X (The Band) - The Unheard Music
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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.
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.Read more ›
support the band not Martin W. Greenwald & Image Entertainment ($97,000,000 in revenue last year).
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Surprised hubby with this doc on punk music origins. I am in love with this band! I am now obsessed with watching everything that John Doe has ever been affiliated with. So fun!Published 11 months ago by laura l. eastman
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 morePublished on July 19, 2014 by HCM
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 morePublished on October 5, 2013 by customer
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 morePublished on March 29, 2011 by John Verlenden
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 morePublished on April 24, 2010 by M. Sterling
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 morePublished on August 5, 2009 by Dan Martin
I won't go into details about X and their influence etc but I will say this is a great film/documentery. Read morePublished on January 1, 2008 by Magdalene Kellett
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
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
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