Combining years of GC music and footage along with a whole slew of music videos and live footage from non-GC bands and tossing in some independent film elements, some photography and a bit of graffiti culture this DVD zine has it all! Don’t even get us started with the long list of special features too!!! Pick up a copy today, because seeing is indeed believing!
Region 0 – NTSC Format only
The idea of a DVD fanzine isn’t new; people were doing video zines (albeit on VHS tape) back in the 80′s and 90′s. But certainly, with the print fanzine all but extinct and with hi-def video cameras and editing software available at affordable prices, the DVD fanzine does make a lot of sense. My problem is calling these things fanzines, since most of them really don’t amount to much more than a compilation of live clips, without the commentary, opinions, interviews, and insight you’d get from an actual zine. The people who put together Vol. 1 of chemical X DVD Zine make some efforts towards correcting this, with some behind-the-scenes featurettes and bonus extras that include a homemade tour documentary. I just wish there was more of this kind of stuff. Mostly, what you get here is an extremely eclectic collection of both live-in-the-pit videos and MTV-style concept videos, ranging from DIY homemade camcorder footage to high-budget multi- camera shoots. The bands all fall into the “underground punk” category (Peelander-Z and Riverboat Gamblers are the “big” names here, to give you some perspective) with clips that range from basement HC to pop-punk to sheer noise. I especially enjoyed getting to check out bands that I’ve heard of but never actually seen, like Off With Their Heads, Randy, Affirmative Action Jackson, and the Criminals, as well as bands that I know pretty well (Copyrights, Unlovables, and – a nice surprise – NYC scum-rock heroes Dick Army.) The concept videos show how far you can go with a good idea and your own video camera, from slo-mo animation to Saboteur’s wacky “Jackass”-like video of punks on bikes jousting with toy lances. Will I ever watch this again? Maybe; moreso if I was going to play it for friends than actually watch if myself. But then, how many print zines do you ever go back and read a second time and third time? Compared to other video and DVD zines I’ve seen, Chemical X ranks pretty high as far as technical quality and very high in terms of keeping your interest and providing a wide array of little-known underground music.
jerseybeat.com Editors Desk
I’m an absolute sucker for the DVD/Video-zine format and I just don’t think there’s enough projects like this around so I was excited as hell as soon as I heard that GC were putting this thing together. It reminds me a lot of the ‘Dancehall Troops’ DVD that we put out through NFT last year actually so I know how much work something like this takes! It’s got a wonderful D.I.Y. approach and comes across as a truly passionate piece of work blending raw live footage with very cool home-made music videos and even a handful of more professional videos. On the live side you have DAN PADILLA, SICKO. DISCK ARMY, (VLAD AND) THE IMPALERS, PEELANDER-Z, AFFIRMATIVE ACTION JACKSON, KILL THE SCIENTIST, THE UNDERGROUND RAILROAD TO CANDYLAND, SHANG-A-LANG, THE CRIMINALS, JAPANTHER – all cool, raw footage so you really get the impression of the show and the CRIMINALS is a real special treat for me! The D.I.Y. music videos come from FOUR DEALY QUESTIONS, KILLER DREAMER, THE UNLOVABLES, SUNKEN CITY, OFF WITH THEIR HEADS, CUB, INTRO5PECT, EAST ARCADIA, H.O.T.S. and an especially cool one from PASSPORTE. The professional vids come from RANDY, BUCK (live), THE COPYRIGHTS (live), RIVERBOAT GAMBLERS, SABOTEUR and a super-weird one from NEGATIVLAND. In true GC style, it’s a varied, interesting and exciting mix- this is a label that doesn’t pigeonhole itself which makes for some very stimulating projects- even the cover art/presentation of this DVD looks interesting. As well as all the music stuff there’s a bunch of extras in the from of a tour of the Kdvs radio studio which I thought was killer and also the GC tour. Definitely recommended, I hope there are more volumes to follow!
No Front Teeth Webzine
I’ve been a fan of video zines since the 411 skate video zine, so when I received this DVD I was really excited to see how it would work out in a music format. The DVD starts out with a video montage of a graffiti artist creating a new picture with Four Deadly Questions playing the background and is followed by a great 80’s inspired video for “Razorblade” by the band Randy. The video is goofy and fun and sets the table for the rest of the DVD. Overall the DVD is filled with some live performances, some coordinated music videos & a few commercials by the zine’s sponsors. I think the creators of this DVD zine (Geykido Comet Records) did a great job of incorporating a large variety of punk music from the sub-genres of punk. The DVD allowed me to listen/view some bands I hadn’t heard and immediately after the DVD ended I ran out to my computer and looked up to listen to more from them (“Randy”, “Bobat Adrenaline” & ESL?!”). Really the only thing that I would like to see added to the DVD Zine would be a few interviews. I can see a lot of labels getting on board with this forward thinking way of introducing potential listeners to new bands. Honestly the more I think about it the more I can’t wait for the next issue to come out.
No matter where you stand on the digital divide, it’s impossible not to notice the disheartening decline of the once-flourishing assemblage known as the zine. But while running across a stapled stack of Xerox’ed jabber has become increasingly rare, the art has not died. Rather, it has continued to shift form and preserve its place in the punk-o-sphere. There is, of course, the array of webzines (such as the one you are reading), further developed networks and mailing lists for a more narrowly defined distribution of physical zines, the ever-popular hastily-scanned PDF zine, and the subject of our review here, the DVD zine. Before I lose anyone to my poky yammering, let me take a moment to emphasize the killer bands featured on the Chemical X DVD zine: The Copyrights, Randy, Affirmative Action Jackson, Off With Their Heads, Intro5pect, Riverboat Gamblers, Peelander Z, The Unlovables, Dick Army, H.O.T.S., Japanther, The Criminals, and a good deal more. The majority of the DVD is devoted to music videos and live performances of the artists above. GC Records act Four Deadly Questions kicks off the videos with a cool time-lapse recording of artist Riot68 bombing a dilapidated wall with a character called “Grumpy” to the tune of “Gotta Let it Go.” The infinitely underrated Randy provides a video for their hooky anthem “Razorblade,” which along with the Riverboat Gamblers video for “Don’t Bury Me…I’m Still not Dead” are two of the clearly higher-budget videos on the zine. One of the more interesting music videos comes courtesy of Killer Dreamer and their song “Not Coming Home,” which features some pretty sweet stop-motion animation. Saboteur’s music video for “This is a Bike Crime” is equally amusing, featuring some sort of outdoor bicycle jousting festival and a bunch of punky-looking people getting impaled with giant padded lances. The Las Vegas-based H.O.T.S. (Holding On To Sound) steal the show musically, with a song called “Modern” reminiscent of upbeat American Steel or Against Me! The live videos range from professionally recorded, multi-camera setups (like the female-fronted pop-punk of Buck’s “My Fascination”) to grittier in-crowd recordings like Affirmative Action Jackson’s “Mr. Softee Goes to Prom”. The Copyrights and the Criminals fall somewhere between with great songs and realistic recordings, while the critically-acclaimed noise punk of Japanther walks the line between music video and highly orchestrated live performance that features Penny Rimbauld of Crass notoriety providing a hauntingly incisive spoken word outro. With bonus features like a hilarious outtakes montage, extra videos, and road trip clips from the GC West Coast tour, the Chemical X DVD keeps the spirit of the zine stronger than ever in a highly enjoyable and entertaining fashion.
(Glass Pipe Murder) Punknews.org