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X (The Band) - The Unheard Music

4.5 out of 5 stars 22 customer reviews

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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.

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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

Special Features

None.

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 (22 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0006L0LM0
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #102,862 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "X (The Band) - The Unheard Music" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Flipper Campbell VINE VOICE on 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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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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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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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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By Jess on March 11, 2005
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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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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Format: DVD
This is a fantastic documentary - if you're at all interested in the LA Punk scene, this is a goody. It looks great, it sounds great, and it's a lot of fun. A highlight: Exene as the silent-film ghost in "Because I Do", the mobile home cruising down the streets of LA, the shots of the Whisky and the LA skyline, DJ showing off with a 3-4-5 beat, the hilarious interviews with record cmpany execs. It's funny, it's poignant, it's rockin'. Amazing art direction, too...
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