Artist: Various Artists
Title: “Punks Not Dead”
Label: MVD Visual
Release Date: 8/17/2009
Genre: Punk Rock Documentary
“Punks Not Dead” is an interesting documentary film that presents to the viewer what I felt was a great inside and historical look into the Punk Rock and Hardcore movement when it first started to pick up steam back in the mid 70’s. It succeeds in its quest to inform the home audience of today by blending interview footage from notable acts such as The Damned, The Ramones, Circle Jerks, The Subhumans along with many, many more and explains to you in their own words just how reviled and accepted the Punk Rock genre was in its infancy. The film wisely starts at the apparent beginnings of the whole movement and explains how the whole DIY principle worked out. If you don’t know what DIY is, you should know that it stands for “Do It Yourself” and how it is still a larger practice today when it comes to the underground scene of any music genre in addition to what now calls itself today’s Punk. When the term was new it referred to how the bands booked shows by using phony credit card numbers and shared public phones that they were able to use for free and how most bands sent out their music to the fans from their houses and often sought a place to crash from these same fans when they would be in their town. One of the key quotes gives kudos to how all of this networking, touring and building of a music scene was all being done without the support or even interest from major record companies. The experts in the Punk music realm discuss how like many things with an original small fan response or underground only following can get big and eventually reach the mainstream. Of course this happening sometimes generates the feeling in its original fans that it had sold out from the aesthetic that it once held and was no longer relevant. We see this all the time with the fans who stake claim on bands “first” and no longer liking them when the rest of the world jumps on board. Some bands that are cited as helping to push Punk into the mainstream are The Offspring, Green Day, Rancid and Pennywise. They even mention Nirvana and while the Grunge Rock band definitely sold millions of albums, I didn’t see them as a Punk act and wondered how they came to feel they applied to this situation. Quotes from founders of many of the original Punk Rock record companies are spoken to and they explain how almost every dollar earned was put right back into getting the next record out for the band that had earned the money or another worthy act. That’s a lot different from a label earning money on the Joe Blow New band and putting the money into Aerosmith that’s for sure.
Continue reading “Punks Not Dead” [DVD] by Various Artists
Artist: Steve Hogarth
Title: “Naked In The Chapel”
Label: MVD Entertainment
Release Date: 5/19/2009
Genre: Progressive/Acoustic Rock
Recorded during the tail end of the summer of 2007, Marillion’s front man Steve Hogarth did some solo touring and used the very simple title of “h”. These were acoustic shows that found the singer at a piano in very casual settings and for this particular video we are able to get a front row seat as he does this at the Union Chapel at Islington, London England. I love this kind of stuff when it’s done properly and in this case they exceeded my expectations. For starters the venue is a beautiful chapel from what we can see in the minimal lighting around the stage and Hogarth’s voice is in perfect register from beginning to end. The singer brings no other musicians with him as I have stated and just sits on his own with the company of his Mac book and headphones as he sings his heart out on stripped down to the bare bones Marillion tunes and cover songs along with a couple of numbers from bands he was a part of prior to joining Marillion. It’s an interesting show and one that will keep your attention from the moment it starts out and he begins the journey for our ears with “The Hollow Man” from “Brave”. Hogarth doesn’t focus his time by segmenting the covers to one part of the show and then the Marillion and instead mixes it all up quite nicely. The first cover he does is a wonderful version of David Bowie’s “Life On Mars” and I am sure that the Thin White Duke would tip his hat for the work on this version. Of course Bowie was in his Ziggy persona at the time that he originally did the song but that doesn’t matter for my approval.
Continue reading “Naked In The Chapel” by Steve Hogarth
Artist: Todd Sucherman
Title: “Methods & Mechanics”
Label: MVD Visual
Release Date: 10/21/2008
I wanted to start off my commentary about “Methods & Mechanics” by saying that while I think that drummer Todd Sucherman is a very lucky guy, it must also be said that any perceived luck is actually the end result of many, many years of hard and dedicated work. The musician has been at his craft for over thirty years now and for most of the world had come into his largest prominence when he first sat down onto the Styx drum throne to fill in for an ailing John Panozzo. Sadly, Panozzo would pass away soon after these gigs and this would lead to Sucherman becoming the bands new fulltime drummer. Having been a Styx fan for many years myself, I am happy to report that the role is in good hands and that Todd does Panozzo justice with his talents – he is not only a capable musician but he is also a very innovative and powerful Rock drummer. It must have been a blast for this guy to have been a fan of the band growing up and then eventually finding himself coming to their aid and then joining their ranks no matter how bad the reasons for this might have originally been. Sucherman is also an established Jazz and contemporary player and all of these elements are tied together as he delivers his first instructional video “Methods & Mechanics”. The video comes care of MVD Visual, and this double DVD set is a fantastic look inside the drummer’s brain because not only does Todd explain and demonstrate a number of the tricks of the trade that he follows and had used to better his own development as a player, but it also delves deeply into his personal musical philosophy and this allows the viewer to understand just where his head is at.
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Title: “Remember Knebworth 1978: A Midsummer Night’s Dream”
Label: Music Video Distributors
Release Date: 2/18/2008
I cannot convey the anticipation that I felt when I read that Genesis would be featured on a DVD that focused on their historic headlining appearance at the Knebworth Festival in 1978. The festivities would not only feature the Progressive Rock giants but also the music of the Atlanta Rhythm Section, Brand X, Devo, Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, and Jefferson Starship. Right off the bat this sounds like it could be one awesome DVD to sit back, relax and reminisce about musical history when it plays right? That is what I thought until I put it on and realized that the film was only 24 minutes in length. It’s primarily commentary with the shows promoter some thirty years later, oh and yes most importantly – there is only ONE SONG FROM GENESIS on the friggin’ thing!!!! To me this is a false advertisement of a title and fans should be warned to stay away from it at all costs. I admit that the interviews with Freddy Bannister would have been easier to appreciate and even enjoyable perhaps if there was a little more music to focus ones visual sensors on but even with all of those other fine acts performing that day there isn’t another musical feature presented.
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Artist: The Mentors
Title: El Duce Vita
Label: MVD Visual
Release Date: April 3, 2007
Genre: “Rape Rock” (their term, not ours)
Hoo-boy, how to address this one…
In this world that allows itself to be pooched by the twin evils of political correctness and general society’s lack of a sense of humor, bands like the Mentors stick out like a sore thumb thanks to their totally intentional campaign of utter crassness and vulgarity, attempting to get away with their puerile offenses by identifying themselves as a comedy act. A trio of beer-gutted louts who amateurishly rocked out in matching executioner’s hoods, the Mentors gained infamy in the late-1970’s and early-1980’s for their then-unimaginably-filthy catalog of such scatologically-minded and misogynistic non-hits as “Sleep Bandits” (an ode to gang-banging a drugged and unconscious woman at a party), “4F Club” (the “4F” standing for “Find her, fell her, fuck her, forget her”), “Herpes Two” (self-explanatory), “On The Rag” (also self-explanatory), and a host of other distasteful ditties, instantly endearing themselves to those who appreciate juvenile and offensive material (such as your humble reviewer) while simultaneously alienating virtually every woman on the planet and providing censorship groups with the easiest of targets.
Continue reading “El Duce Vita” by The Mentors