Monday, January 3, 2011


Living in the Lower Haight of San Francisco in the back of a record store specializing in experimental music in the early 90's came with its own set of odd occurrences, events and individuals. We had quite a few neighborhood regulars who would come in, share a cup of coffee and listen to a few minutes of music to escape the city outside and share their art, ideas, grievances and sometimes just wait for their laundry to finish drying up the block.

One of my very regular visitors during that time period was Anton, my neighbor from across the road. I was never sure if he really lived across the road, above the cafe or was one of the many artists and musicians who hung out across the street, either way it was a regular location for one of the regular people in our not-so-regular neighborhood. I liked Anton, he was clever and quick, well versed in his music and always in an impish mood even when disappointed or angry. I also enjoyed talking to Anton because he had wild ideas, was rather ambitious and was not going to be stopped - he was also quite high, quite often but was harmless.

Anton hung out with musicians and artists- he was a musician and artist and spoke often about "the best band he could ever put together. It would be waaaay out there , bigger than anything - not the manufactured slick British 'babyfood' but something supremely psychedelic and broad but accessible and dangerous". I didn't doubt Anton or his ability to do this. He had already produced one of my favorite cassette releases at the time entitled "Psalm 93 - Child of 60 Bitches".

For a homespun release, Psalm 93 had a production value that very few DIY cassettes had at the time...and a vision. Anton understood ambient drone music and had taken it to a level very few people had at the time. He abandoned that project and idea though. He had bigger aspirations I guess and really really liked swirling psychedelic rock.

One afternoon I sat on my stool behind the counter of the record store and Anton came in - a flurry - a serious flurry...dark circles under his eyes, arms moving about like windmills, a single cassette tape in his hand. "This is it - it's big. We have it now and I have the name. All of it came all at once....check it out...Brian Jonestown Masacre". I smile and laugh - it is a beautiful name, so perfect for where we are at the time, in the world, with music, for everything. He grabs a pen off the counter and scribbles "THE BRIANJONESTOWNE MASACRE ANTON 861-8683" on the front and back label of the cassette and hands it to me to put on the stereo. As the first track starts up he says , "That's it - I am sooooo down with this now and I need to sleep soon". He disappears out the door. The first Brian Jonestown Masacre demo tape - with no other information accompanying it, other than Anton's phone number - plays itself out and joins the collection of demo tapes on the shelf. It is 1990, three years before any Brian Jonestown Masacre album is released and quite possibly one of the only, or few, recordings of the original lineup.

Anton are you out there? How have you been?

Enjoy: Brian Jonestown Masacre - Demo - Track 2


Mr. Ricky said...

hi alan!
this is rick from brian jonestown massacre
still going with the band.
anton in berlin these days.
i sure miss your shop!
i use to love it.
my aunt and uncle use to have true legends across the street.
would love a copy of that tape, if possible!!!
Thanks a lot!
I hope you are well!
drop me a line

unity said...

That Cassette and those songs were among my favourites of the early 90's... Can't wait to hear them again!
1000 tears and 8 toes were the best!

brant said...

great post! hope to hear the rest.

tim h. said...

wow, thank you for sharing. i would love to hear the rest.

Tor Hershman said...


Dropshipper said...

Interesting and important information. It is really beneficial for us. Thanks

Anonymous said...

ive been waiting for something like this to pop up online for a long long time, is there somewhere we can download it?

Bryan Daly said...

this story is a graceful combination of a rock 'n roll myth being inflated to something recognizable but at the same time being a harmoniously untouchable myth. 1990. That must have been more than twenty years ago now.

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Michael said...

Hi Alan,

I'm wondering if I can get a copy of this tape at all if possible?
let me know saunders039[at]gmail[dot]com



Beau Tillman said...

What a gem, man; sound and story.

If possible, I would love to know more.

Kevin Collins said...

Hi. I really enjoyed my brief visit on your site and I’ll be sure to be back for more.
Can I contact your through your email?

Please email me back.