This interview was done in the last part of 2000. But now Anton Newcombe and BJM are as vital as ever. Even Iggy Pop and Patti Smith have become fans. Check out Anton in action. His wit is alive as ever. BJM will be touring in America starting July 15th.
Still Strung Out in Heaven
by Alexander Laurence
BJM formed in San Francisco about ten years ago. I saw Anton Newcombe and his friends play a few shows at some small clubs and obscure bars. A few years later I found out that they had moved to LA and had released a bunch of records. When the breakthrough Strung Out in Heaven came out about two years ago, BJM turned the sound of the Stones circa 1968 upside down by adding a unique style of drone. Anton Newcombe has always been a mysterious figure. He is articulate and well spoken in interviews and seems to have an opinion on every subject. I met up with him in Hollywood, right after he finished a few shows with The Dandy Warhols. BJM had just completed a tour of Canada as well. They have a new CD out called ZERO.
Jeff has another band called Smallstone. Joel was down here when we played with The Dandy Warhols. As far as line up changes: different people have different goals in their lives. It's not everyone's goal to be stuck in a van touring. Roughing it to make records. I always chose to make records and play with my friends rather than "I want to be a rock star" sort of people. I always play with different people.
We're in Pink Floyd land or something. Basically we try to make up a good set. The way we sound live, if we play our songs right, is better than we can ever record it. It has its own experience. It's good that we play well. It's usually better than the recorded experience. That's a neat thing. We don't even have to play the songs on the record. It's just good live music. That wall of guitars. I like it.
I don't listen to Radiohead because I don't need them. I am already writing my own music that fulfills the same headspace that you would look for in that kind of art. I'm not too interested. Then I have to compare it to everything else that is out there. Of course I dig Radiohead more than Slipknot.
Kid Rock mixes up genres and he's funny. I respect the fact that Kid Rock worked his way up from the trailer park or whatever. But I don't respect Eminem for cursing a lot about the way he says he's going to beat up fags and his wife. It doesn't mean anything to me. It's completely retarded. I just pretend that everyone is speaking Chinese.
Eminen's records are never as appealing as Dr. Dre's, even though Dre produces all his shit.
I just wipe my ass with most urban contemporary culture. I think it's elementary. It doesn't move my brain whatsoever. If someone asked me to go on tour with Korn, Outkast, and Limp Biscuit, I wouldn't go. I wouldn't have a good time. But in a situation like Reading, or a European festival, sure I would play with those bands. For me it's about the music. Less about knowing how to do Kung Fu and beating the shit out of someone on MTV. Obviously I don't make a lot of money. I don't have strippers lined up around the corner waiting to give me blowjobs because of my music. I have been doing it since 1990 because I like music despite lineup changes and bad press.
It was the Hollywood Bowl and it was five bucks to get in. You can bring booze and sit and listen to your favorite records. That was one of the best concerts I've seen in a long time. That and Primal Scream in LA. It was great.
Primal Scream is really popular in Europe. I know those guys and they're really cool. It's amazing that their record was really house-y, like DJs produced it, but when they played live, they came off like every great band in their peak. One song sounded like PIL at their greatest time, the next song was like New Order, blazing with a different attitude. It was amazing. I had seen them before when they had all the black chicks onstage and I was bored out of my head. It was a soul revue. What the fuck? They were going through a bad phase.
US dates w/Quarter After
15 * Bottom of the Hill * San Francisco CA *
16 * Old Ironsides * Sacramento CA *
18 * Velvet Room w/ The Warlocks * Salt Lake City UT *
19 * Larimer Lounge w/ The Warlocks * Denver CO *
20 * Larimer Lounge w/ The Warlocks * Denver CO *
22 * 400 Bar * Minneapolis MN *
23 * The Patio (Midwest Music Summit) * Indianapolis IN *
24 * Lollapalooza Festival * Chicago IL *&* Official Lollapalooza After Party - The Dark Room *
25 * Little Brothers * Columbus OH *
26 * Grog Shop * Cleveland OH *
27 * THE PHOENIX * Toronto ON *
28 * El Salon * Montreal QC *
29 * TT The Bears * Cambridge MA *
30 * Bowery Ballroom * New York NY *
31 * Bowery Ballroom * New York NY *
2 * MAXWELLS * hoboken NJ *
3 * KHYBER * PHILADELPHIA PA *
4 * DC9 * Washington D.C. *
5 * Local 506 * Chapel Hill NC *
6 * Earl * Atlanta GA *
7 * Will's Pub * Orlando FL *
10 * TwiRoPa * New Orleans LA *
11 * Walter's On Washington * Houston TX *
12 * The Parish (formerly The Mercury) * Austin TX *
13 * TREES * Dallas TX *
15 * Launchpad * Albuquerque NM *
16 * Plush * Tucson AZ *
17 * Casbah * San Diego CA *
18 * Vanguard Theater * Los Angeles CA *
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