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X (The Band) - The Unheard Music (1986)

John Doe , Exene Cervenka , W.T. Morgan  |  NR |  DVD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)

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X (The Band) - The Unheard Music + X - Live In Los Angeles + Urgh! A Music War
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Product Details

  • Actors: John Doe, Exene Cervenka, Billy Zoom, D.J. Bonebrake, Ray Manzarek
  • Directors: W.T. Morgan
  • Writers: Alizabeth Foley, W.T. Morgan, Christopher Blakely, Everett Greaton
  • Producers: Christopher Blakely, Everett Greaton
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, DTS Surround Sound, Full Screen, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Image Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: January 25, 2005
  • Run Time: 84 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0006L0LM0
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #94,041 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "X (The Band) - The Unheard Music" on IMDb

Special Features

None.

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Features all of the original band members: vocalist Exene Cervenka, bass player John Doe, guitarist Billy Zoom and drummer D.J. Bonebrake.One of the most important, acclaimed and popular West Coast bands of all time, changed the face of punk music and an entire decade with their vital, vibrant sound propelled by a raw, wholly distinctive style. Now see the band at its peak in this legendary film, which took five years to make and documents a powerful story with a striking, visionary style accompanied by unforgettable music.

Amazon.com

They all said X's music is "too hard, too wild, too insane, too dirty," said Ray Manzarek of the Doors, spouting excuses made by the reams of record companies that passed on what would become one of the most essential, celebrated and admired West Coast bands of the late 20th century. Manzarek produced the first three albums for the pioneering punk-rock quartet (vocalist Exene Cervenka, bassist/vocalist John Doe, guitarist Billy Zoom and drummer D.J. Bonebrake) and plays a supporting role in this long out-of-print documentary, which impeccably details the hostility and exploitation of the eighties L.A. underground. The 85-minute film includes interviews and band rehearsals, and captures X at its zenith--potent, teeth-rattling live versions of "Year One," "Come Back to Me," "Real Child of Hell," and "Johnny Hit & Run Paulene"--as well as behind-the-scenes gems like an MCA executive boasting the merits of eighties' posers Point Blank and Doe and Cervenka crooning Hank Williams' "Ramblin' Man" in their living room. Part "The Kid's Are Alright," part "The Great Rock 'n' Roll Swindle," "The Unheard Music" is a well-crafted visual diary and a revolutionary soundtrack from a band whose story continues to rewrite itself 20 years after the original release. --Scott Holter

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Play it loud February 2, 2005
Format:DVD
X holds the title of quintessential L.A. rock band, brushing past such contenders as the Doors (too psychedelic) and Love (too ephemeral). W.T. Morgan's jittery "X: The Unheard Music," finally surfacing on DVD, captures the band in the mid-1980s, standing tall atop the ashes of the city's punk scene.

Morgan makes the most of the band's Hollywood vibe. Stylized segments feature guitarist Billy Zoom (part Buck Owens and part Gorgeous George); singer Exene Cervenka (a rag doll with Bette Davis eyes); and singer-bassist John Doe and drummer D.J. Bonebrake (both blessed with leading-man looks).

"Unheard Music" covers some band biography ("Billy put an ad in the Recycler ...") but mostly it's X performing amid a blitzkrieg of images that range from Edsel ads to death squads shooting up El Salvador. A ghostly night scene shows a house transported across a freeway bridge as the title song plays. How L.A. How X.

The 1986 film, shot in 16mm, looks decent aside from persistent speckling. DTS and stereo audio options sound fine, but the Dolby 5.1 had a weird effect that sent vocals to the rear speakers. The Image Entertainment DVD offers no extras.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Clash weren't the only band that really mattered! February 16, 2005
By Dave
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
X were an amazing, amazing band and this DVD really drives this point home. The live club performances show their incredible musicianship--DJ Bonebrake and Billy Zoom are PHENOMENAL! The studio performances show what incredible songwriters and artists John and Exene were. The video montages throughout put it all into context, and made me feel really nostaglic, there's nothing quite like superimposing a cruise missile over Ronnie Reagan's face to bring a tear to your eye. There's also this groovy, artsy video of Exene to White Girl that really sticks with you. No band in the last 20 years comes close to X--X were the real thing, and luckily there's The Unheard Music to remember them by. Buy it, watch it, and lend it to your paperboy, and afterwards the two of you can burn all his Emo CDs and start a band together.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finally... X!!! January 27, 2005
Format:DVD
This is a documentary about the MOST important punk rock band ever. X was accessible on so many levels whether you were truly hardcore or coming up on the poetic beat-side. This film is a wonderful time capsule about the band. I was lucky enough to see X play live about a half dozen times and EVERY time was unique and incredible. I won't apologize for the hyperboly because X truly were and are the BEST of the best.
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29 of 37 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars band gets Ř from DVD sales January 8, 2006
By chumley
Format:DVD
until the license arrangement changes, please seek out VHS copy or at least buy DVD 2nd hand, theres plenty on a well known auction site.
support the band not Martin W. Greenwald & Image Entertainment ($97,000,000 in revenue last year).
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent. March 11, 2005
By Jess
Format:DVD
Even though I would have probably enjoyed this due to my predisposition to the criminally marginalised music of X I was thoroughly surprised on how well made this film was ,particularly the fictional opening. With it's freewheeling editing and inspired montages it's almost like watching a cinematic version of a punk zine. Regardless of how you feel about the music this really is exceptional.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An Outstanding Documentary February 10, 2007
Format:DVD
In the outstandingly well-made documentary X: The Unheard Music, we see two of the most underrated songwriters in rock history have a quick exchange that (unknowingly to them at that time) turns out to have defined their careers. It goes like this:

Exene Cervenka (referring to the song "Real Child of Hell"): "I think it's gonna be a hard song for people to understand the words."
John Doe: "F--- 'em."

And there you go. Sadly (yet proudly), X has always been somehow too poetic and "artsy" for some to consider punk, yet too defiantly punk to break through into the mainstream.

In the parallel universe that I live in, John Doe is a much bigger star. And to my twisted ears, no one in punk has ever sung so tunefully out of tune as Exene Cervenka (although Rancid's Tim Armstrong comes close). There's something so gosh-danged MUSICAL about the way she can coyly circle around a note, getting close but not quite close enough to hit it.

Plus, the supposed "supporting" players are such fascinating people themselves and are real multi-instrumental virtuosos (Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you: Mr. Billy Zoom on the clarinet! Mr. Bonebrake on the vibraphone!).

Thankfully, this beautiful film has forever etched out and preserved some magical moments in time, capturing X at their peak in the early to mid-80's. And, fan-leanings aside, I cannot emphasize enough how great this movie is, regardless of any affiliation or affinity one may or may not have with the band itself.

This film is so exquisitely and painstakingly pieced together that in the end it was not a surprise for me to see four editors listed in the credits.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE BEST, that's right, THE BEST July 4, 2005
By johann
Format:DVD
This is the best documentary I have ever seen on a Punk/Rock N Roll band.

At present, I have the "Los Angeles", "Wild Gift", and "Under The Big Black Sun" albums and this DVD pretty much covers songs from those albums.

The art direction in this is superb. Everything from the stock footage, to live footage to interviews to photo's, looks amazing.

I'd give this 6 stars if I could.

If any X fans like me, haven't seen this but own those albums, GET THIS NOW. Trust me.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Are you looking for a national treasure?
This is a great movie. Seeing them in a live performance feels so good. It's obviously pure nostalgia, but there was a place in the country where energetic performers and spirited... Read more
Published 3 months ago by HCM
4.0 out of 5 stars Love X
this is an interesting video, shot in a peculiar (but appropriate to X) way... I wanted to see more of the behind the scenes X interactions, backgrounds on the song (it has some... Read more
Published 12 months ago by Nikon Guy
5.0 out of 5 stars X at their best----Wild Gifts abound!!
I love this movie. It is a fairly standard format rock biopic of a very unusual band. The part of the movie with the record executive talking about why X was not a band he could... Read more
Published on March 29, 2011 by John Verlenden
5.0 out of 5 stars It' X, what else is there to say?!
X may be the most important band to come out of the LA punk scene (IMHO). This is a fun, whimsical look at their formation, daily lives and some great concert shots. Read more
Published on April 24, 2010 by M. Sterling
5.0 out of 5 stars X - The Unheard Music
Wow! This DVD is great. A must for any X fan..and for music fans in general. Sooooo much good early footage of the band. Billy Zoom cutting up and acting goofy! DJ playing vibes! Read more
Published on August 5, 2009 by Dan Martin
5.0 out of 5 stars Just a good film
I won't go into details about X and their influence etc but I will say this is a great film/documentery. Read more
Published on January 1, 2008 by Magdalene Kellett
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome
They made this back when I used to see them play in L.A. This is a great story of any band trying to make it in Los Angeles.
Published on August 6, 2007 by David Trafford
5.0 out of 5 stars Must buy for X fans
I viewed this years ago, and purchased on a whim. It is a must buy for any X or punk fan.
Published on October 29, 2006 by John F. Lindsay
5.0 out of 5 stars my favorite musical documentary
x is a great band, and this is a terrific movie! i've been waiting for this for a long time. save your beer money for today and buy it...
Published on March 30, 2006 by R. Rubio
5.0 out of 5 stars dont let this gem get away
X made four brilliant albums on the trot. not many cared. this film captures them in their prime. for fans like myself who came to their music long after and who will never get to... Read more
Published on November 13, 2005 by G. V. Cherian
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