Reviews of 4 more unofficial Nirvana DVDs

I've procured some more unofficial Nirvana DVDs so here's another round of reviews. In case you missed it, don't forget to check out the earlier review of six unofficial Nirvana DVDs.

Title: Rock Milestones: NIRVANA - The Path From Incesticide to In Utero
Released by: Edgehill Publishing, Ltd. 2006 (Part of Classic Rock Productions)
Runtime: 64 minutes
Bonus material: Image gallery
Audio: Dolby Digital, Dolby 5.1 surround sound, DTS
Cover art: Sleeve - DVD menu - Screenshot
People interviewed: Tommy Udo (Metal Hammer magazine), Keith Cameron (Mojo magazine), Darren Sadler (Rock Sound magazine), Steve Chick (music journalist), Alexander Milas (Kerrang! magazine), Miti Adhikari (producer - worked on some of the songs that ended up on Incesticide).

This DVD is based around commentary from a small panel of British journalists and producer Miti Adhikari. In short, they discuss Nirvana's albums (with the main focus on Nevermind and In Utero) in between footage of Nirvana performing live.

Actually, this DVD contains a lot of original Nirvana music - often with clips longer than 30 seconds. It's the same footage being utilized for other DVDs by Classic Rock Productions. with the exception that this DVD also contains clips of songs from Nirvana's KAOS Radio performance, April, 1987.

The Nirvana footage includes: Rape Me and Heart-Shaped Box (Saturday Night live 1993), Floyd the barber, Sliver, Polly, Aneurysm, Blew and Breed (November 19, 1991 Rome, Italy concert), Drain You and Pennyroyal Tea ('Nulle Part A' performance on French TV, February 1994), Smells Like Teen Spirit and Territorial Pissings (Saturday Night live 1992), Lithium (MTV Video Music Awards 1992), Smells Like Teen Spirit, Breed, Destruction and All Apologies (Reading Festival, UK, 1992), Heart-Shaped Box and Scentless Apprentice (December 13, 1993 MTV Live & Loud concert), Lake of Fire (MTV Unplugged 1993) + audio from 4/17/87 Olympia, WA KAOS Radio performance. There's also clips from a couple of studio tracks, e.g. (New Wave) Polly

As the above list suggests, this DVD contains quite a lot of Nirvana music - somewhat unusual for an unofficial release. Otherwise, there is not much of interest. The interviews are dull and do not bring to life anything other than commentary and personal reflections on Nirvana's releases. It also contains clips from the 1993 MTV Brazil interview with Kurt Cobain and - seperately - Krist and Dave. Interestingly, it also has pro shot footage from Nirvana's legendary 1992 Reading show.

The DVD is part of the "Rock Milestones" series which also includes DVDs about The Ramones, The Beatles, Bob Dylan and many others.

Title: NIRVANA - Behind the Music (the ultimate critical review)
Released by: Edgehill Publishing, Ltd. 2007 (Part of Classic Rock Productions)
Runtime: 64 minutes
Bonus material: Image gallery. There's also subtitles in 5 languages.
Audio: Dolby Digital, Dolby 5.1 surround sound, DTS
Cover art: Cover - Back cover - DVD menu - Screenshot
People interviewed: Phillip Luce (Aberdeen resident), Alice Wheeler (photographer), Dave Thompson (author), Leland Cobain (Kurt's grandfather), Amy Hanson (journalist), Micole Landrew McFalklind (old friend of Kurt), Paul Fritts and Jeff Burlingame (Kurt Cobain Memorial Committee), Warren Mason (guitar teacher), Dave Reed (Cobain friend and Aberdeen resident) and Charles R. Cross (author and journalist).

Yet another DVD from Classic Rock Productions. This one also comes with an illustrated 70-page booklet, though. The booklet is basically a short bio, and a detailed discography with commentary on all the songs from the studio albums.

The actual DVD contains a rehash of the same footage you can find on the "Inside NIRVANA" and "Rock Review" DVDs released by the same company. Thus, the interview footage used on this DVD is essentially the exact same that you can find on other Nirvana DVDs by Classic Rock. The only difference is more concert and TV footage, and the addition of audio clips from the April, 1987 KAOS Radio performance.

There's no point in listing the Nirvana footage used; it's basically the same as you can find on most of the other Classic Rock DVDs - SNL 1992 and 1993 and the 1991 Rome show.

It seems that Classic Rock Productions like to churn out Nirvana DVDs regularly - using the same core footage - only edited together differently, with slightly different concert and studio footage used (but from the same sources), and in a different packaging. So, if you have one or more of the other DVDs released by them, there's not much reason to pick this one up as well.

By the way, the title of the DVD is greatly misleading as it has no relation whatsoever to the popular VH-1 series of the same name - "Behind the Music". There has not been an official VH-1 "Behind the Music" special on Nirvana produced at this point.

Title: Music Box: A biographical collection - Kurt Cobain
Released by: MVB Films. 2004
Runtime: 42 minutes
Bonus material: None
Audio: Stereo
Cover art: Sleeve - DVD menu - Screenshot
People interviewed: Warren Mason, Jim Cobain and David Conner.

This DVD is absolutely horrible. It looks like it was thrown together in half an hour after a bad frat party. It has almost a Borat-like resemblance to it, only it's not as funny. The DVD basically consists of a number of still images of Cobain and Nirvana being presented to the viewer, on top of a British narrator eagerly explaining the basic Nirvana story.

There's some short "exclusive" interviews with Warrren Mason along with a couple of totally unknown folks. For some reason, this grainy footage is in black and white and looks like it was shot in the 70s. There's also some footage from around Aberdeen - particularly from 'under the bridge' and, again, it looks like something out of a 1970s documentary on highways or something.

Throughout the whole film, the background music is basically the same guitar and drum part played over and over again, and it serves as a constant distraction to the rest of the mess that is this DVD. There's also reproductions, in awful quality, of various Nirvana interviews from MTV.

Avoid this one at all costs!

Title: The Nevermind Year
Released by: Manifestation Television. 2003
Runtime: 46 minutes
Bonus material: Extra footage, stills, subtitles, credits and director commentary
Audio: Stereo
Cover art: Sleeve - DVD menu - Screenshot

This is actually not a Nirvana or Kurt Cobain documentary. Instead, it is a movie about Steven James May as he attempts to "explore the relationship between the suicide of [..] Cobain and May's own quest for fulfillment in his 28th year."

If that description sounds somewhat vague, I'm afraid it's difficult to come up with a much better one.

The film basically follows Steven around, beginning with his 27th birthday flipping through old clippings with Nirvana magazine covers and such, and culminating around a year later. In the meantime, you see Steven talk about his life and what he's going through with family and friends, as well as a Nirvana fan he met through a posting on this very website.

The climax, if you will, of the film is probably when Steven descends upon Seattle and finds himself meditating outside the former home of Kurt Cobain on Lake Washington Blvd. Here, he meets a fellow who apparently resides at the house and gets him to open the gates, if only for a moment. Some great shots then capture the beautiful home and the location of the since torn-down garage where Cobain died.

Basically, though, there's not a whole lot to say about this film. While the director commentary, exclusive to this well-produced DVD, helps explain Stevens motivation behind a lot of what goes on in the film and how it came together, it's still a project that is difficult for an outsider to fully appreciate. Ultimately, it seems to have served as an almost carthatic and positive process for Steven to have filmed all this footage of his life and produce this film. For that reason alone it is an interesting and admirable piece of work.

But for anyone not closely associated with the film, it is hard to locate its appeal and purpuse, and its artistic and creative vision is a bit too obscure for me to penetrate. It's certainly possible that other Kurt Cobain fans can relate to Steven's story, however, and would find it fascinating to see what he went through in his life when this movie was shot and when he was trying to make sense of his life when he reached the age of his fallen hero. Perhaps there's a little bit of Steven May and his quest in all of us.

More info at

Posted in NFC news section at on 04-07-2007 @ 8:05 PM (GMT).

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