Ondi Timoner’s 2004 documentary Dig! bursts to a start with the psychedelic sounds of The Brian Jonestown Massacre. Band leader Anton Newcombe struts down the sidewalk in motorcycle boots and pledges to kick off a musical revolution. Who’s narrating? None other than Courtney Taylor-Taylor, lead singer of The Dandy Warhols. “Anton was my friend and my enemy, the greatest inspiration, and ultimately, the greatest regret,” he says.
The movie follows The Brian Jonestown Massacre and The Dandy Warhols’ wild journey toward indie rock stardom. The highs include both bands’ initial attention from record labels, who court band members in swanky NYC restaurants and promise them lavish success. Each band gets their own reality check, from record labels’ broken promises to hilarious fights with “mega-celebrity” fashion photographers.
In the end, Dig! is a time capsule of an ultra-specific era of the music industry. When interviewed by The Guardian years later, Anton Newcombe said, “The postscript of Dig! is that the whole industry collapsed.” In hindsight, the signs of impending doom are all over the 2004 film. What also can’t be denied is both bands’ talent, charisma, and admiration for each other (even when they aren’t on speaking terms).