Synopsis by Mark Deming
X was one of the finest and most widely acclaimed American rock bands of the 1980s. Rising out of the Los Angeles punk rock scene, X merged punk, rockabilly, blues, and country flavors into a revved-up sound that at once celebrated and deconstructed American pop culture, and the group's lyrics -- written by singer Exene Cervenka and bassist/vocalist John Doe -- used beat-influenced poetry to examine life along the margins in one of America's most privileged cities. X became a major draw in their hometown, and their first two independently released albums, Los Angeles and Wild Gift, each managed the then-remarkable feat of selling over 50,000 copies each. However, as the group's popularity steadily grew and they began to expand the boundaries of the underground music community, the band found themselves faced with the question of how to bring their sound to the mass audience without compromising their music (or their principles) in the process. The Unheard Music is a documentary that combines live footage of the band and interviews with the four members (as well as their friends and families) with surreal music videos and montages of newsreel footage and vintage television commercials which help to illustrate X's uphill struggle against the music industry. The year The Unheard Music was released, guitarist and founding member Billy Zoom left the band, and X soldiered on with guitarist Tony Gilkyson before calling it a day in 1988. However, the group briefly reunited with Gilkyson in 1993, recording two albums (one studio, one live), and in 1998, Billy Zoom made his long-awaited return to X's lineup for a series of enthusiastically received live dates.
alternative-rock, behind-the-scenes, concert-footage, band [music group], punk-rock