Wow! Very rarely does a DVD come along that inspires the old "You'll have to see it to believe it!" But such is the case with The Great Kat's Beethoven's Guitar Shred, an amazing display of speedy guitar wizardry from a player named one of the "Top 10 Fastest Shredders of All Time" by Guitar One Magazine. Katherine Thomas is a graduate of Julliard and a violin virtuoso but when she pulls on fishnet stockings and squeezes into her revealing lace-up leathers she becomes The Great Kat, hell on wheels with a Flying V. Beethoven's Guitar Shred presents Kat's work through seven videos including a super-quick take on the already fast-paced "The Flight of the Bumble-Bee" and a metal-meltdown version of Paganini's "Caprice #24." Kat slices and dices the Paganini composition with precision on guitar but she also plays a violin part that makes Charlie Daniels' fiddle-off with the devil on "The Devil Went Down to Georgia" look like a molasses-dripping contest. The Great Kat plays these seven pieces so fast that they go by in a heartbeat and while technically this is not a "teaching" video there are plenty of close-ups of her fretwork that could be quite helpful to aspiring guitarists if watched repeatedly in slow motion. Otherwise metal heads will love what's presented here in both musicianship and eye candy; with her face painted and her waist-length hair flying as wildly as her fingers The Great Kat makes for a striking figure. Kat does a version of Beethoven's "5th Symphony" here and no, it won't have the long-dead composer rolling over in his grave; more likely he'd be wishing he could join the band.
D.O.A.- The Men of Action
Issued in conjunction with D.O.A.'s thirtieth anniversary, The Men of Action compiles twenty-six video clips tracing the evolution of the band. The collection launches with a version of theme song "D.O.A." that was put together in 2002 but the ensuing clips are presented according to their chronological release beginning with 1978's "Disco Sucks." Some of the clips are "produced" videos with storylines and the band tends to act goofy in these---the best cuts are the early live cuts ("World War 3," "New Age") where the guys possess a raw energy to rival like-minded bands of the day like the Clash and the Sex Pistols. Also included are a couple of out-of-character cover songs; a take on "War" from 1982 and a version of Leadbelly's "Midnight Special" from a 1988 gig the band did in a Saskatchewan prison are included. The clips can also be viewed with commentary from singer/guitarist Joe "Sh*thead" Keithley (this is a must-do at least once) and D.O.A.'s latest CD Northern Avenger is included as a bonus.
Dee Dee Ramone - History on My Arms
Filmed about a decade before his 2002 death, History on My Arms finds Ramone reminiscing in rather a unique way---through his numerous tattoos. Seated in a darkened room for effect and with his tank top off, Ramone points to each bit of ink and then tells a story associated with it. Ramone was a notorious junkie and most of the tales he recounts have to do with drug use, the most interesting of which is the story of how he came to write the blunt ode to heroin "Chinese Rocks." Some scenes show Ramone riffing a little on guitar and a bonus CD features three blues songs that were home-recorded but really this film is about the junkie lifestyle, not music. The saddest part of this documentary comes in its opening moments when Ramone gestures at his chest and arms and says that that's all he has to show from his musical career---his no-longer visible needle tracks from shooting heroin and his tattoos.