I have a total girl crush on Zia McCabe, the keyboardist/tambourine player of The Dandy Warhols. Courtney Taylor-Taylor's not such a chore to look at, either. Nevermind the fact that their music is catchy, fun, and just psychedelic enough to make you feel a little dangerous.
Then there's the rogue fascination swirling around in my curious little head over Anton Newcombe, the frontman of The Brian Jonestown Massacre, who is something of a mad musical scientist hellbent on self-destruction and infamy. Think 1 part charismatic cult leader, 1 part brazen Britpopper, and 1 part random homeless guy camped out on Nebraska Avenue in a pair of dusty corduroys, shake well, and you've got Anton. It isn't difficult to imagine him sitting under an overpass, strumming a banjo, frequently frothing at the mouth with hallucinogenic gibberish addressed to an imaginary audience of regal gents and questionable women. Intrigued yet?
Myself an independent female filmmaker, I was pumped to check out DIG!, a seven year odyssey of creation, destruction, and music filmed and compiled by Ondi Timoner, a friend of both bands and herself a prominent music video director and documentarian, who graduated cum laude from Yale University. What I wasn't prepared for was the pristine attention and fine-tooth precision with which Ondi lauded her subjects. Imagine seven years of footage, painstakingly acquired and sorted through, woven into a rich tapestry of intimacy and exposure.
It's difficult to translate the DIG! experience into a neat little package of few words. The film at times follows the volatile friendship between The Dandies and The Massacre as they record, tour and feed off each other's rampant eccentricities. At other times, the film follows the nightmarish descent into hallucinogenic narcissism of Newcombe as he fires his band, picks fights with fans, and ultimately comes apart at the seams right before our eyes.