Why Union never struck a chord makes little sense given their talent and, if nothing else, their previous history. Led by John Corabi (ex-Motley Crue, The Scream, Ratt, Brides of Destruction) and Bruce Kulick (ex-KISS, Billy Squier, Meatloaf, Grand Funk Railroad), Union released a stunning debut in 1998 to much fanfare but life on the road was not so kind. Forced back into the studio, THE BLUE ROOM was rushed on to shelves in 2000 with little promotion and disappeared quickly. According to Kulick, Union never broke up but just stopped recording together and its members moved on to other projects. Recently, Union played a handful of shows overseas so the interest is still there and with the newly released DO YOUR OWN THING LIVE! DVD, many fans will finally get to see the band perform live as well as get treated to some nifty extras.
Two identical shows from October 2001 span about 75 minutes and have been seamlessly spliced together from five or six different cameras. Union is incredibly tight live and not only do they play nine originals but also two Corabi-era Motley Crue tracks, two KISS songs, as well as one from The Scream. Corabi’s whiskey-soaked vocals fit the vibe of Union’s bar-band hard rock but he can also croon a nice melody such as that on “Pain Behind Your Eyes.” Kulick has never been a flashy performer and his years in KISS always found him to be pushed to the wayside in favor of two dominant personalities but make no mistake, he can rip when necessary and be just as comfortable on an acoustic passage.
The bonus materials are never mentioned on the DVD packaging but unlock them from the clever and well-styled DVD menus and over 90 minutes of goodies””including another sixty-minute show””awaits. The bonus show, recorded at the NAMM convention in 2000, is a more stripped-down affair than the other shows but the band still sizzles. In addition, a promo marketing video for THE BLUE ROOM, an eight-minute photo gallery and a link to the Union merchandise gallery can be found here as well as over fifteen minutes of behind-the-scenes video footage. The cherry on top, though, is the inclusion of an unreleased song (“Walking In Your Sleep”) taken from one of the band\’s earliest recording sessions. The track is a ballad but could easily have fit on either Union release as it is a far cry from what is commonly known as a “leftover.”
When I interviewed Kulick back in December 2003 after his shooting outside a Hollywood club, he mentioned that he was working on a Union DVD and as a major Union fan, I could hardly wait, so what a treat it was to receive a copy in the mail direct from Bruce (Thanks!!). Wading through the hours of material on the DVD, I was surprised not only by the quality of the package given it is an independently released product, but also at just how excellent a band Union was. DO YOUR OWN THING LIVE! is the perfect companion piece to the Union discography tying the band’s all-too-brief career into a nice retrospective. Let’s hope this is not the last we hear from them.
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