Experience the mind-bending sound and soulfoul voice that turned on a generation of rebellious youth. Witness the formation-and disintegration- of one of the most misunderstood and under-appreciated bands of the era, the b... more »and that launched Janis Joplin: Big Brother and the Holding Company. Hear the untold story in Big Brother's own words. Includes D.A. Pennebaker's rarely-seen live Generation Club footage of "Piece Of My Heart," and "Comin' Home," their breakout performance of "Ball And Chain" and the unreleased "Combination Of The Two" from Monterey Pop; Cheap Thrills recording session of "Summertime," rehearsal and studio performances of "Down On Me,""Blow My Mind,""hall of The Mountain King" and "Light Is Faster Than Sound."« less
"Told mostly by the members of Big Brother, you get to see Big Brother from the early days thru the Janis period. This film doesn't focus exclusively on Janis Joplin, it looks at the band and the effect that Janis Joplin had on the band. Big Brother took a lot of flack for "holding Janis back" from some music critics, but, in truth, Janis was so incendiary on stage that any band would have taken a back seat to her, and looked mediocre in comparison. By itself this film is too tightly focused on commentary, the musical performances are mostly clips lasting a minute or so. However there is a separate menu selection that presents four full length songs performed live, all featuring Janis. This provides a good glimpse of the band, and Janis, and the energy they generated. The main strength of this DVD is the opportunity to get to see members of Big Brother, as well as other contemporaries on the San Fransisco scene, reflect both on the band and the times. There was so much energy then, and it seems so far away now."
Stop Sulking, Boys
David S. Jenkins | On the Road | 01/23/2005
(2 out of 5 stars)
"Three things save this DVD fom the trashcan - one is the selection of KQED-TV black and white performances (although the whole show is available on VHS). Two are the very interesting films of the band recording "Summertime" in the studio for the Cheap Thrills album. Three of course is Janis. She shines. For those who only know her visually from still photos and the Monterey Pop film, you may find yourself surprised at how very attractive she is in every way. Still photos never did her justice. Unfortunately, beyond these three saving graces this hour long documentary is lackluster, managing to make this incredibly exciting period of American rock and roll just plain boring, along with the social revolution which fed it. Most of the band's performances within the documentary are nothing short of embarrassing, PROFOUNDLY bad, bad guitar, bad bass, bad backing vocals, and just sloppy timing. When this is accompanied by lifeless modern interviews with the band, it's tough to find pleasure on this disc. It comes across, I'm sad to say, as grown men whining incessantly about how nobody liked them and everyone liked Janis more. Even though I've always regarded the band's live playing on Cheap Thrills and an alternate evening's performance which is out there someplace on CD as being brilliant, my opinion of Big Brother's abilities (and personal character) has shrunk mightily after watching 900 Nights. All bands have bad nights, and have bad recordings out there in circulation - most Airplane live recordings are pretty scary, but nothing like what we have here. One would have had to look very hard for performance clips that made the band sound worse. The black cherry on the sour whipped cream is found in the extras, where each band member is asked how he heard about Janis' death. Peter Albin's and James Gurley's responses are bloodless and shameful. Honest perhaps, but show a little class guys. Remember that you're part of legendary band for one reason and one reason alone. If it wasn't for that one particular lady, no one would know your names. Stop whining. Get over it. You got fired because you were a pretty lousy band who couldn't keep time or play decent solos. The Cheap Thrills album sounds like another band, frankly."
VERY WELL DONE "DOCUMENTARY "ON BIG BROTHER
danny | wheaton, maryland United States | 03/25/2002
(3 out of 5 stars)
"very good documentary on big brother and the holding company,my major interest was good vintage concert footage, so the highlight for me personaly were the four uninterrupted songs in the "extra" section of this dvd,three of the four i consider "very rare" as i have never seen them anywhere else,(b+w footage but great quality),please understand however that the bulk of this dvd is a documentary,one i consider very well done,but remember a "documentary" not a live concert film.***i think serious fans will enjoy having this in their collection.***"
Not the definitave overview
Michael L. Knapp | Placerville, CA United States | 07/03/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This is a decent documentary. The only problem is that when all the talking is done it was really the music that mattered and there is little of that here. The clips are just long enough to be frustrating. janis was great but through the years Big Brother has gotten the short end of the stick. Sure they were rough & could be sloppy by todays standard but there are some things to consider that made most of the bands, be it The dead, Buffalo Springfield,The Byrds, Jefferson Airplane to The monkees and even the Beatles, something less that stellar in performance. Stage monitors were either very poor or non existant. Another this is that electronic tuners weren't around yet. Have you ever tried to tune an electric guitar on stage with a pitch pipe? Another thing is that35 years after the passing of Janis Big Brother is still performing and touring the world. One of this documentary's problems is the unenviable task of translating the importance of Big Brother to a time nearly 40 years down the road. This work is watchable and will do till something better comes along."
Good Intentions, Indifferent Production
ssmithee | Redondo Beach, CA United States | 10/29/2001
(2 out of 5 stars)
"The good news about this DVD is that it does focus more on Big Brother as a band, rather than exclusively on Janis Joplin, as other documentaries have. Unfortunately, the sound quality is overall very poor, and the images are often washed out. This is especially noticeable because much of the same footage has been used in such other films as JANIS, MONTEREY POP, BIG BROTHER : BALL AND CHAIN, and various TV specials (A&E, Biography, VH1 and so on) so comparisons are too easy to make. I have reissues of 78 rpm vinyl records on CD that have been digitally restored to offer clearer sound than this DVD, and have seen silent movie images similarly restored, so I can only surmise that this documentary was hastily thrown together with an eye to the fast buck and not much concern for production quality. That being said, the DVD does offer a fascinating look at the band members then and now. Some of them look back on the Psychedelic Era with nostalgic fondness, while others have obviously been clinging to and rehearsing their grudges for the last 40 years. If they'd never met Janis Joplin, Big Brother's story might have been very different -- whether nobody would ever have heard of them, or whether they'd have made it big on their own raw-edged, bluesy terms, we'll never know. But this DVD offers tantalizing glimpses of not only what was, but what might have been."