2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Carlos E. Velasquez
- Published on Amazon.com
Some time during the eighties, my cousin invited me to a concert at the California State University at Long Beach. I don't remember if it was a freebie or if we had to pay, but the band which was playing was X, and it was a truly eye-opening experience. That concert and that night was my introduction to punk rock. Watching the fascinating "X - The Unheard Music" brought me a smile and great memories of that day. It is a sincere and satisfying film, which introduces us the band during its peak years.
The movie is really a collage of many things: interviews, images from the city of Los Angeles, live performances, recording sessions, and more, all delightfully glued together by director W.T. Morgan, who was also the writer. We meet the original band members: John Doe (singer, bassist), Exene Cervenka (singer), Billy Zoom (guitarist), and DJ Bonebrake (drummer). They are interviewed at different locations and talk about the band's origins, their Whisky aGoGo concerts, their families and influences, the LA scene, and they show clips of home-made movies. There is also an interview with Ray Manzarek (legendary keyboardist of The Doors), who produced X's seminal album "Los Angeles." A lot of time is spent in making the point that the band's music was a hard sell to the public, and the major record companies did not want to sign them, so they went from label to label, trying to find the best distribution and success. We even see them signing records at a Music Plus (record store chain that went out of business) for their album "X - Under the Big Black Sun." There are also interviews with music executives that speak about X's not being "commercial for most masses' demographics," as well as Tommy Hadges, program director of KLOS-FM, and Jello Biafra.
The film is also loaded with performances, including "The Unheard Music," "Los Angeles," "The Hungry Wolf," "Year One," "Soul Kitchen," "Come back to me," "We're desperate," and more, taken from the albums "Los Angeles," "Wild Gift," "More Fun in the New World," and "Under the Big Black Sun."
Believe me, if you haven't seen or heard X, you are missing part of music's history. It is said that this band "established among the first wave of American punk," and that their albums "Los Angeles" and "Wild Gift" were among Rolling Stone's magazine 500 greatest albums of all time. "X - The Unheard Music" was originally released in 1986. This new, awesome Silver Anniversary Blu-ray edition includes new interviews with John Doe and Exene Cervenka, outtakes, The Unheard Music song book, and more. One more thing: I still remember watching Billy Zoom stance while playing his guitar during that 80s concert. The man never moved during the whole show! You'll see that in this film, too. (USA, 1986, color, 84 min plus additional material)
Reviewed on January 25, 2012 exclusively by Eric Gonzalez for MVD Visual.