Brian Jonestown Massacre
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Brian Jonestown Massacre
The Brian Jonestown Massacre
The Brian Jonestown Massacre.jpg
The Brian Jonestown Massacre performing live at Shepherd's Bush Empire, London, in 2012
Background information
Origin San Francisco, California, United States
1990 (1990)-present
See Former members

The Brian Jonestown Massacre is an American musical outfit led by frontman Anton Newcombe. It was formed in San Francisco in 1990.

The Brian Jonestown Massacre was formed by Newcombe in 1990. Their early music was in a shoegaze style. Following their debut album, Methodrone, the group's sound transitioned to a broader style of psychedelic rock, incorporating styles such as garage rock, folk rock and, later, electronica into their sound. The act continue to experiment with musical styles.

The outfit was the subject of the 2004 documentary film Dig!, and have gained media notoriety for their tumultuous working relationships as well as the erratic behaviour of leader Newcombe.[4] The Brian Jonestown Massacre have released seventeen albums, five compilation albums, five live albums, thirteen EPs, sixteen singles as well as two various-artist compilation albums to date.


1993-1996: Early years

The band's name is a portmanteau on the name of founder and guitarist of the rock band The Rolling Stones and the infamous mass cult suicide in Jonestown, Guyana.[5][6]

The Brian Jonestown Massacre's debut album, Spacegirl and Other Favorites, was released in 1995 as a vinyl-only release, with a limited run of 500 copies.[7] The album includes "Hide and Seek", which was released in 1994. The band's follow-up album, Methodrone, was heavily influenced by the shoegaze genre that had gained prominence several years prior to its release.[] The album's ethereal rock sound is comparable to bands such as Galaxie 500, Spacemen 3 and My Bloody Valentine.[8] Two tracks from the album, "She Made Me" and "Evergreen", were released as a double A-side single in 1992.

The band went through an intense period of recording in 1996, releasing three full-length studio albums. Their Satanic Majesties' Second Request reflects a pastiche of 1960s psychedelia. The album also includes vast experimentation with a variety of different instrumentation including Indian drones, sitars, Mellotrons, farfisas, didgeridoos, tablas, congas, and glockenspiels.[9] The title of the album is a pastiche of the Rolling Stones' 1967 album Their Satanic Majesties Request.[10]

The band's second album released in 1996, Take It from the Man!, is rooted in rhythm and blues and is heavily influenced by The Rolling Stones.[11] The album includes the song "Straight Up and Down", which was later used as theme music for the HBO television drama series Boardwalk Empire (2010-2014).

The third and final album released that year was Thank God for Mental Illness. The album explores genres such as country and rhythm and blues, with vocals and acoustic guitar dominating the overall sound.[12] The album is divided into two parts, with the first part featuring mostly lo-fi, acoustic songs, whilst the latter half is a series of songs merged into one track named "Sound of Confusion". "Sound of Confusion" features both regular songs and more abstract sound collages.

1997-1998: Give It Back!, signing to TVT and Strung Out in Heaven

The Brian Jonestown Massacre released their sixth album, Give It Back!, in 1997. The album includes the track "Not If You Were the Last Dandy on Earth", a sardonic reply to The Dandy Warhols' single "Not If You Were the Last Junkie on Earth", which had been directed at the BJM. "Not If You Were the Last Dandy on Earth" was featured on the soundtrack to Jim Jarmusch's 2005 film Broken Flowers. Soon after the album's release, the BJM signed a multi-record deal with TVT Records.[12] This led to the release of the band's seventh full-length album, Strung Out in Heaven, in 1998. The album includes the track "Love", released as a CD single, with a demo of the song "Wasting Away" as a B-side in the same year. Strung Out in Heaven did not sell as many records as TVT had hoped, and they later mutually dissolved their remaining contractual obligations with the band.[]

1999-2005: Bring It All Back Home - Again, Bravery Repetition and Noise, And This Is Our Music and We Are the Radio

The band in 2004

In 1999, the band released an EP, Bringing It All Back Home - Again, the last release to feature band member Matt Hollywood, who left the band following an onstage argument.[13]

In 2001, the band released their eighth studio album, Bravery Repetition and Noise. It includes the track "Sailor", originally performed by The Cryan' Shames.

In 2003, the band released their ninth studio album, And This Is Our Music. And This Is Our Music featured greater contemporary music influences, such as electronic music.[] The album's title is a reference to the identically-titled, but distinct, albums This Is Our Music by the artists Galaxie 500 and Ornette Coleman.[]

In 2005, the band released the EP We Are the Radio on Newcombe's own label, The Committee to Keep Music Evil, which features a close collaboration with independent singer-songwriter Sarabeth Tucek.

2008-2017: Experimental music and recent releases

The Brian Jonestown Massacre released their tenth studio album, My Bloody Underground, in 2008 on Cargo Records. The album is directly inspired by the music made by bands My Bloody Valentine and The Velvet Underground.[14] The record contains a highly experimental approach, and was recorded in collaboration with Mark Gardener, formerly of Ride, who co-wrote the song "Monkey Powder". The Brian Jonestown Massacre recorded both the One EP and Who Killed Sgt. Pepper? in Iceland and Berlin in 2009.

An EP entitled One was released in November 2009 and features the tracks "One", "This Is the First of Your Last Warning" (which also appears on their next album, Who Killed Sgt. Pepper?), an English version of "This Is The First of Your Last Warning", and an exclusive track, "Bruttermania".

Who Killed Sgt. Pepper?, the band's eleventh studio album, was released in February 2010. It features musicians Unnur Andrea Einarsdottir (who recorded vocals on My Bloody Underground), Felix Bondareff from the Russian band Amazing Electronic Talking Cave, as well as the musician Will Carruthers. Soon after the album's release, it was confirmed that Matt Hollywood had returned to the band after an eleven-year absence. According to Anton Newcombe, he would feature on the band's next album and also toured with the band.[12]

The Brian Jonestown Massacre released the album Aufheben on May 1, 2012. Newcombe stated that the album's title relates to Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel's use of the term, whereby something is destroyed in order to preserve it.

Revelation, the band's thirteenth studio album, was released in May 2014. It is the first album to be fully recorded and produced at Anton Newcombe's recording studio in Berlin.[15] Stylistically, the album mixes the traditional Brian Jonestown Massacre sound with Eastern influences.[]

Their next album, Musique de Film Imaginé, was released on April 27, 2015. The album is conceived as a soundtrack for an imaginary French film, and pays homage to European film directors of the late 1950s and 1960s such as François Truffaut and Jean-Luc Godard. It was recorded in Berlin in August 2014.[]

In October 2016, the band released the album Third World Pyramid, which was preceded by the single "The Sun Ship".[16][17][18]


Along with Portland, Oregon alternative rock band The Dandy Warhols, The Brian Jonestown Massacre were the subjects of the 2004 documentary film Dig!.[19] The film captured a love-hate relationship between both bands, highlighting the interaction of Newcombe with his counterpart in the Warhols, Courtney Taylor-Taylor. The film was recorded over the course of seven years by filmmaker Ondi Timoner. Dig! won the Documentary Grand Jury Prize at the 2004 Sundance Film Festival.



Studio albums


  1. ^ Winter, Greg (October 13, 2003). "Brian Jonestown Massacre - And This Is Our Music". CMJ. New York City: CMJ. Retrieved 2016. 
  2. ^ a b Stiernberg, Bonnie. "The 50 Best Garage Rock Songs of All Time". Paste. Retrieved 2016. 
  3. ^ "Interview: The Brian Jonestown Massacre". Under the Radar. November 2, 2015. Retrieved 2016. 
  4. ^ Nashawaty, Chris (May 23, 2005). "Neo-Psych Out". Entertainment Weekly. 
  5. ^ Hopper, Kevin (January 2, 2004). "A timeless sound keeps psych-rockers BJM relevant". Albuquerque Journal. p. 15. 
  6. ^ Krause, Charles A (November 19, 2008). "Town Without Pity; 30 Years Later, Memories of Jonestown Evoke Guilt, Anger and Mistrust". The Washington Post. p. C.1. 
  7. ^ "The Brian Jonestown Massacre - Spacegirl and Other Favorites". LastFM. Retrieved 2017. 
  8. ^ Raggett, Ned. "Methodrone - The Brian Jonestown Massacre | Songs, Reviews, Credits | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 2016. 
  9. ^ Ankeny, Jason (1996-06-18). "Their Satanic Majesties' Second Request - The Brian Jonestown Massacre". AllMusic. Retrieved . 
  10. ^ Ankeny, Jason. "Their Satanic Majesties' Second Request". AllMusic. Retrieved 2011. 
  11. ^ Ankeny, Jason. "Take It from the Man!". AllMusic. Retrieved 2011. 
  12. ^ a b c Ankeny, Jason. "The Brian Jonestown Massacre | Biography & History | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 2016. 
  13. ^ Dig! (Motion picture). 2004. 
  14. ^ Lymangrover, Jason. "My Bloody Underground - The Brian Jonestown Massacre | Songs, Reviews, Credits | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 2016. 
  15. ^ "The Brian Jonestown Massacre "Revelation"- Cargo Records UK". Retrieved . 
  16. ^ "The Brian Jonestown Massacre announce new album". Crack Magazine. 2016-09-13. Retrieved . 
  17. ^ "Brian Jonestown Massacre deliver more of the same, which will keep most folks pretty happy". The Line of Best Fit. Retrieved . 
  18. ^ "Album Review: The Brian Jonestown Massacre - Third World Pyramid". DrownedInSound. Retrieved . 
  19. ^ "Dig!". The Guardian. Guardian News and Media Limited. 2012. Retrieved 2012. 

External links

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