underground", and it impressed me so much that I remember I was still yet to view Dig!
Dig! is a documentary set during the height of the Boy Band era and at the beginning of what is to allegedly be a music revolution. During a time when said Boy bands dominated the airwaves, it was increasingly difficult for up-and-coming bands to break into the industry, and this is where we find The Dandy Warhols and The Brian Jonestown Massacre (BJM), the focus of this documentary.
Director Ondi Timoner followed both bands around for 7 years and filmed over 1500 hours of this amazing story. Front men Anton Newcombe (BJM) and Courtney Taylor (The Dandy Warhols, and who also narrates during the film) are good friends equally as talented as each other. Both bands want to start a music revolution but both have different ideas on how this can be achieved.
Anton is a creative genius who doesn’t want to ‘sell out’ which sees him constantly sabotaging every opportunity that could have signed them to a major label, while his band lives in poverty and worries about where their next meal is going to come from. And while Anton talks about starting a revolution, Courtney and his band are already on their way.
The turning point happens when Courtney plays his new song "" to Anton. Courtney knows this song is going to be the one that puts the Dandy Warhols on the musical map (which turned out to be true), but Anton’s reaction is of complete silence which eventually transforms into jealousy.
The song was a hit and Capitol Records throws $400,000 at them to make an accompanying video clip, which is where Anton claims the Dandys officially ‘sold out’.
While all of this is happening, Anton is becoming more unreasonable and unrealistic about BJM’s future. During live concerts he frequently insults his band members and sometimes starts physical fights with them and the audience all the while screaming into the microphone about how much a genius he is and that he 'doesn't make mistakes'. This usually always resulted in the band walking off stage only a couple of songs into the concert. But words can't really describe the lunacy of Anton's actions, so you will have to watch this clip:
He is control freak, perfectionist and artist, a combination that prevented the band from reaching the success it should have early on.
Anton’s downward spiral is captured beautifully as we see him plummet further into alcohol and drug abuse. Having no recording deal means no money, and on one occasion the band showed up at a Dandy Warhols video shoot, which was fully catered, just so they could eat.
What Anton didn’t understand, and that Courtney did, was that signing to a major label doesn’t make you a sell-out. In the music industry you need money to make any noise. So Anton would insist he was doing the right thing, his constant tantrums, fighting and drug abuse saw several band members leave, leaving just him to finish the tour playing solo.
Both bands now officially rivals, The Dandy’s are forced to take out a restraining order on Anton after he sends shotgun shells to the band members with their names on them. It is at this stage that Courtney knows he has lost his friend forever.
During almost the entire movie Anton is the focus and centre of every problem the BJM encounters.
Watching Dig! can best be described as watching a train wreck in slow motion. It’s impossible to look away and the music from both bands is an added bonus. Even if you don't like either of these bands, Dig! is an awesome ride.