Dig! (2004)
August 7, 2023 10:33 AM - Subscribe

A documentary on the once promising American rock bands The Brian Jonestown Massacre and The Dandy Warhols. The friendship between respective founders, Anton Newcombe and Courtney Taylor, escalated into bitter rivalry as the Dandy Warhols garnered major international success while the Brian Jonestown Massacre imploded in a haze of drugs.

A film by Ondi Timoner.

89% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes.


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posted by DirtyOldTown (8 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
posted by DirtyOldTown at 10:33 AM on August 7, 2023

Anton and I were neighbors back in the day in the Lower Haight. He ran up to me on the street one day all wide-eyed and told me that he was starting this new band and he needed a guitarist and I just had to join. Watching Dig! reinforced my gut feeling -- and I say this as someone who likes Anton and a lot of BJM's music --that doing so, even on a lark, would have been terrible for my mental health.
posted by vverse23 at 11:17 AM on August 7, 2023 [8 favorites]

I hope I don't offend any fans of either band, because I know what it is to Love A Band, but, whew, those 11-year-old comments on the trailer are...a time capsule.
posted by praemunire at 11:23 AM on August 7, 2023

I ducked into a tent at Coachella 2004 because it was just too dang hot, and caught this movie there. I was a fan of both bands before that, so I just felt lucky to stumble onto it.

I hope I don't offend any fans of either band, because I know what it is to Love A Band

Nah, even as a fan of both bands I knew they were both a little nuts. I saw BJM live twice - once was one of the better shows I've ever seen, the other was entirely forgettable. You can probably tell from the trailer that there's a high degree of variability there. What was kind of interesting at the time was that Anton was on social media (I guess Myspace?) putting down the movie because there's a part where they get pulled over on tour and the cops find drugs in the car - Anton's objection was that they were Ondi's (the director) drugs, therefore the movie was a joke, not bothering to address the parts where he kicks a concertgoer's head from onstage and other behavior that's obviously a much larger concern than drug possession.

I think I saw some commentary later from both bands that said the drug stuff was oversensationalized, and while Anton isn't a saint, the movie just demonstrates that he's really just not a great drunk.
posted by LionIndex at 10:03 PM on August 7, 2023 [1 favorite]

I was living in an artspace when this came out. One of my roommates was a drummer and the most gorgeous blue eyed hipster. He turned me onto BJM and we all watched this movie together. I think I've seen this film about 4 times now. My ringtone is the BJM song Anemone. ("You should be picking me up...")

The thing about Dig is that it documents 1996 when BJM recorded 3 albums. The third one, their best, "Thank God For Mental Illness" was recorded in a home studio for the price of the tape they recorded it on, $10. If you were going to start anywhere with this band, that's the album. They put 3 hidden songs on the last track!
posted by Catblack at 8:08 AM on August 8, 2023 [2 favorites]

The thing about Dig is that it documents 1996 when BJM recorded 3 albums.

No, it's much later, right before they signed to TVT and put out Strung Out in Heaven. More around the Give it Back era - Peter Hayes (later of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club) is the group at the time and Anton's working on some Give it Back songs during the film.
posted by LionIndex at 10:05 AM on August 8, 2023

Actually, 1996 might be right as far as what they were working on at the time - Dandy Warhols Come Down with "Not if You Were the Last Junkie on Earth" and Give it Back both came out in '97.
posted by LionIndex at 10:09 AM on August 8, 2023

I watched this film initially because I am a HUGE Black Rebel Motorcycle Club fan, and Peter Hayes from BRMC played with The Brian Jonestown Massacre for one album and appears in Dig! I'd also liked the handful of BJM songs my Pandora had thrown at me.

The subsequent (several) viewings were because there is absolutely nothing like Dig!, and if you haven't seen it, you need to. The first time GCU Sweet and Full of Grace and I watched it, after we got finished looking at each other saying WHAT THE? we immediately watched it a second time. And since then I have shown it to several people, because....it's just that entertaining. There is so much you miss the first time around while you're trying to believe that yes, this actually happened, and yes, these are actual people.

Anton and BJM are still touring regularly and just put out yet another album. He is one of the very few people I have ever come across who actually is almost as good as he thinks he is, pretty much. Crazy? Sure. A couple of decades away from being a cult leader in the 60's? Definitely. But he really is that good.

Do yourself a favor, and watch it. And then watch it again. And then watch the deleted scenes. It's just....indescribable.
posted by biscotti at 2:05 PM on August 8, 2023 [3 favorites]

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