Originally hailing from San Francisco, the Brian Jonestown Massacre’s swirling layers of guitars and tambourine first hit mainstream attention with the release of 2004’s Dig!, a monumental piece of rockumentary film depicting the band’s honest yet chaotic form of rockstar mayhem as they navigated the famous L.A psych scene with compatriots, The Dandy Warhols. In this time they defined their space outside of the music industry as a brilliantly prolific recording outfit – with the likes of the fan-favourite albums Thank God for Mental Illness (1995) and Their Satanic Majesties’ Second Request (1996) – as well as cutting their teeth as one of the U.S’ most rebellious live acts thanks to their infamous touring show.
Still spearheaded by the band’s defacto leader and creative whirlwind Anton Newcombe, they are currently preparing to release their 20th studio album, The Future is Your Past.
Coming off of the back of a career-defining last decade (by most bands’ standards!) – including eight LPs and one mini-album – the San Fran psychonauts continue to stake their claim as a part of an illustrious group of bands – including The Fall and King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard – who share a similarly extreme level of output. This new gift from the Jonestown will join the top of a pile consisting of 19 studio albums, 14 Eps, five live albums, six compilation albums, and 18 singles. The newest editions are the singles ‘Fudge’and the eponymous ‘The Future is Your Past’; being true to form they are brilliantly anthemic editions to the ever-expanding Massacre catalogue.
They are the definition of a working band – a dream for the eager listener.
Having last hit the city of Manchester in October 2018, the Jonestown are returning with – as is to be expected of Newcombe steering the ship – a rejuvenated line-up, including the likes of new drummer Uri Rennert and the return of Collin Hegna (of the spaghetti-western tinged Federale fame) on bass duties. The band are completed with founding member Ricky Maymi (guitar), Hákon Aðalsteinsson (guitar), Ryan Van Kriedt (keyboards and guitar) and of course, the tambourine-master himself, Joel Gion.
Summed up beautifully in their press release, “There is no such thing as a defining statement in Anton Newcombe’s world anymore, just more chapters that contribute to the tale.”
To miss this brilliantly unique band on tour is to miss a generational talent – the true burning fire of Californian psychedelia. Unfortunately, tickets to see them at Manchester’s O2 Ritz are sold out for February 4, so if you’re without a ticket, you’ve got until next time these psychedelic troubadours roll into town.
But for now, Anton Newcombe “will keep jumping in that fire. That’s how he rolls. Savour it.”