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Brian Jonestown Massacre's 'Anton Newcombe' On Oasis' Experience With Crystal Meth And More

Taken from an interview from Clash Music with Anton Newcombe from the Brian Jonestown Massacre, read the full article here.

How does performing live with the band now compare to the 90s?

They’re different. It was like The Jesus and Mary Chain when we started out. There was nothing like us. There was nothing to compare it to and there was a riot at every show because it was really like The Rolling Stones when they started and the youth energy. Nobody had a release like that in that way. And so people would tip the tables, but they weren’t angry… It was just like, “Holy shit,” and they’d bang their head in to the wall, or something and they weren’t punkers. And it was just this explosion.

There was a lot of animosity coming at us because they were like, “You’re The Monkees, you’re just trying to be Oasis.” And it was, like, not even close.

And we would fight back and just go bananas. It was psychotic, you know. Like when we opened up for Oasis’ first show we played three fifteen minute long songs that were just… not boring, like psychotic. Like, Spaceman 3 and The Stooges and My Bloody Valentine and The Velvet Underground all at once, but somebody who’s really fucking high on life going mental. You know what I mean?

I love that.

And as amazing as those guys were, or whatever… They talk about it as that being when the first break-up was. They talk about the speed incident when Noel split and did a runner because they were too high to function? Well, Joel [Gion] whipped out a bag and he gave a tiny little… Because they asked him, “Can you get any sniffs?” and Joel’s like, “I got some.” And he gave him the tiniest little grain on the table and they’re like, [in an English accent] “Fuck off, mate!” Joel’s like, “You don’t wanna mess with this.”

And it was just like Withnail & I. And those guys didn’t sleep for days. It fucked their show and we just came on and tore it up and the next night they tried to recover in Sacramento and we showed up, because we were supposed to be doing that one too and they were just like, “Fuck you. Get outta here.” And I was just like, “Where do I put my gear?” I refused and I just walked up…

There were three bands on the bill in this big hall and I just walked up to the other band and said, “I’ll give you nine-hundred bucks and you can open up for me in San Francisco. It’s already sold out. We’re just gonna walk up on stage right out of the audience and grab your gear and we’ll knock out three songs.” And then we just played super fast, old school, before I broke my wrist. It was this crazy energy of That Girl Suicide in Sister Ray-style. Just mental. And phenomenal. And those guys were a wreck. And that was it. That’s when Noel did a runner.

What happened?

He got to LA, but those guys were still up in LA and couldn’t even make it through that show in LA and that’s when he did the runner and went back to San Francisco. But that’s how high they were off the speed… And I wasn’t on anything. It wasn’t my thing. Because they did a whole gram of, like, pure crystal meth, or whatever, because they thought it was just cheap 5% coke from London.

They tell an abridged version of that in the Supersonic documentary.

The full version is something else. Yeah, of course. But the cool part about it is the minute they were describing what happened, I was like, “Holy shit. I didn’t realise that it broke up the band.” Like, we broke up their band…

The place was just full of everybody from England. It was in a tiny place in San Francisco. Blur were playing with Pulp in a place where they have tennis matches indoors – Bill Graham Center – so the place that Oasis would want to be showing off was taken by Pulp and Blur, like the 10,500 seater, or whatever. So they were playing in a 350 seater, coming from Tokyo where it was mental and landing on a plane at the first show where they were like, “We’re taking over the fucking world!” And it’s just like this tiny room, if you were lucky…

Noel was screaming in my face, [impersonating Noel] “I know for a fact you never fucking practice. How dare you. We never even left the studio for two years.” And I was just like, “Fuck you man. You play the same exact equipment at Slash. If you fucking plug a Gibson guitar with a fucking Boss pedal in to a Marshall amp, you sound exactly like Guns N Roses. It’s not The Beatles. Suck my dick.”

And that’s what I said right to his face. “Fuck you. You’re not The Beatles.”

Did he have a comeback?

What could he say to that? I unbuttoned my pants and I had the mic on my pubes the whole time, doing an Iggy while we were playing Hyperventilation… We cut my friend’s video tape and Liam walks on stage and he’s kissing the mic. And then for months, we were watching that video and just laughing. And if I could have gotten his permission it would have been in Dig. I would have used that VHS cassette…

Now let me just explain one thing. I could take any track that Liam ever sang, his mystical quality - exactly like Tim Burgess - they sing atonal and I could write amazing fucking music. I could write totally different things. It wouldn’t matter what the key is, see. Like when I remixed The Charlatans, it doesn’t matter if it’s a country song. I’ll turn it in to a soul song in a different key and I don’t even change the vocals. I just call it as I hear it. He’s a mystical being. There’s no joke about that. And there’s no joke about the qualities that Noel has that are the real deal, but not all of it…

Like, I would love to get [Paul] Weller to do a record like 'Are You Experienced?' And kick Noel the fuck out of the way and say, “Let’s get real. You’re actually a legendary guitar player. Let’s invite twenty friends. Noel can sit on the floor – if he’s quiet.” You know? And produce it as is and do it like that. That would be great. Because I thought 'Wild Wood' was spectacular – especially live. And I’d like to see that, rather than everybody just going, “Well, you’ve earned this.”

Source: Clash Music

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