Named in tribute to the legendary Rolling Stones guitarist and his influence in introducing Eastern culture and music into the world of Western rock and roll, the Brian Jonestown Massacre formed in San Francisco, California in 1990. Some 40 different members passed through the group »s ranks over the next half of the decade, but throughout their focal point remained singer/guitarist Anton Newcombe, who along with bassist Matt Hollywood, guitarist Dean Taylor, organist Mara Keagal, accordionist Dawn Thomas, drummer Brian Glaze and Spokesman for the Revolution Joel Gion recorded the Massacre »s 1995 shoegazer-influenced debut LP Methodrone.
A collection of early recordings, Spacegirl and Other Favorites, followed on the band »s own Tangible label in early 1996, and was the first of four Brian Jonestown Massacre LPs to appear that year; next up was the brilliant Their Satanic Majesties » Second Request, a full-blown homage to the Stones » glorious psychedelic-era excesses. Recorded live in the studio, the grittier Take It From the Man! found the band exploring even broader territory; finally, the year ended with the release of Thank God for Mental Illness, a showcase for strong country and blues leanings. In 1997, the BJM — now consisting of Newcombe, Hollywood, Gion, Taylor, guitarists Jeff Davies and Peter Hayes, and drummer Brad Artley — resurfaced with Give It Back! Upon signing to TVT, they released Strung Out in Heaven the following year, but the band and Newcombe »s eccentricities kept them from staying on the label.
After a few scattered EPs, they resurfaced in 2001 with Bravery Repetition and Noise, distributed by Bomp. And This Is Our Music followed in 2003. Despite a continued lack of major distribution, the Brian Jonestown Massacre earned the largest profile of its career in 2004, when it became the unlikely focus of an award-winning documentary, DIG!, which charted the trials of Newcombe and those of his rival, Courtney Taylor, leader of the Dandy Warhols. We Are the Radio: The Mini Album followed in August 2005.
Jason Ankeny, All Music Guide