The Brian Jonestown Massacre: Something Else From The Twisted Genius


  • Written by 
  • Wednesday, 23 May 2018 17:16
Published in Music  
The Brian Jonestown Massacre tour Australia from 2 June, 2018. The Brian Jonestown Massacre tour Australia from 2 June, 2018.

Not in any of the 26 hypothesised dimensions could you find a more intriguing band than The Brian Jonestown Massacre (TBJM), nor a more enigmatic creative force than frontman Anton Newcombe.


In his time at the helm of TBJM, Anton has had many labels thrust upon him: songwriter, psychedelic revisionist, addict, twisted genius, megalomaniac and control freak.

Yet he deftly shuns them all, almost flippantly, to remain one of the enduring artists of our time. “One of the things I set out to do was I wanted to enter the lexicon as a person who kind of made it okay to validate themselves,” Anton says.

“Basically what I'm trying to help you understand is, I was really against some fat guy in an office going 'well, I don't really hear a hit so you can't play music', this kind of thing – especially if you're a teenager; who needs that, right?

“I don't care if my parents said 'you had a 168 IQ in kindergarten, smart guys don't play guitars' or anything. I didn't need permission to live my life, so I wanted to make that okay for everyone else.”


This is not a man possessed, grappling for any semblance of control; this is not the writhing, fiendish, self-aggrandising madman falsely portrayed in the 2004 documentary 'Dig!', a topic with Anton that should be approached with some caution.

This is an Anton Newcombe clear, focussed and motivated for what lies ahead for himself and TBJM, primarily the upcoming Australian tour.

In his own philosophically rambling way, Anton shares his thoughts and expectations for the trip. “Check it out,” he says. “I used to drink with this guy when I lived in Manhattan and he was an artist, and the way that I get up and write music every day – I go to my recording studio – he went to his painting studio.

“He had this really strange style. It wasn't super-detailed but it was great; if you could imagine a textbook or something with a woolly mammoth, some older '70s textbook; it wasn't the greatest picture, it was adequate, but he did a lot of these pictures, like hundreds of these paintings.

“He died two days ago so, long story short, I feel grateful to be anywhere and it's a real, great honour and privilege to be able to return to Australia and have some great shows.”

TBJM are here in June for headline shows as well as performances at VIVID Festival in Sydney. Anton says the sets will include songs from the extensive TBJM catalogue as well as from the new album 'Something Else', one of two TBJM albums he'll be releasing this year alone.

If nothing else, Anton lives up to his hard-earned reputation of being a prolific artist. “I came back from tour, a short little trip last year, and my manager was like 'ah, you have to do another record to be ready for these trips to Australia... by the end of the month,” he laughs dryly.


“I always love the guys that have been in the music business for 50 years who are like 'yeah, you're gonna do a record in a week'. They don't have to write and record a record,” he laughs again.

“It's so easy for your manager or record company to say something like that. So I spent three weeks on the couch just blowing off the deadline and then I put my nose to the grindstone.”

The Brian Jonestown Massacre new album 'Something Else' is released 1 June.


The Brian Jonestown Massacre Tour Dates

Sat 2 Jun - Metropolis (Fremantle)
Sun 3 Jun - The Gov (Adelaide)
Wed 6 Jun - The Northern (Byron Bay)
Thu 7 Jun - The Tivoli Theatre (Brisbane)
8-9 Jun - Metro Theatre (Sydney)
Sun 10 Jun - UniBar (Wollongong)
Tue 12 Jun - The Basement (Canberra)
Wed 13 June - Theatre Royal (Castlemaine)
Thu 14 Jun - Forum Melbourne

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