With Anton Newcombe

I was able to speak with Anton Newcombe, leader of the Brian Jonestown Massacre, before they play Levitation in Austin, and begin their US Tour. A Recordings have announced the June 1st release of the Brian Jonestown Massacre’s 17th album, Something Else. They promise another full length album within the year. The BJM has been very active since I last spoke to Anton Newcombe in 2014. They have toured heavily and have released several albums since Revelation in 2014. These albums include Musique de Film Imaginé (2015), Mini Album Thingy Wingy (2015), Third World Pyramid (2016) and Don't Get Lost (2017). In this interview, I focused on the present and the new album and tour. Previous history of the band has been explored in these previous interviews:


AL: It’s good to talk to you again. These interviews with you are always the most popular things on my site. Except for maybe Billy Idol….

Anton: He should change his name to Billy Fucking Idol. I have a funny story. One time we were playing in Stockholm. We are backstage with Chrissie Hynde. If you can imagine an office kitchen as part of the backstage. There is a table and a fridge. I turn around and there is Chrissie Hynde. And I am like “Oh Hi!” My drunken bass player Collin says “It’s Chrissie Hynde. What are you doing in Stockholm?” She says “I am a fucking rock star.” Pretty cool.

AL: When we all got into music in the 1970s, rock and roll music was still pretty new. Now with the internet you can listen to every obscure track from the 1930s until now.

Anton: It’s crazy now. When you are driving down the street in Liverpool. You see an old man in his 80s. If you think like I think, you go “That motherfucker could have been at the Cavern club easy.” Paul McCartney is 74, so that whole audience now is that age.

AL: The whole idea of “rock star” is fairly new. Does that have any meaning in 2018?

Anton: I don’t know. Everything is so weird. You watch the industry create those people continuously. A lot of people don’t know that Pitchfork is created by a record label. They didn’t want to pay to lubricate the system. Say that you are Warner Brothers and you want to deal with Rolling Stone Magazine. Say that you have 60 projects in one year. How many covers can you score in one year? Only so many. And then you have things like Vice Magazine and American Apparel and tandem projects. It’s a magazine that we don’t really have to pay for ads.

AL: In the last twenty years you have magazines that become record labels and have their own PR company.

Anton: It’s screwy how they tamper with things so much in the music industry. It’s started with The Beatles. They stopped them from touring America. They stopped a lot of bands having national exposure. They wanted to play the Beatles on the radio every hour. If you are one of these 500 bands you can’t be played because the radio was playing the Beatles every hour. They weeded shit out and stepped on stuff. There were so many great mod bands. There was The Who, The Small Faces, and The Eyes. You would think that there was this one thing happening, but really there were a lot of things happening. The industry has fucked itself. I get to watch that whole thing happen.

AL: You adopted the internet early on ….

Anton: I knew it was a scam anyways. That’s why I said I wanted to become a producer. I think the hiphop guys have got it right as far as dealing with the music industry. You have the rap mogul and all these other guys. With the new media, people have blogs. You put out a single and a website wants an exclusive of your video. They announce it on their twitter and their social media. The next hour they are talking about Beyonce at Coachella. So your lifespan on social media is nothing. At least with magazines, you were out for a month, and it was on someone’s table, and got passed around.

AL: What do you think of Todd Rundgren and Prince?

Anton: After Todd left The Nazz, he’s in his own world of stuff. My friend did a record with Todd Rundgren: it’s almost unlistenable. He’s a little different from Prince. When you see Sinead O’Connor covering that song, you see the purity of his idea and how powerful his ability to write was. It’s amazing what he was able to communicate in a universal way. It transcends all the stuff that I hated about him: all that laces and high heels. His sex show. They had their own scene in Minneapolis. All I have to say about the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and Rolling Stone Magazine: that shit isn’t for everyone anyways. Rolling Stone was relevant when they had writers like Hunter S. Thompson.

AL: In the 1980s, Rolling Stone became mainstream and started pushing safe bets like U2 and hair metal.

Anton: Yeah. The baby boomers had a lot of kids that came of age in the 1960s. There would have been a youth explosion in the 1960s if everyone, black and white, were united. There would have been a revolution. The Doors sang about “5 to 1” which meant the kids outnumbered the establishment. We could take over. It would have been great if that would have happened with Generation X, but they used MTV to fragment people. They forced people to listen to hair metal and raprock. They suppressed a lot of cool stuff like hiphop and bands who were only on 120 Minutes. There was more diversity on 120 Minutes than on MTV the rest of the week.

AL: How did you work on this new album?

Anton: I was working with this drummer. I felt like I could write a song with any of her beats. I invited her over to my studio and said “Play the beat to Hey Joe by Hendrix” and I would write a whole new song. I would make up stuff on the spot and knock out a song a day. It was cool because one day I had Anthony Bourdain over. I had a whole crew over. I cooked for fourteen people. I cooked two legs of lamb and produced a song all in one day. It was funny. It will be on CNN this summer.

AL: I saw one show with Asia Argento. I know you recorded some tracks with her. Also when I first saw BJM in 1998, playing at Bowery Ballroom with Mercury Rev, you were going out with actress Tara Subkoff. Both of them have been named in this movement against Harvey Weinstein. Since you were close to those actresses, were you aware of the situation around Weinstein and Miramax?

Anton: It’s crazier than that. I have another kid with the actress who was in Ghost Dog. I know Paz de la Huerta from Boardwalk Empire. I think that I know five people personally.

AL: Someone like Tara Subkoff. It seemed like her career was shortened. Did she make you aware of any of Weinstein’s behavior back then?

Anton: I didn’t know about him back then. Those dudes in LA will hire women to sit at a table, and they will sit at a desk. They will have a casting call over three days. They will have a thousand blonde girls between 19 and 25. They will all be 5-6. They will come in one after another. They will come in room, and some woman assistant will say “Show us your tits.” They will do that al, day. I probably mentioned to Tara that I couldn’t believe that she would put up with that sort of level of humiliation. You can just look at Harvey Weinstein and his characteristics, and look at his wife. How are these two people even in the same room? What was she thinking? Was she thinking they are going to have some nice looking kids?

AL: There are many bands from the 1990s that are playing exclusively to an older aging crowd that has followed them from the earliest albums. BJM on the other hand, seems to attract mostly this youth crowd that maybe wasn’t alive when you first started.

Anton: Totally. We are fortunate. Especially in Europe. When we played Prague, there was a busload of people who came from Bratislava. Same thing happened when played Budapest. College girls came in from the trains. They said “We are going to see this band because we love them.” How do they know that we exist? How do they know about this music? When we played Budapest, we were on national television. It’s just us on a Saturday night playing 22 songs on a boat. It’s crazy.

AL: You are one of the main acts in France.

Anton: I just recorded a record with Roman Polanski’s wife. I met Roman wife in Paris. It’s me and The Limiñanas backing Emmanuelle Seigner. It will come out later this year. She’s a great singer.

AL: I was reading about Greg Shaw recently in some rock history book. What do you think of his idea about Garage Rock vs Psychedelia?

Anton: That was cool. It started out when Greg Shaw was in High School. His dad got him a ditto machine. He did a fanzine about sci-fi comics. He was interviewing people like Phllip K Dick. He figured it out when he was a teenager. And then the Beau Brummels came out and he was into that.

AL: He was a supporter of Garage Rock and was against the expansion into psychedelic rock.

Anton: I am influenced by it all but it doesn’t have a face. They were all influenced by the blues and the echoes of that. The Standells “Dirty Water” is covering a lot of the same ground as The Rolling Stones and The Yardbirds. There is an overlap with the early American garage bands. All the natural organic stuff I really like. It’s folk music. It’s music by the people and for the people. Garage rock is a suburban thing. It’s not based in rock specifically. It’s more influenced by jamming in your parent’s garage.

AL: All the guitars were produced in California. Fender and Rickenbacker.

Anton: Yes.

AL: Hank Marvin of The Shadows had the first Fender guitar that he brought to England.

Anton: That’s funny. In the Tess Parks band, Roy Meehan, his father is Tony Meehan, who was the drummer of The Shadows. That’s another connection.

AL: It seems like many musicians start out in a pure place, and then get eaten out by the industry or the market place. Some of them may start out in the safety of the suburbs, or in the gospel choir. But it’s like they make a deal with the devil, and they are corrupted, and become bitter or worse. Have you any experiences like that?

Anton: There was a lot of stuff that couldn’t be shown in the movie DIG! The whole point of that movie was we had spy cameras. We filmed the whole process of the label courting me. They were sending people who were acting like scouts for Warner Brothers or Virgin. They were sending people who were in fact Swiss hookers. They would send this girl with a plastic bag of coke saying “I work for Interscope. I have a credit card. My boss is interested in signing you guys.” It was like that soon after we met the Dandy Warhols and there was a buzz around both bands. It was before Ondi Timoner came on the scene.

AL: What I like about Stiff Little Fingers is that they released a record with an independent label like Rough Trade. The punk bands before them all signed with the majors and it didn’t work. I don’t think BJM needed to be on a major label.

Anton: I was looking for a situation where I could record more stuff. I didn’t want labels dictating what I was going to do. They were telling me “We want you to be the next Kurt Cobain.” I was telling that “I didn’t want to be the next Kurt Cobain.” The problem I have with Echo and The Bunnymen when they started producing their own shit for an imaginary radio demographic in the 1980s, and all that reverb gated and that drum snare sound, is that it is a bad 1980s sound that dates everything. I like the real raw jazz thing. I like the sound of Jimi Hendrix’s first record. And then there’s question of how do you record a band like My Bloody Valentine? No record label could figure it out. There was no point of reference for a person like me to explain what I was interested in doing.

 All photos by BEV DAVIES

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Immersion (Wire's Colin Newman & Malka Spigel)

15 June 2018

Stream "Microclimate" at Stereogum 

Brighton-based duo Immersion, made up of Wire frontman Colin Newman & Minimal Compact's Malka Spigel will release their new album Sleepless, which will be released on June 15th via swim~
Sleepless is Immersion’s latest album, a suite of ten distinctive, unpredictable instrumentals that effortlessly encapsulate a range of emotions and energies. It follows 2016’s Analogue Creatures Living on An Island, which saw the duo return to the studio after a lengthy hiatus. The album received unanimous praise from reviewers. Wire Magazine described the album as “Genuinely lovely work" while Drowned in Sound called the release “A collection of seductive instrumentals that’s as sensual as it is hypnotic.”
Sleepless is at once a logical development from Analogue Creatures Living on An Island and a huge leap forwards. Although the influence of German krautrock pioneers like Tangerine Dream and Popal Vuh is still detectable, Immersion have evolved their own far more personal sound. Their amalgam of fascinating textures and limpid melodies gives their compositions an irresistible appeal.
While warmly percolating analogue synths remain at the heart of Immersion’s sound, Sleepless finds their sonic palette broadened to encompass guitars, drums and bass. There’s a guest appearance from Matt Schulz of Holy Fuck, too, and a collaboration with Gil Luz and Asi Weitz of EBM band Hexenschuss. For a duo who once titled an album Low Impact, this is most definitely Immersion in high-impact mode!
Album opener ‘Microclimate’ is a bright, optimistic composition with shades of Ulrich Schnauss in its thoughtful, melodic flow. ‘Off Grid’ kicks off with the infectious sound of a four-string tenor guitar, but it’s soon joined by flickering synth-lines and one of Spigel’s characteristically spacious bass-lines. In fact, Spigel’s bass work throughout the album may be the finest she’s ever committed to tape.
Just as you think you might be getting the measure of the album, the title track opens with a richly melancholic brass arrangement. But this is then eclipsed by an Eastern sounding melody and strangely circling guitar line. Like all Immersion’s best work, it’s simultaneously mysterious
and emotionally engaging.
‘Propulsoid’ has the kind of urgent electro-glide that might suggest Moon Duo or Suicide, but the core melody is unmistakably Immersion. The strict yet fluid drum pattern comes courtesy of Matt Schultz of Holy Fuck, who provides the track with a strong motorik drive.
‘Manic Toys’ is another distinctly up-tempo track, which comes across as a weird deep-space hoe-down, while ‘Seeing is Believing’ begins with dark synth tones suggesting we might be listening to the soundtrack to an early 1970s dystopian sci-fi film. But as the piece evolves, there is something of the bucolic splendour of Boards of Canada to be heard in the cycling rhythm and rich drones. Album closer ‘Io’ sees several looping celebratory melodies overlaid to create a mesh of sound that is elegiac and uplifting.
Sleepless is widescreen music – lush, detailed and smartly executed. In short, Immersion have produced an album that politely but firmly demands your attention.
Immersion Tour Dates 
06.08 - Brighton, UK @ RoseHill (NANOCLUSTER with Ulrich Schnauss) 
06.23 - Los Angeles, CA @  Bootleg Theatre *
06.24 - San Francisco, CA @ Cafe Du Nord 
06.26 - Portland, OR @ Doug Fir
06.27 - Seattle, WA @ Barboza
06.29 - Salt Lake City, UT @ Kilby Court
07.01 - Denver, CO @ Larimer Lounge 
07.03 - Kansas City, MO @ Record Bar
07.05 - Minneapolis, MN @ 7th St. Entry
07.06 - Chicago, IL @ Schubas *
07.07 - Detroit, MI @ Third Man Records Cass Corridor *
07.09 - Toronto, ON @ The Drake *
07.11 - Montreal, Quebec, Canada @ La Vitriola *
07.13 - Allston, MA @ Great Scott *
07.14 - Brooklyn, NY @ Rough Trade *
* with Matt Schulz of Holy Fuck on drums

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X JAPAN: Blows Away Coachella Crowd; Marilyn Manson Joins As Special Guest

Photos available for media usage: HERE
(Credit for all images: Courtesy of X Japan)
With intense vocals and instrumentals, a vibrant set design, outrageous fashion and people singing along loudly in Japanese, X Japan's set felt like stepping into a rock opera."
--Makeda Easter, LOS ANGELES TIMES (4/22/2018)
Legendary Japanese rock group X JAPAN made a triumphant return to the Coachella Music &  Arts Festival this past weekend (Saturday, April 21). As one of only a few rock artists performing at the festival, X JAPAN’s powerful rock performance and elaborate production thrilled the Coachella crowd with a rousing hard rock concert, pyrotechnics and special effects that delivered both surprises and guest stars. Mid set, YOSHIKI of X Japan welcomeMarilyn Manson on stage to perform“Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)” which the Los Angeles Times described as “…a haunting rendition” (4/22/18) of the Eurythmics’ classic. Guitarists Wes Borland (Limp Bizkit) and Richard Fortus (Guns N’ Roses) returned for Weekend Two along with holograms of X JAPAN’s two deceased members, Hide and Taiji. View the full X JAPANset list, as well as critical soundbites from the show and more below.
“It was such an honor to be part of this amazing festival, playing with so many great artists,” says YOSHIKI of X JAPAN. “Because of our time slot, I was sad I couldn’t see Beyoncé’s show, but at the same time I was shocked so many people showed up to support us. The mosh pits surprised me, too--the audience’s energy was unbelievable. There were so many rock fans onsite, let’s bring back rock to the mainstream, rock’s not dead. Thank you to our fans and Coachella from the bottom of my heart.”

Watch video of YOSHIKI’s performance with Marilyn Manson on Instagram HERE.

Marilyn Manson and YOSHIKI of X JAPAN perform at Coachella.
X JAPAN’s second Coachella performance capped off a frenzied media week which included a sold-out GRAMMY Museum event for the band’s award-winning documentary film WE ARE X (available on Hulu and iTunes) as well as YOSHIKI’sappearance with Steve Jones of the Sex Pistols on his show, “Jonesy’s Jukebox,” among others. Watch YOSHIKI’s interview with Steve Jones HERE.
X JAPAN-the most successful rock group in Japanese history-has sold over 30 million albums, singles and videos combined, and has sold out Japan’s 55,000-seat Tokyo dome a record 18 times captivating a wide range of admirers as Sir George Martin, KISS, Stan Lee, and the Japanese Emperor—all while pioneering a spectacle-driven style of fashion and visual rock called Visual Kei, a one-of-a-kind cultural phenomenon.
X JAPAN, led by composer, drummer, and pianist YOSHIKI, PATA (guitar), HEATH (bass), TOSHI (vocals) and SUGIZO (violin, guitar) are currently in the studio in Los Angeles completing their first full-length album in over 22 years, set for release in 2018.
X JAPAN performs with deceased members Taiji and Hide via hologram at Coachella 2018.
A mosh pit forms during X JAPAN at Coachella 2018.
YOSHIKI of X JAPAN greets the crowd at Coachella 2018.
Backstage at Coachella (L-R): Billy Idol, YOSHIKI of X JAPAN, Nile Rogers and David Byrne.

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Pete International Airport is the brainchild of Peter G. Holmström. Its name is borrowed from a song title by his other band, The Dandy Warhols. Pete International Airport's new album, 'Safer With The Wolves', is a meticulously crafted psych rock journey into the dark heart of electronica. The album’s 11 tracks feature guest singers from like-minded allies such as:The Black Angels, Daydream Machine, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Dark Horses, Hopewell and more, and isavailable now.  The 'Flowers Of Evilvideo was directed by Paul Dillon (Mercury Rev, Sparklehorse).
The live band consists of long-time collaborator Daniel Sparks, plus Tara Autovino and Jason Russo of Guiding Light.They are out on the road this month for select West Coast shows, followed by May dates with BRMC.
4/24 - San Francisco - Elbo Room
4/25 - Los Angeles - Harvard And Stone 
4/27 - Seattle - The High Dive
4/29 - Portland - Mississippi Studios (album release show)
with Black Rebel Motorcycle Club:
5/3 Nashville  - Marathon Music Works
5/4 Carrboro - Cat's Cradle
5/5 Atlanta - Terminal West (Shaky Knees After Show)
5/8 Orlando - The Beacham
5/9 Charlotte - The Underground
5/11 Jersey City - White Eagle Hall
5/12 Buffalo - Town Ballroom
5/13 Toronto - Phoenix Concert Theatre
5/15 Milwaukee - The Rave
5/16 Madison - Majestic Theatre
5/17 Omaha  - Slowdown
5/19 Aspen  - Belly Up

For more information please visit:

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Skating Polly Drops "Hollywood Factory" Video Dir. by Pancake Mountain | New LP Out 5/4 + on Tour Now

Skating Polly Drops Video for New Single “Hollywood Factory”

Spring Tour with Charly Bliss, Headline Run w/ Potty Mouth & Playing FYF Fest

New York, NY – April 24th, 2018 – Skating Polly is excited to drop the official music video for their new single “Hollywood Factory,” which was shot and directed by PBS kids punk rock show / production company Pancake Mountain in Los Angeles.  “Hollywood Factory” is available for purchase and streaming this Friday April 27th via all DSPs and is from the band’s forthcoming studio album The Make It All Show – due out May 4th on El Camino Media.  The punk rock trio also kicks-off a string of headline dates today, which lead into a Midwest tour with Charly Bliss in May, and a headline run in June supported by Potty Mouth – Skating Polly will then return to Los Angeles in July with an appearance at FYF Fest alongside the likes of Janet JacksonThe XXSt. VincentFuture and more.

We first wrote Hollywood Factory after I filmed a pilot for a tv show and the possibility of it getting picked up was all I could think about for a while. The lyrics were meant to poke fun at the idea of going to Hollywood and selling out, or at least trying to sell out if Hollywood will have you. Anyway, it didn't get picked up and we kinda swept the song under the rug with it but right before we went in to record the album, we decided to work on it again, this time with Kurtis on board as our third member. We made the lyrics darker at some points and just more sarcastic overall. Despite the sarcasm, It's probably the most poppy song on the record and the most cheerful one for sure! – Kelli Mayo

The Make It All Show sees the band tapping producer Brad Wood, who also helmed 2017’s melody-rich New Trick EP, for 11 new tracks that expand on Skating Polly’s ever-growing dynamics.  The higher highs and lower lows are further bolstered by the sibling trio’s tightknit songwriting, with Kelli Mayo and Peyton Bighorse trading-off lead vocal duties flawlessly, andKurtis Mayo making his album debut and driving its cadence with the maturity of a musician twice his age.  The Make It All Show also has Skating Polly reuniting with former producer and tour-mate Exene Cervenka, who co-wrote the lead single “Queen For A Day,” which NPR says “drips with punk sensibilities: from Kelli Mayo's snarling vocal performance to the simple and stripped down verses leading into the thrashing of guitars on the chorus.”

The LA-centric video for “Hollywood Factory” is out now, complete with synchronized dancing, pool parties, and a ’65 Mustang – Skating Polly recently stopped by Seattle’s alternative station107.7 The End (who premiered the cut this morning) for a performance and interview on theLocals Only show. The single is available this Friday via all DSPs and is from the band’s forthcoming 5th full-length The Make It All show, which you can pre-order HERE via El Camino Media.  Be sure to catch the band on the road this Spring and Summer, dates with Charly Bliss, Potty Mouth and more can be found below. As always, stay tuned to www.skatingpolly.com for all up-to-date information.

Confirmed Tour Dates
April 24th @ Neurolux in Boise, ID ^
April 25th @ Kilby Court in Salt Lake City, UT ^
April 27th @ The House Café in Dekalb, IL ^
April 28th @ Rumba Café in Columbus, OH ^
April 29th @ Melody Inn in Indianapolis, IN ^
May 2nd @ The Camel in Richmond, VA %
May 3rd @ Kings in Raleigh, NC %
May 4th @ Tin Roof in Charleston, SC ^
May 5th @ Jack Rabbits in Jacksonville, FL ^
May 6th @ Vinyl in Pensacola, FL %
May 8th @ Stubb’s Indoor in Austin, TX %
May 9th @ Three Links in Dallas, TX %
May 11th @ Marquis Theater in Denver, CO %
May 12th @ Black Sheep in Colorado Springs, CO %
May 14th @ RecordBar in Kansas City, MO %
May 15th @ Raccoon Motel in Davenport, IA %
May 17th @ Empty Bottle in Chicago, IL %
May 18th @ Loving Touch in Ferndale, MI %
May 19th @ Horseshoe Tavern in Toronto, ON %
June 1st @ Opolis in Norman, OK *
June 2nd @ Replay Lounge in Lawrence, KS *
June 3rd @ Monocle in St. Louis, MO *
June 5th @ High Watt in Nashville, TN *
June 6th @ Milestone Club in Charlotte, NC *
June 7th @ DC9 in Washington, DC *
June 8th @ Mercury Lounge in New York, NY *
June 9th @ Kung Fu Necktie in Philadelphia, PA *
June 10th @ Once Lounge and Ballroom in Somerville, MA *
June 12th @ Funhouse at Mr. Small’s in Pittsburgh, PA *
June 13th @ Grog Shop in Cleveland, OH *
June 15th @ Lee’s Liquor Lounge in Minneapolis, MN *
June 16th @ Reverb in Omaha, NE *

^ Headline | % w/ Charly Bliss | * Headline w/ Potty Mouth

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Violent Femmes announce tour dates with Echo & The Bunnymen



Expanding on the massive success of last year's tour, the one and only Violent Femmes have added co-headline summer tour dates with Echo & The Bunnymen. These new dates begin July 12 at San Antonio, TX's Tobin Center and continue through the month. All dates will go on sale on April 27 at 12pm EST with the exception of the show at Nashville's Ryman Auditorium, which goes on sale on May 4 at 10am CST. For complete details about Violent Femmes' full summer tour route, please see vfemmes.com/tour.

ON TOUR 2018

12 - San Antonio, TX - Tobin Center %
13 - Austin, TX - ACL Live Moody #
14 - Houston, TX - Revention Music Center %
15 - Irving, TX - The Pavilion at Toyota Music Factory #
17 - Nashville, TN - Ryman Auditorium %
18 - State Bank Amphitheater - Atlanta, GA #
20 - Lake Buena Vista, FL - House of Blues %
21 - St. Augustine, FL - Saint Augustine Amphitheatre #
23 - Richmond, VA - The National %
24 - Norfolk, VA - Norva #
25 - Washington, DC - The Anthem %

% - Echo & The Bunnymen close
# - Violent Femmes close

Violent Femmes' always busy live schedule follows last year's release of 2 MICS & THE TRUTH: UNPLUGGED & UNHINGED IN AMERICA (PIAS), a remarkable collection of unprecedented live recordings available now at all music retailers and streaming services.

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