Under Review 1995-2000 The Middle Years
Sexy Intellectual (SIDVD 514)Grade: ***
This DVD focuses on the least commercially successful period of Green Day?s major label years, when their career was presumed to be on the decline due to the continually decreasing record sales of Insomniac, Nimrod and Warning.
But of course, to provide context, this 68-minute documentary covers the band?s other albums, too: the two released on indie label Lookout!, their major label debut, Dookie, and their rightly heralded ?comeback? album, American Idiot.
Most of the interviewees have only a tangential relationship to the band, being journalists and DJs, though at least two of the journalists (Jaan Uhelszki and Ben Myers) have actually met the group.
Accordingly, the most informative interviews are with those who have a more personal connection, like Jesse Townley, who ran the legendary punk club, the Gilman Street Project, where Green Day played many early shows, and Larry Livermore, who signed them to Lookout!, and Winston Smith, who designed the cover of Insomniac.
Green Day themselves appear via live and interview footage that?s all too brief (the DVD?s cover points out the release is not authorized ?by Green Day, their record label or management?).
But within those limitations, it?s a pretty fair critique of the period, which, being bookended by Dookie and American Idiot, is largely overlooked, and a period that casual fans of the band won?t be as familiar with.
And if there aren?t a lot of unexpected revelations (more substantial interviews with those who knew the band would?ve helped), it probably will inspire you to dig out the band?s albums again, while waiting for American Idiot?s long-awaited follow-up.