Anton Newcombe

By: Jerrold Freitag
August 29, 2014


Multi-instrumentalist bandit, psychonaut, and founder frontman of San Francisco’s late ’80s band Brian Jonestown Massacre ANTON NEWCOMBE (born 1967) is an uncompromising virtuoso. He’s firmly on the psychedelic genealogy of rock philosophy and sound, claiming no singular point or message for music other than to expand the mind — but that it must. Some were introduced to BJM via 2004’s Dig! rockumentary, which reduced Newcombe to a yelling, drugging, ranting, fighting caricature. But with or without the drugs, Newcombe amasses fine, numerous, testy, impressive layers of guy-guitar harmonies — stopping when it’s not right, and winding the group back into the best wall of sound possible on a stage. A true tinkerer, the music on which Newcombe is currently working progresses by incorporating foreign harmonies, other voices, instruments, languages, places, art and artists; tellingly, his 2012 Aufheben album is titled after Hegelian dialectic resolution. Beyond the writing, Newcombe engineers and produces music; and he has his own label. In his lyrics and interviews there may be passion, pain, uncertainty and struggle, but the music stays groovy. Bitte, Herr Newcombe, spiele nur und wir werden kommen.


On his or her birthday, HiLobrow irregularly pays tribute to one of our high-, low-, no-, or hilobrow heroes. Also born this date: Preston Sturges, Yasuji Tanioka, Meshell Ndegeocello, Charlie Parker, Michael Jackson.

READ MORE about members of the Reconstructionist Generation (1964–1973).


HiLo Heroes, Music