Friday, October 06, 2006

Saw X: The Unheard Music , a fairly terrific documentary/long-form video/home movie of my favorite band, made around 1982, I think, between Under the Big Black Sun and before More Fun in the New World. Nicely captures the band in their home environment, Los Angeles, equal parts glitter and garbage, and it never drags. You see a fair amount of the usual backstage stuff, as well as a small and possibly staged peek into their creative process as John Doe plinks out the melody to "Real Child of Hell." There's an interesting interview as well with some odious tool of the music industry, who explained that he didn't sign them because he thought they had no commercial potential -- unlike another band called Point Blank. (This interview is aptly followed with an old commercial for the Edsel.)

Alas, this kind of idiot corporate mentality kept the band from ever really breaking nationwide. Why everybody and their dog doesn't have Los Angeles and Wild Gift in their music collections -- why they aren't mentioned in the same breath with other great discs like Forever Changes or Squeezing Out Sparks -- continually eludes me. They should have been huge. To anyone with an ounce of taste or the slightest idea of what true punk means, they always will be.

A couple of weeks ago I bought the band's Live in Los Angeles in late 2004. They were as on fire as ever -- you couldn't tell they had aged a single bit. They torch their way through a set that includes all their greatest stuff, then come back for an encore with "Soul Kitchen." As they leave the stage, Exene thanks the crowd for their support over the years and says "You really make life worth living."

I think the same thing every time I listen to them. I think they are about the most purely dynamic band I've ever heard and I've heard as much as anyone.

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