In 2005, Project 86 invited fans behind the scenes into the making of their fifth studio album, ...And The Rest Will Follow. The end result was a paced, raw look at what locking yourself away in a studio and working on a rock record could look like. Now, two years later, the band has recorded a follow-up DVD to document the process behind their sixth record, Rival Factions. The new documentary, titled I Want Something You Have: Rival Factions The DVD, has an even more raw and candid approach, with the band filming the footage themselves this time around, as opposed to having an outside director do the filming.
Immediately, the 50-minute documentary opens without a title or credits as the guys have just locked themselves outside their studio, but inside the property behind a metal gate. To make matters worse, as they wait for police to rescue them, guitarist Randy Torres accidentally locks their keys in the van while it's running. From here, we're treated to the band fooling around with Pro-Tools and speeding up and slowing down a rough early take of the song "The Forces Of Radio Have Dropped A Viper Into The Rhythm Section," complete with alternate lyrics. And this is all within the feature's first five minutes.
The DVD's aspect ratio for your viewing pleasure is surprisingly widescreen, fit for 16:9 televisions. All of the footage is filmed in black and white, which gives the raw, grainy display a production feel that is more artsy than just a couple guys fooling around with a simple handheld. The edits are abrupt but well-placed, ultimately letting some moments leave you wanting more instead of making you wish it'd ended a few minutes earlier. But the content is truly for fans once again, and decidedly more humorous than dramatic. With the DVD containing two hours of content, any casual fan may get a little bored before it's halfway through, however, the band members keeps things entertaining and informative. When we're not watching Andrew Schwab miss his vocal cues for "Caveman Jam" or deliver a few takes of a scream for iTunes exclusive "The Kane Mutiny," we get to hear clips of the songs as they're taking shape - from early lyrics long disposed of, to guest drummer Jason Gerkin ripping into "The Forces of Radio..." with Steve Dail thumping away on bass and Torres riffing along.
Everything is exceptionally candid, so as with their previous DVD, if anyone is concerned about content or language due to the real, documentary style setting, the only potentially objectionable language is frequent uses of "suck" and "crap." As with the Subject To Change project, there are a few bonuses on the disc. In addition to the near hour-long feature about the making of the album, a 16-minute behind-the-scenes look at a trip to Minneapolis in November, 2006 is included, as well as a second featurette that takes the band out of the States for a glimpse at the Christmas Rock Night performance in Germany. The latter begins with the guys on a search for water while stranded in the country, and ends with a quote from a fan who was evidently the inspiration for the song "Caveman Jam," as he tells the camera he'd "be six feet under if it wasn't for Project 86's Caveman Jams." These featurettes include the live footage advertised on the DVD sleeve, but it's nothing more than a couple minutes of raw, bootleged snippets. In both instances, the sound is mediocre at best, and the camera never lingers on a song long enough to get a whole verse or chorus let alone a whole song. While it's all fine as part of the scope of the mini-documentaries, it's deceiving when the back of the DVD sleeve states "Two live shows" as something included within its content.
To round out the extras, there's a cool almost 3-minute video labeled "Gerkin" that focuses on the drummer as he pounds away with Randy and Steve to "The Forces Of Radio Have Dropped A Viper Into The Rhythm Section." It's phenomenal to watch Gerkin at work, and his drumming on this particular track is simply jaw-dropping. Two separate slide shows feature shots of the band in promo shots and in action in the studio set to full tracks of "The Sanctuary Hum" in one set and "Pull Me Closer, Violent Dancer" in another. In addition to an inclusion of their "My Will Be A Dead Man" video and a trailer for the Rival Factions disc, the extras wrap up with a 2-and-a-half-minute tribute to the band's pet lizard that died this year in April. Probably more tragic, however, is that the song that plays during the short video is a portion of a track that didn't make the final, slim ten-song track list for Rival Factions. It sounds as if it would have been a good fit as well. I suppose the guys may have wanted us to feel as strong a sense of loss as they did in losing "Mr. Lizard."
I Want Something You Have: Rival Factions The DVD is even better than Project 86's previous video venture, taking fans into the studio for a rough and raw look into the making of a unique rock n roll record. It was great to watch a the album take shape and see how songs were recorded, although it would have been a bonus to hear how the lyrics progressed and how the songs evolved from their initial state. Diehards will need to get their hands on a copy of this to fully appreciate what went into making the album, while those less passionate may want to pass. Regardless, I Want Something You Have: Rival Factions The DVD is an achievement in documentary filmmaking that I hope the band doesn't cease to explore with future projects.- Review date: 6/19/07, written by John DiBiase
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