Synopsis by Josh Ralske
Courtney Taylor of the Dandy Warhols provides the narration for Ondi Timoner's DIG!, which documents the divergent paths of two rock bands with similar influences. While the Warhols, self-described as the "most well-adjusted band in America," sold a lot of records in Europe before achieving commercial success in the U.S., the Brian Jonestown Massacre, led by the mercurial Anton Newcombe, self-destructed in an orgy of drug abuse and internal squabbling. Timoner followed the groups' fortunes for about seven years. In the late '90s, the groups met, and Taylor forged a friendship with Newcombe, whom he greatly admired. The bands often played together, and while BJM were being courted for a seemingly surefire major label deal, the Warhols signed with Capitol. As Timoner documents, the record deal and its attendant perks marked the beginning of a rift between the bands, as BJM members seemed to resent the Warhols' success, while the Warhols seemed all too willing to rely on their association with their out-of-control counterparts in BJM to gain a certain punk credibility. Timoner focuses more heavily on the antics of Newcombe and his band, capturing a spectacular meltdown at an industry showcase, a poorly planned tour that finds the band playing a ten-hour show for an audience of around ten people, and an embarrassing drug bust on the road. Eventually, the division between the former friends reaches the point where BJM puts out a record attacking the Warhols, and Newcombe, struggling with a life-threatening drug problem, begins stalking them at their shows, either in a misguided attempt to gain publicity or with sincere ill will. DIG! won the Grand Jury Prize for Best Documentary at the 2004 Sundance Film Festival, and was selected for the 2004 edition of New Directors/New Films.
band [music group], rival, rock-music, alternative-rock, competition, music-scene, friendship, music-industry