Interview with Anton Newcombe of The Brian Jonestown Massacre (2005)

Anton Newcombe has built up quite a large reputation. Some people think he’s a genius. Some people think he’s a maniac. Some people think both. He’s been through fights, arrests, drug addictions, high profile feuds, and somewhere in it all he has managed to stay a prolific writer and performer. He’s released more than ten albums over the past decade. They are all available as a free download on his website and they are all worth checking out:

What are you working on at the moment?

Our next album We Are The Radio. I like it. I’m working with this great female singer, Sarabeth Tuceck. She has a great voice so I’m pretty excited.

What ever happened to the live album, the album of re-recordings of old songs, and the BJM tribute album you were talking about on your website a while back? The covers project became a website. I started posting live shows on our MP3 page and umm…Greg Shaw died.

Out of all the projects that ex-BJM band members have done (Outcrowd, BRMC, Smallstone, Daydream Nation….etc) has anything really impressed or disappointed you? You missed the Warlocks…just kidding. I had fun touring with BRMC. I don’t know, I’m kind of into my own work. It’s like I only have so much free time, I can listen to what other people are up to or I can work on my own art.

Are there any unknown/unsigned bands that you’re into at the moment? A Place To Bury Strangers.

Who holds the record for the shortest membership in BJM, and why was it so short? People have played “a show”. Just because we play music together doesn’t mean you are in my band. People like to name drop it like it’s going to change the fact that their music is weak.

The last time I saw you guys live in New York, Sune Rose Wagner from The Raveonettes was playing bass. How did that happen? I love him and we like each others’ work. He said he wanted to play with us and so he did. They are a great band. Great people and I wish the best for them.

Do you think you could ever be a sideman in someone else’s band? I sit in or play on a lot of projects. I’m playing drums on the first Warlocks album. I’m on 13 Tales, so you know.

Sitars were a big part of your sound for a while but you haven’t used them on recent records. Is there any reason why? Have you ever played live with sitars? Well, I’m not into gimmicks. I just work in different mediums. And yes we have played them live.

When you recorded Thank God For Mental Illness for $17.36, what was it that you spent $17.36 on? A beer and the tape.

You’ve seem to have a knack for being able to play a lot of different instruments. Have there been any instruments that you’ve tried to learn but just suck at? I have a hard time with the violin.

How’s your beat-boxing? I could make the Fat Boys skinny. Just kidding.

Lately you’ve been doing a lot of DJ’ing. How did you get into that and what are some of your favorite records to play? I hate how pretentious people are with music. I wanted to start a trend in DJ culture where you have four or five DJ’s going song for song and feeding into it. We play all kinds of junk.

After your experiences on TVT are you still interested in being signed to a large record company? If the fit was right why not?

Beatles or Stones? MBV or Ride? All of them.

Is there anything you want to talk about or get off your chest? Just that Leo Strauss was a fucking evil devil and our government and the people that support it are human vomit.