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Image Entertainment presents
The Knack: Live from the Rock 'n' Roll Funhouse (2001)

"Good girls don't, good girls don't/But she keeps telling you/Good girls don't, but I do"
- Doug Fieger from Good Girls Don't

Review By: Jeff Ulmer   
Published: May 06, 2002

Stars: Doug Fieger, Berton Averre, Prescott Niles, David Henderson
Director: James LaRocco

Manufacturer: Ritek
MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (language)
Run Time: 01h:00m:01s
Release Date: April 23, 2002
UPC: 014381129427
Genre: rock

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
B+ BA-B C-

DVD Review

"She's your adolescent dream/School boy stuff, sticky sweet romance/And she makes you want to scream/Wishing you could get inside her pants..."

Their's was a rock 'n' roll fairy tale. In an era dominated by disco, The Knack had solicited every major label in the business, and were unceremoniously turned down. To exact their revenge, and bring back the good old days of teenage rock music, they blitzed the club scene, taking the local circuit by storm, and as a result had Rolling Stone hailing them as the second coming of The Beatles. The buzz from their L.A. performances sparked a bidding war involving a reported thirteen labels, which landed the group a deal at Capital Records worth half a million dollars for two albums. They cut their first for under $18,000, and its first single, My Sharona, became a radio smash, securing the number one position for six weeks. Get The Knack, produced by former Sweet vocalist, Mike Chapman (who had previously produced number-one singles by Blondie, Nick Gilder, and Exile), went gold in just 13 days, and platinum in under two months, becoming one of the fastest sellers in history, and was nominated for two Grammys. Guitarist/vocalist Doug Fieger, lead guitarist Berton Averre, drummer Bruce Gary and bassist Prescott Niles had the industry by the short hairs. Every high school band knew their signature riff, and the tabloids scrambled to find the real life Sharona.

The artwork on their debut was a not-too-subtle spoof of the Meet The Beatles album—stark black and white, the band dressed in clean cut, respectable attire. But their image didn't represent the naughty lyrical content: with songs written from the perspective of the horny teenager, this band certainly wasn't all that sweet and innocent. Doug Fieger's tongue-in-cheek pubescent fantasies were spelled out in detail, and it was a bit of a shock to hear the profane lyrics to (She's So) Selfish here for the first time (Canadian audiences were protected with an edited version on the album release). Musically, they harkened back to simple early rock influences, though their hook laden hit contrasted with more melodic and straight ahead tracks like Oh Tara or That's What the Little Girls Do. Their immense and rapid success caused a severe backlash in some sectors of the press. Detractors called them unoriginal and all hype; some critics were offended by the band's chauvenistic attitude and suggestive (to put it lightly) humor. One San Francisco artist even launched a Nuke The Knack campaign, which snowballed into a major phenomenon. Like other super groups who fall out of fashion (The Bee Gees, Kiss or The Bay City Rollers come to mind), they were treated as pariahs in the industry and their meteoric rise to fame came to a crashing halt only a few years after topping the charts.

The 1994 release of Reality Bites dusted off the band's signature tune, and My Sharona once again took a ride up the charts, breaking into the top 100, only one of a dozen songs ever to do so. Rediscovered by a new audience, the band reformed, releasing a new record and performing on a couple of tribute albums. With a new found respectability, The Knack were back. In August, 2001, the band taped this retro-style live show in Long Beach, California. If they were trying to shake the Beatles image, they didn't doing a very good job, with Doug Fieger's Lennon-esque hair cut, and pulling out an instrument array straight from the fab four's endorsement lineup, but I suspect this is another case of a nod and a wink being necessary to "get" The Knack. While I'm not one hundred percent convinced of the authenticity of this "live" performance (due to a number of small inconsistencies from what is shown and what is played), this still represents a fun spotlight for the band. The simple staging is effective, and the band looks like they are enjoying themselves. A number of new songs are mixed in with the hits from the first three albums, all of which are played with enthusiasm, and makes for an enjoyable watch.

The full set list:

Pop is Dead
Baby Talks Dirty
Oh Tara
Can I Borrow a Kiss
Another Lousy Day in Paradise
Good Girls Don't
One Day at a Time
It's Not Me
Siamese Twins (The Monkey and Me)
Harder on You
Sweet Dreams
Seven Days of Heaven
That's What the Little Girls Do
(She's So) Selfish
My Sharona
(Havin' a) Rave Up

Rating for Style: B+
Rating for Substance: B


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: Video quality is great, with good color saturation, solid blacks and no tape defects to speak of. Aliasing is minimal and only affects a few scenes; no edge enhancement was detected. This was shot in studio, so lighting is looks good and the image suffers from none of the problems associated with many concert videos.

Image Transfer Grade: A-


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishyes
Dolby Digital

Audio Transfer Review: English 5.1 and stereo tracks are included. The 5.1 track is noteably more expansive, but surround activity is minimal. Guitars and vocals are clear and well defined, but the bottom end is somewhat indistinct and mushy, adding more of a presence than a solid kick and bass presentation. The 2.0 track is considerably more center-focused, with much less definition in the mix, but sounds good otherwise.

Audio Transfer Grade: B


Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Music/Song Access with 17 cues and remote access
Packaging: EastPack
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extra Extras:
  1. Image gallery
Extras Review: Extras include a 3-minute slide presentation of still shots from the show, and a single screen discography, which omits their latest Zoom album for some reason.

An eight-page booklet is included, featuring shots of various memorabilia.

Extras Grade: C-


Final Comments

Relive "The Big Knack Attack" with this evening at the fictitious Rock 'n' Roll Fun Palace. Hosted by the hip Johnny Lemonjello (who looks surprisingly familiar...hmmm), this collection of classic Knack tunes is an enjoyable trip down memory lane. Despite the hype that both launched and ended their careers in the 1970s, this showcase demonstrates what made them a success—four guys in a band out to have a good time. Isn't that what rock 'n' roll is all about?


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