DVD Reviews

The Briefs – The Greatest Story Ever Told

(BYO Records)

A very neat DVD/CD package from Seattle’s Briefs, whose rip-roaring live sets and ear-popping recorded output have kept me entertained for the past few years. They are presently on a hiatus, but this DVD documents their story… so far. Following the traditional formula of band members (and friends / cohorts) being interviewed, with spliced live footage, The Briefs story evolves to chronicle their emergence in late Nineties drug-hung-over Seattle, playing their catchy brand of ’77 Punk in small bars and coffee shops/cafes, sticking out a single, and, as confidence grew, spread their wings and gigged further and further from home.

With the release of debut album “Hit after Hit” (Dirtnap Records) The Briefs found themselves very much in demand from Major Labels, and after a soiree at LA’s Viper Room inked a deal with Interscope Records (an arm of the Universal Music Group) A new album was recorded with a ‘hot shot‘ English producer (funnily enough an old school friend of mine) but Interscope stalled and stalled on the release, and then decided they would not be releasing it. The Briefs members for the most part describe this period as strange; initially being courted by the ‘Majors‘, and then frustrated by their chosen Labels choice of producer, and attempts at Management manipulation, and decreasing levels of support. I don’t think in reality they were so naïve to the situation they signed up to, and like any band that takes this choice expects fame and fortune. If ever there was a lesson in getting your fingers burned by a Major Record Label, then The Briefs torrid experience is it.

To their credit they kept on touring hard all through the record label debacle, and (post legal wrangling / Label release) managed to get picked up by independent BYO Records – a more fruitful relationship that has seen the release of two albums to date. The DVD is charged with stacks of extras, inc. music videos and live footage, and additionally there is a most rocking audio CD of a live-to-air Peel session.

Pete Craven