P.O.D. (or Payable On Death) began life in San Diego in 1992. The four piece outfit built a following in their home town through playing extensive live shows at local punk venues and by supporting touring artists such as Green Day. The band is made up of Marcos on guitar, Wuv on drums, Sonny on lead vocals and Traa on bass and together they established their own independent record label, Rescue Records. Their first releases on this label, Snuff the Punk, Brown and Live, were all literally sold from the back of their touring van and helped the band build a large following in their home town.
Combining hip-hop, reggae and metal, the sound was very popular with fans, offering something different. The popularity they had built up led to a recording contract with Atlantic Records in August 1998 after years of constant touring throughout the USA. After the release of The Warriors EP, 1999 saw the relase oftheir first album on Atlantic with The Fundamental Elements of Southtown. It deservedly broke into the charts and fans that had been with the band from the start were relieved to see that signing to a big name label had not commercialised the band. Their ferocious live sound is driven by their spiritual conviction, all being born-again Christians. Each to their own of course, but it is a relief to see a band that has an obvious love for God that doesn’t ram their beliefs down the fans throats.
2001 saw the second release on Atlantic with the hugely successful album Satellite, which included the international chart topping single Alive. The band toured the word extensively and are only going stronger, maintaining their outlook and drive. Fans of the band that call themselves the Warriors are also growing at an alarming rate. The band has recently released the lead single for the new film Matrix Reloaded, which is getting extensive radio airplay and further enhancing their reputation.
Still Payin’ Dues is a documentary-style feature that gives a great insight into the band and their music. We travel with the band on tour and see early footage from their beginnings in San Diego. There is extensive behind the scenes footage and continuous interviews, both with the band themselves, crew and fans. There are also some videos included within the main feature along with those supplied in the extras and although this feature only has a running time of 64:09, it offers plenty to keep the viewer entertained. The biggest plus with this feature, though, is the way it is filmed. Shot predominantly on Handycam’s, it gives a real raw feel and adds greatly to the whole experience.
The band seem to genuinely love what they do and also seem to appreciate the fans' involvement in their success. They are are quite upfront when stating that they will keep doing what they do as long as they can and realise that fame doesn’t last forever. Their priorities in life are their families and this respect for other people comes across well towards fans. Overall this is an informative and entertaining documentary on a band that deserves the popularity they have so far attained.
Due to the variety of footage used, the quality of this transfer varies greatly. Predominantly in full frame and what appears to be an aspect ratio of 1.85:1 on some footage, the quality ranges from excellent to Handycam with everything in-between. The point is that this is how it is intended and fans should be more than pleased with the outcome. For the documentary, the majority of footage is from a Handycam and this really adds to the rawness. There is plenty of live footage included along with video clips in this main feature and it would be easy to say it is riddled with problems such as grain, aliasing, over saturation and lack of detail, but for the most part this is intentional and really delivers the footage as intended.
Audio for the main feature is supplied in Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo and this is as good as it needs to be. Although there is a lot of live footage and video clips that would normally require a DD 5.1 mix, these do sound better than expected. For the live footage and video clips included in the extras, sound is supplied in a choice of Dolby Digital 2.0 surround or DD 5.1 and both sound great. Be sure to turn the volume down before selecting the DD 5.1 mix though as it is much louder than the stereo used in the main feature. Sound is clear throughout all mixes, but the highlight is the DD 5.1 mix for the video clips. For these the sound really packs a punch with the subwoofer almost bouncing around the room.
Quite an impressive array of extras accompanies this release. All are interesting and should satisfy fans.
This may be classed as an extra, but many fans will want this DVD simply for the videos. Video clips included are Southtown, Rock the Party, Alive, Youth of the Nation, Boom, Satellite and Selah. All look terrific, but the highlight is the sound. There is the option here of Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo or 5.1 surround - pump it up I say!
Live in Concert
Running for 13:17, this live footage features the three songs Hollywood, The Messanjah and School of Hard Knocks. There is a lot of live footage throughout this DVD and this extra is possibly the best visually and sound wise of the lot.
Allows the viewer to select tracks and the order in which they play from the video and live sections, a choice of ten tracks in all.
Behind the Scenes
With a total running time of 31:11, this featurette is split into three sections. Firstly Youth of the Nation Around the World looks at footage from all over the globe of the audience singing along to this song. Cruisin’ Tokyo features footage of the band in Tokyo and Crew Cam has some interesting backstage footage along with the band on the road. Lastly is Very Special Guest (Los Angeles, CA), which shows the performance of HR – Human Rights who is the lead singer of the band Bad Brains. This footage is from when he joined P.O.D. onstage during their LA show.
Alive Video Storyboard
Running for 3:30, this feature plays the music for the hit song Alive while showing the storyboard. The option is also there to skip to certain parts of the song. It would have been nice to have the actual video playing as well in a multi angle format but this is still very good.
Containing 26 pictures of the band in posed, backstage and live shots.
For those with a DVD drive on their computers, there are a couple of weblinks here plus 364 pictures of the band. If you don’t have a DVD drive then you can still access the pictures from the P.O.D. website, but it is nice to have them on the disc at your disposal.
This is an excellent package and a DVD that fans of the band will love. An informative and entertaining documentary is well supported by some terrific extras. Many would be happy with the documentary alone, but to get several additional video clips in 5.1 surround sound along with a live section and many other extras, this DVD is well worth adding to the collection if you are a fan.