The Veldt and Brian Jonestown Massacre Find Kindred Brothers in One Another

By: Jordannah Elizabeth


photo credit: jordannah elizabeth

Editor´s Note: The Village Voice canned this piece because I was overly proficient in asking my editor to submit my contract, w9 and invoice for a previous piece to the business office to be processed. I called the paper to get in touch with the accountant with an intuition that my editor had not sent in my paperwork since it took a miracle to get him to answer any questions I had in regards to editorial information like structure, time line, word count, ect. Instead of being sent to the accountant, I was put in touch with the managing editor, so my editor fired me because I unknowingly ¨talked to his boss¨.

The thing about Jordannah is that she likes to be paid. Another thing about Jordannah Elizabeth is that she is serious about her accounting, invoices and yearly paper trails. Being a top tier writer is not easy, especially now that my industry is in a professional season where publications do not invest in proof readers, fact checkers, copywriters or editors who answer emails (not all editors, you know I love many of you – and I am one and get that the gig is not a cake walk). Now that I can´t play the ¨young man´s game¨ like I used to, being that I have a family, teach children and structure workshops, mentorships and lectures, I need lean on my editorial staffs a bit more – and they just aren´t there.

This is why Publik / Private exists: to cushion the blow of the inefficiency of the journalism industry and to give a place for great writers, artists and musicians to never be turned away.

The Veldt and Brian Jonestown Massacre are bands I honor and respect. I´ve known them in some form or fashion for almost a decade and they gave me a wonderful opportunity to see them play live in New York earlier this month and spoke to me with kindness and inclusion. For that I am always thankful and look forward to seeing their shows when they tour in or near my city again. Artistry and the interest of our subjects must be kept in high regard when writing about them. They are not a meal ticket, they are friends, and I am a bit tired of being a part of an industry who doesn´t put our artists first. Without them, we have nothing to publish. – je


After almost 30 years of music, tours and miscellaneous memories of rock and roll history, the stars finally aligned to cause two legendary American bands, The Veldt and the Brian Jonestown Massacre to come together in mind, soul and music.

New York City came out in droves to sold out Webster Hall on May 9th to see this once in a lifetime line up blend sonic experimentation and well oiled vocals for a satisfying night of neo psychedelic, soul gaze and Brit pop influenced rock. Both bands did not disappoint as every member in the Veldt and The Brian Jonestown Massacre appeared to be in good health, professional and focused. Anton Newcombe, leader of the Brian Jonestown Massacre, seemed to be enjoying his bond with the crowd, spouting spiraling monologues whose topics ranged from astrology to his experience meeting Robert Downey Jr. in rehab. The Veldt were a bit more concentrated on their sound, creating hair raising walls of sound that were coated with gospel and soul like vocals that would make any audience member a believer.

Nonetheless, it was before and after the sold out shows, once all the strangers had gone, that The Veldt found that they had found kindred spirits in The Brian Jonestown Massacre.

Rob Campanella, keyboardist of BJM of the Committee to Keep Music Evil (which began as an imprint of Bomp! that Anton Newcombe founded in the 90s) stood calmly behind his merch table at the end of the night of the Webster Hall show, ¨What pulls me (towards) their music is their songs. I think they write really cool songs, which is a lost art nowadays because everyone seems to be about form and not too much substance. I love the style of music they’re playing and Daniel is an amazing singer. How they’re dressed up is a bonus.¨ Rob, finding interest in helping The Veldt release their next upcoming album, Resurrection Hymns, continued, ¨I´ve never heard anything like the Veldt. There’s not many real singers in these psychedelic bands, so to me that´s something really unique. I think it’s great that he wears his heart on his sleeve and just goes for it.¨


photo credit: Marie Cochane

The Veldt seemed to be catapulted into foreground this Spring after releasing the long awaited EP, The Shocking Fuzz of Your Electric Fur, finding themselves in the pages of dozens of International music publications and accepting invitations to play LEVITATION (formerly Austin Psych Fest) and three sold out shows with The Brian Jonestown Massacre. ¨We wouldn’t be able to do this without these guys. No one has taken us on like that.¨ Veldt singer, Daniel Chavis explained while sitting next to Brian Jonestown´s legendary percussionist Joel Gion. Danny and Daniel Chavis found themselves in the midst of an enlightening tour experience as they found that Anton Newcombe, Joel and the rest of the band seemed to share many of the same experiences throughout their lives and music careers as they had. Both bands started around the same time in the 80s and have found longevity with their share of ups and downs since then.

While conversing about the specifics of genre and whether the bands found one another through the crafted life style of psychedelic and/or shoegaze music, founding member of the Veldt, Marvin Levi said, ¨No one can speak for Anton. In touring with him, you never really know where it´s going to go, but ultimately, when it comes to the music, you know what he´s going to say: it’s just music. Music of the future.¨ Danny chimes in, ¨It’s like a mini revolution of people’s freedom to choose what they want to do, not just in music, but in life in general. We’re living in a time where a businessman is running for president, so how can people take things seriously? Our objective is to make a statement and show people anyone can do (what they want to do).¨

The Veldt and The Brian Jonestown Massacre have nothing but good things to say about one another. While on tour, Danny Chavis and Anton Newcombe could be found chatting contently about the ups and down of their lives and bands while Danny´s twin brother, Daniel and Joel Gion laugh about fashion, girls and how youth culture will continue to catch on to the free flowing lifestyle neo psych provides.


photo credit: Joe Caintic

Marvin Levi spoke of what’s to comes for the Veldt, ¨In terms of our future, we now have the ability to continue to put out records. We’ve got Shocking Fuzz out now, and Resurrection Hymns ready to be released on SonaBLAST! Records this fall. We now have more consistency. We were caught up in legal battles in the 90s. We were on Capitol, Polygram and two independent labels, and now we just keep moving. We never really give up. We’re always going to be a Brit pop, soul, American pop band.¨


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