Ondi Timoner’s wildly entertaining documentary tells a familiar rock n’ roll tale, one filled with crazy nights, substance abuse, out-of-control parties, temper tantrums, art-versus-commerce debates, musical differences, onstage fights, and smashed sitars. What makes DIG! so electrifying is that you see it all unfold in front of the cameras, as Timoner follows the highs and lows of two bands – the Brian Jonestown Massacre and the Dandy Warhols – over the course of seven years.
The eye of this hurricane is BJM frontman Anton Newcombe, a walking anachronism and true believer who seems straight out of 1968 and worships at the altar of the Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, and Love. Part genius, part snake-oil salesman, part megalomaniac, Newcombe truly believes the BJM are here to start a full-scale rock revolution. He picks the Courtney Taylor-led Dandy Warhols, with their similarly punning name and druggy riffs, as allies in the war.
The Dandys have just signed with Capitol Records as DIG! begins in 1996, and the BJM looks to be the target of a major-label bidding war. But a showcase at L.A.’s Viper Room before a crowd of A&R people quickly turns into an onstage brawl involving nearly every member of the band. It’s indicative of what’s to follow: As the Dandys’ career takes off, Newcombe’s admiration for Taylor turns to jealousy and spite, and the BJM burns through band members like disposable lighters.
Watch the full documentary now (playlist – 1 hour, 47 minutes)