Monday, December 7, 2009


Thursday, May 08, 2008 

"You know what? Fuck him. If Anton can say to NME that we were a bunch of molested bedwetters, you can print that stuff about him and Kevin Shields," says Ricky Maymi, long-time guitarist of Brian Jonestown Massacre during a particularly heated discussion about the release of the band's new album. Anton Newcombe is legendary among music circles, not only for his inadvertant starring role in the 2004 Ondi Tiamner film DiG! that concerned the history of BJM and the Dandy Warhols, but for his erratic behaviour, ability to channel 60s-garage rock better than almost anyone else on the planet, and unwillingness to compromise creatively, regardless of consequences. It's fair to say there is little he fears. Working with Anton for longer than most, Maymi is a rare confidente and performer in several other bands including The Triffids, The Church, The Clean and Koolaid Electric Company.

"I'm not particularly fond of the name." he says before pausing for a long time, contemplating the simultaneous 'fuck you' and homage to his friend Kevin Shields' band My Bloody Valentine that the name constitutes.

"There was some talk about Anton recording with Kevin Shields at one point who said: 'That's great Anton, but I want to work with the band. The band has a sound live that isn't represented on any of the records and I want to capture that'. He was interested in the idea of working with us - US - and that's easier said than done. It all looks good on paper but in reality it's not that easy to make happen for a multitude of reasons. It would be a matter of getting the band in the studio, playing new material and recording it live, and that sounds like a simple enough thing to do, but it's just not."

Opening up, Maymi, continues "OK. Last year, northern hemisphere summer, BJM do a tour of England which ends in July. Anton says: 'Right, we'll go to the studio in Liverpool, the whole band, and we're gonna record an album as a band.' And I think that he's into this idea because he knew my mate Kevin expressed interest in doing that. As it turned out the whole band couldn't make it, so that got turned into 'well if you can't all make it then none of you are going to make it - except for the drummer'. He sort of alluded to wanting the rest of us involved but he couldn't give us a date or a time-frame. I can't be standing by in Liverpool for X amount of days wondering if or when something is going to happen and not even knowing how long it will be if it does. So I just assumed that it wasn't happening and the same went for the other guys who were available. He ended up going to Liverpool and doing a couple of songs with our drummer," Maymi continues, "I don't think those are going to be on the album I think that's the start of another album he does want to do with the band so hopefully that will come to light."

"Then Anton decided he wanted to go to Iceland: 'Hey I'm here in Iceland recording. I just flew Mark Gardener [of UK band Ride] up here to do a track with me. I want you, Ricky, to get Kevin Shields and bring him to Iceland, and I will reward you'. I didn't even bother to ask what the reward was - I'm not after any rewards, and I'm not going to try and coax a friend of mine - whoever he might happen to be - into doing something he has only expressed an interest in not doing. So I told Kevin and he said 'well, for how long?' and I said 'I don't know'. It seemed abstract and far-fetched to us, and, as it turned out I was committed to other bands and those had solid timelines, whereas recording with Anton does not, and I can't be standing by spending pounds when I have other bands waiting, so I said to Anton ' I can't make it.' And I think he knew right there that Kevin wasn't coming. Kevin wasn't going to come anyways but he certainly wasn't going to come without me. So I think he kind of resented me and Kevin a bit, hence the title. And every conversation after that was like: 'I'm doing stuff that Kevin Shields can't do without a million pedals, I'm doing it with NONE.'

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