Legendary psychedelic shoegaze band The Brian Jonestown Massacre are touring their latest LP Something Else in Australia this month, playing The Gov on June 3.
“I’m looking forward to it” says the Massacre’s Anton Newcombe, speaking to The Adelaide Review by phone from his home in Berlin.
“One of the songs in particular, I’m noticing how much it resonates with the people listening to it, which is a very beautiful thing to have happen at this late point of my life.”
The resonance of Something Else, the band’s 17th studio album, is almost indescribable, Newcombe says. “You know how… you can be at some sporting event and something happens and you just get this feeling and you get the feeling that everybody else in the place has that same feeling. It’s like one of those things, that I intuitively pick up on.”
Newcombe says Adelaide fans can expect a show that stands out from others. “The thing about us is that we can drop so many songs where other bands can’t… We can just drop in with some of our songs where people just look at their wristwatches and they’re like, ‘What just happened in the last two hours?’”
Reflecting on 28 years in the music industry, where he has always emphasised his ‘outsider-ness’ and resistance to commercialism, the 50-year old veteran recalls his decision at a young age to move from Newport Beach, California to San Francisco, where he formed the band.
“[Newport Beach] was a crazy, racist, Republican place. My great-grandparents founded the town. But I didn’t have any attachment to it… I mean I didn’t even meet any black people until I went to college. And that’s because of money.
“[I realised] this world that I saw when I was a child… it’s a bunch of BS, you know? I just knew that I would have to be a total — if you don’t mind me being rude — asshole to live there, even though my parents, my family owned all these houses I just knew it wasn’t me. So I split to San Francisco.”
Newcombe says that this feeling has stuck with him throughout his musical career, and he’s never put the money before the tunes.
“I don’t do it on commercial terms”, Newcombe says. “I sacrificed my twenties working for myself. My friends [were people like those who] started Facebook, you know? And I don’t see any of these people having any sort of vision about what to to with their money.”
Newcombe’s disappointment with the injustices of the world has been palpable throughout his career. Asked about the #MeToo movement, itself one of the pressing social justice issues facing the entertainment industry, Newcombe says he believes that, “men can amplify what’s right in this conversation, [with], just well-placed understanding.”
For the music industry, this might not be enough — in Australia alone, sexual harassment in the music industry has been called out as a serious issue, from figures including The Preatures’ Isabelle Manfredi and Kylie Minogue.
But there’s no doubt Newcombe sees himself as an ally: “It’s hard when you’ve got a pussy-grabber of a President. I mean I just want a minimum of decorum out of those clowns [politicians and others in positions of power].”
The Brian Jonestown Massacre
Sunday June 3