Released: 2006, Hard Rock International / MPI Home Video
Hard Rock Treasures follows the travels of Don Bernstine, Director of Acquisitions, for the Hard Rock Café as he searches for hard rock (and pop rock) memorabilia to display in one of the many Hard Rock Café’s around the world. When he’s not bumming for memorabilia, he’s off to an auction to purchase some rare item. An enviable job for sure, as Don gets to hang with rock stars, visit them at home, get treated as one of their buddies, and be given a showing of all kinds of rare items, instruments, original lyric sheets, clothing etc. He said that if you are at a Hard Rock and you’re looking at (for example) a jacket that was worn by your favorite rock god on their whatever world tour, and you recall it clearly, bringing you back to that moment in your life, then he’s done his job. Don is a down to earth and likeable fellow who’s personality is no doubt is a big part of the reason why he’s able to attain some amazing treasures from everyone he meets.
The DVD is presented in series of meetings with rock stars, either back stage or at their homes. There is no ongoing storyline but is a “take it as it happens” styled documentary. Approaching this from a heavy metal point of view, I had to lower my overall rating because a portion of the bands covered here are not even Hard Rock or Heavy Metal. For example, I do not care about authentic Elvis stuff, Elton John’s gay clothing, Brian Wilson’s butt-ugly guitar, or Beatles memorabilia. I’m puzzled as to the name “Hard Rock” when a sizeable chunk of the memorabilia on display is from artists who have nothing to do with hard rock. I guess Hard Rock is a just a brand name and pandering to the masses to capture their money is more important than keeping the collectables true to the genre of Hard Rock (or metal). That aside, let’s have a quick run-down on what was good about this DVD.
The first thing of interest on the DVD was Don’s meeting with the guitarist who created heavy metal, Tony Iommi. He shows off his “monkey guitar” which was used on the recordings of the first four Black Sabbath albums. Tony actually gives this priceless collectable to Hard Rock and his reasoning (beyond the obvious marketing angle) is that he’d rather that people can see this legendary guitar then for it to be stuck in some box. I know if I visited a Hard Rock, and saw that guitar, I’d be pretty stoked! Other moments of interest include an interview with Ace Frehley of Kiss (sporting a full beard!), an interview with Jimmy Page, and interviews with Dimebag and Vinnie of Pantera / Damageplan. Then there are some Motley Crue moments with Vince Neil and Nikki Sixx who talks about how he destroyed all his basses from the THEATER OF PAIN tour (the b/w striped one, and the polka-dot one) but then donated them to Hard Rock rather than throw them away. Don also visits some bands’ storage facilities such as Aerosmith’s huge warehouse, Michael Anthony’s (Van Halen) storage place where he talks about his Tobaco Sauce and Jack Daniels shaped basses. One other cool part is a tour of Metallica’s jam / recording / whatever / storage – area where we get to see the original RIDE THE LIGHTENING ’84 backdrop and the head of Doris, the Lady Justice statue. The Metallica segment ends with James Hetfield simply handing over the keys to a classic muscle car that was used in one of their more recent videos.
The bonus footage of the DVD is great with an interview segment with Slayer’s Kerry King where he gives Don a couple of sweet guitars. There is also a backstage interview with K.K., Glenn, and Rob of Judas Priest where both Glenn and K.K. look a bit uncomfortable for some reason?! The real gem of the bonus footage is the interviews with Vinnie Paul and brother Dimebag Darrell (RIP). Dime talks about the guitar world cover he did with Ace Frehley and Dave Sabo of Skid Row where he put cherry bombs in the pickup of his old guitar mimicking classic Ace! He even has a go at recreating it in a funny scene where he yells out “Shock Me! Ace Frehley…” Dime gives away his royal purple Crown Royal guitar and strap. Don does a follow-up interview with Vinnie and Rita (Dime’s long time girlfriend) where they look back on the past interview and the firework shenanigans they had gotten up to….funny and sad at the same time.
All in all, this was a very enjoyable view and was well done. I don’t think this is something I’d recommend buying on DVD unless you are a memorabilia fanatic. The DVD is worth seeing, or worth catching on TV if it gets aired...I just can’t recommend paying money (retail price is $24.98 US!) on a “music” DVD that has no live footage. One thing that would have been nice to add to the DVD’s bonus section would have been an interview with Don himself as I’m sure he has a load of stories to tell. For example, in one section he mentions being one the road with Rainbow…there must be a story there! So if you get the chance to catch Hard Rock Treasures, do so. One thing the DVD did for me was make me want to visit a Hard Rock Café…this is something I’ve never done because there isn’t one anywhere near me! Damn!