In 2004 the documentary Dig! was released to near universal praise and accolades. Filmed over a period of some 8 years stretching from the ’90s to the early aughts , Dig! chronicles the success of the band, The Dandy Warhols, juxtaposed with the relative failures of the more avant-garde but self-destructive group, the Brian Jonestown Massacre.
While the film focuses a lot on Anton Newcombe, the lead singer of the Brian Jonestown Massacre (an enfant terrible who directed the band’s musical vision but also was at the heart of their repeated failures to make it big), the camera and the viewer often found themselves drawn to a certain tambourine player, Joel Gion.
Gion’s trademark: a variety of big sunglasses and even bigger mutton chops. Watching the film, you get the sense that Joel is a pretty sharp guy, and he has some great reactions and lines when dealing with Anton’s various freak outs.
But you also realize the reason you can’t take your eyes off him is because of the chops. There is little doubt that his facial hair was likely the reason he had the tambourine gig in the first place, and the director and producers of the doc must have felt the magnetism of those chops as well because they put this relative background player on the forefront of the damn special edition DVD! Two different editions, in fact. There he is up top on the cover of the “Remix Edition,” and here he is on the 2-Disc Special Edition:
Joel continues to treat his Sampson-like facial hair carefully because after all these years he is still rocking the the glasses, tambourine, and sideburns!
If you’re a background guy in your band and want to upstage the front man consider this method for growing chops like a rock god.