This documentary film was made in 2001 and received quite a few film festival showings in 2002 to critical acclaim. If you're an Undertones fan, even if only mildly, then this dvd is an essential item to own.
The documentary is brilliantly put together and really conjures up the images and feelings of what it must have been like to have been a teenage kid growing up in Derry in the early to mid 1970s in the midst of "the Troubles". The full film, additional interviews and live footage plus 7 hard to find promos are all included to make it a comprehensive and very good value dvd release.
In the film the band talk at length about the early days of the band - from playing in their bedrooms and local Scout Huts before progressing on to the clubs and pubs of Derry and ultimately the USA. Damian O'Neill reads sections from his own scrapbook covering the period and, throughout, the film is interspersed with amateur footage of the local sights and sounds of the era - much of it of the British Army on the streets of Derry, standing on street corners with sub machine guns with burning barricades in the background.
Damian speaks about how the band grew and matured and became more aware of what was going on around them. Their transformation from teenage boy Ramones fans to young men developing fast, with their tastes changing to the likes of Marvin Gaye and at the same time discovering girls, is strikingly and sensitively covered. Damian seems a little awkward, but at the same time talks without any regrets, about him wearing a black armband on "Top of the Pops" on the day in May 1981 when Bobby Sands, the IRA hunger striker, died in prison in case any Protestant Undertones fans were offended by his actions at the time. Not the types of subjects that the average "rockumentary" would even consider covering, let alone with the sensitivity that is shown here.
The final split in 1983 clearly is still an episode that all of the band, including Feargal, find a little painful to discuss. Eventually they simply grew apart and stopped having fun - and fun, especially live on stage, was always the biggest part of what made the Undertones the classic band they were from 75 to 83.
The BBC radio dj John Peel narrates the film excellently, and closes by talking about the single he wishes to have played at his funeral, "Teenage Kicks".
I was lucky enough to see the band live 4 times from 1979 to 1983 when they split up. When I heard they were reforming in 1999 without Feargal Sharkey I was very apprehensive but I saw them again in Amsterdam in Dec 2002 with the new singer, Paul McCloone, and they were superb. So if you get the chance see them live, do so. Also buy this dvd. For the latest current news and information go to [...] and [...]