Houston Calling

Ten Questions for The Brian Jonestown Massacre

September 29th, 2003 · No Comments

Sometimes I tend to be a few years behind on music. This is not always a bad thing, actually. I find it a great thing when I “discover” a new band (new to me, that is) and am able to go and check out their entire back catalog, not just the one album I heard originally. The Verve was one band I did this with. The Brian Jonestown Massacre is another.

A while back, I bought one of their CDs. I had always been curious about them (with that great of a band name, how could one not be?), but had never bothered to spend any money. After the album ended, I only had one thought–“Why have I been missing out on this?”

I went out and got another CD, Strung Out In Heaven. I liked that album as well and wanted to get as much of The Brian Jonestown Massacre’s music as I could.

One problem. A lot of the early stuff was hard to find. I knew the band came to Houston every once in a while so I went to the band’s website. To my surprise, all of the band’s albums are available for downloading as MP3s. For free.

Let me repeat that.

All of the band’s albums are available for downloading as MP3s. For free.

I had to find out why, with the music industry fining little kids and with Lars Ulrich and others musicians bringing about the demise of Napster and other file-sharing services, The Brian Jonestown Massacre has chosen to put its music out for public consumption–free of charge.

The Brian Jonestown Massacre will perform at Rudyard’s in Houston on Friday night, October 3rd. Before the show at Rudz, the band will do an in-store performance at Cactus Music beginning at 6 p.m.

I recently emailed Anton Newcombe, the brains behind the band, and asked if he would answer a few questions for Houston Calling. Enjoy the result.

Ten Questions for The Brian Jonestown Massacre

HC: Tell me a bit about The Brian Jonestown Massacre. What do you shoot to convey (if anything) in your music?

AN: I started The Brian Jonestown Massacre in 1990 because I wanted to be in a great band. I have always loved psychedelic music. By that I mean to say “mind expanding” music. My friends and I have tried to explore our own creativity, talents and imaginations and at the same time entertain others. I think we have been a great success.

HC: What do consider to be your main musical influences?

AN: God, my god more specifically. As i understand him to be. I also enjoy so many types of music, so many great records and artists where could I ever hope to begain? Fuck it, here goes nothing: Enrique Carrouso, the la’s, The Zombies, Joy Division, Primal Scream, The Doors, Howlin’ Wolf, Rahsaan, Roland Kirk, Stan Getz and friends, Jesus and Mary Chain, Dead Meadow, Beatles, Kinks, Jimi rogers, Nusurat Fateh Ali Kahn, Kraftwerk, Faust, Neu’, The High Dials, Lightning hopkins, Anup Jolota, Rolling Stones, Scott Walker, Hank Williams, Sr.

I’m all over the map really. I like everything except metal, rap-rock, most urban contemporary culture, etc. I don’t need it. It says nothing to me, does nothing for me, in fact it wasn’t even created with me in mind.

HC: It’s reported that some 40 different members have worked their ways through your band since its inception. Are you a slavedriver or what? (that’s a joke) How do you feel about other relatively new bands like Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and The Warlocks that seem to be influenced by your band (and many others) gaining popularity in the mainstream today?

AN: I’m not a slave driver. I have a vision of what I want to accomplish at any given moment. What it is I do and do not want. People come and go as their need and those of my own sort of hook up and travel the same direction and speed.

As far as The Warlocks or the B.R.M.C. are concerned, I wish them all the luck in the world. I will say this, I have Soundscan and those bands are not mainstream. They are a drop of piss in a very big pond indeed. Don’t be fooled by the clever ways of the publicist, the influence of money and marketing. Outkast is mainstream. Those bands will be the guillotine that severs the head of the major label machine.

HC: What is the one description that you hate to hear about your music?

AN: I don’t hate nothing but hatred. It does however irk me a bit when people describe us as all things “Rolling Stones.” When people (journalists) write that crap I know they have never even heard our music. The Stones were very much a blues-based band. They owe everything to black music. The only thing I owe the black man is respect. Just like everyone else, line, single file ? no cuts.

HC: What’s your take on the state of the music industry today?

AN: If you would have asked me last year, I would have said “somebody call a doctor.” Now I suggest we unplug the patient and say our farewells. I know there will always be a “music business,” but the time has really arrived to rethink and reinvent the thing. It lacks leadership. Plain and simple. Vision, guts, taste, balls if you will. I think the lawyer just bent it over and sodomized it. Sickest thing is how many bands just can’t wait to jump right in. Fact is most bands have no business ever being on a major label.

HC: Obviously, since you have all of The Brian Jonestown Massacre albums available as MP3s on your website you aren’t against the MP3 “revolution.” What prompted you to give the fans access to all of your releases as MP3s? What other ways are you using the internet as a tool to market your band?

AN: Even as we speak, young people all over the world are deciding how they should best interact with not only new technology, but with all of the digitized information that exists. there are more young people right now out there swapping MP3’s, that don’t buy CD’s, than there were rock fans in the sixties. I own my music, we still sell more records than ever before. I refuse to believe it hurts anything. It helps. I will continue to use every tool to execute my plan. Every medium, every fan.

HC: If you could have any band/musician cover one of your songs, what song would it be and what band or musician?

AN: I’ll be clever, I think i would do a medley. Have 50 Cent and Britany Spears duet, have The Neptunes and Death in Vegas remix it. I would take all of the millions of dollars I would make, and do something productive and meaningful with my life. It is my sincere hope that many of my songs will enter the popular lexicon as folk music, and that people will make them better.

HC: Complete this phrase any way you want: “If love is a drug, _______.? Richard Ashcroft once sang “the drugs don’t work”–do you agree? Why or why not?

AN: I already did on one of my EPs: “If love is a drug, then I want to OD.” Yep, I love that song. you should go to www.brianjonestownmassacre.com and check it out.

Who gives a fuck what he thinks about drugs? I read that something like 65 percent of the British population between the ages of 20 and 35 are fucked up off of their asses on ecstacy every single weekend. I was just over there and it is truly amazing. I think he is just talking more or less about his experiences, hanging out with shitheads like Robbie Williams backstage at Glastonbury, watching people have heart attacks on blow or pissing your pants on e. But that’s what you get. He is the idiot that thought he wanted to be a rock star.

HC: What’s next for The Brian Jonestown Massacre?

AN: More questions. More answers. More tours. More records. More airplanes. More bars. More hotels. More memories. Death.

HC: What is in your CD player right now?

AN: Funny you should ask. Our new album, of course…but then, I listen to vinyl at home so let me see….David Sylvian – Secrets of the Beehive.

You can download the music of Anton and Brian Jonestown Massacre from their website at www.brianjonestownmassacre.com/mp3.php.

Be sure to catch the band’s show at Rudz on Friday night, 10.3.03. The band will also do an in-store performance at Cactus Music beginning at 6 p.m.

You can purchase the music of The Brian Jonestown Massacre at Bomp Records. There are autographed CDs, posters, and much more.

Tags: Music