The fascinating 2004 documentary Dig! chronicles the roller coaster existence of two indie bands who who go from friends to rivals – The Dandy Warhols and The Brian Jonestown Massacre – as they try to survive and thrive in a messed up, backwards music world. How messed up is it? It might be the only documentary you will ever see showing scenes from the filming of a music video that features dancing hypodermic needles. No kidding. The Dandy Warhols look like proper rock stars should, but they come across as relatively normal, and seem poised to achieve stardom via their chameleonic music – a catchy, ersatz re-write of whatever is trending at the moment — and frontman Courtney Taylor’s cheekbones. In contrast, The Brian Jonestown Massacre are darker and more credible, a study in chaos, and as a result far more interesting. Led by the intriguing but troubled Anton Newcombe — imagine Tom Green and Kurt Cobain sharing the same body — they are more indie, more abstract, and also more prone to catcalls and fist fights on and off stage (that’s in the movie too). The bands are at first supportive of each other, but eventually become antagonists as the pressure of juggling credibility, aiming for success, life on the road and their competitiveness leads to combustion. It all boils over after one fateful scene – the two lead singers end up in a car together, one plays the other a new song that seems to be a dig at the other, which leads to a mocking response song – indie rock’s version of one of those rap beefs – and things escalate from there, madness follows for all involved, and much like real life, when the dust settles, you aren’t really sure if anyone got what they wanted in the end. Eight years both bands are still out on the road, and both make area appearances in the next couple of months. The Dandy Warhols play the Troc May 30th and the BJM rock Union Transfer on August 23rd. Here’s hoping three months is enough distance to keep away the bad mojo that always rears its ugly head when they cross paths. – PETE TROSHAK
TIX CONTEST: We have a pair of tix to see The Dandy Warhols at the Troc next Friday to the first lucky Phawker reader that emails us at FEED@PHAWKER.COM with the correct answer to the following question: What is the name of the Dandy Warhols song that so enraged Anton Newcombe of the Brian Jonestown Massacre and turned a mutual friendship into a less-than-friendly rivalry? Please include a mobile number for confirmation and put the words DANDY WARHOLS in the subject line. Good luck and godspeed!