Bert Switzer: Second Chance DVD

Nov 13, 2006

The pieces of reviews and blurbs on the back of the case all profess to the brilliance of the drumming of Bert Switzer, former skinman for the Boston-area bands Monster Island and the Destroyed, and for the most part those reviews are right: the guy truly is impressive. Where this DVD falls short, however, are the seemingly self-indulgent motivations in producing it. I really do want to believe that there was a call on the part of the masses for this vid, but it comes off much more readily as a blatant promotional tool than something produced to entertain, inform, or meet consumer demand.

A huge chunk of this video is devoted to watching Switzer perform drum solos, often in excess of three minutes. Yes, the solos are impressive. Yes, they get dull very quickly, if only because there are so many of them and they never seem to end. Moreover, they tend to be shot from one angle and one angle alone: dead center facing Switzer in a practice space. About half way through the DVD there occurs a solo that was very good, if only because some production value (different angles, close-ups, rudimentary computer enhancement, etc.) had been added to jazz up what I was essentially looking at for the tenth time at that point.

That is not to say that Second Chance doesn’t have its strong points, though. The interviews with former bandmates are often quite interesting, especially that of Owen Maercks (sadly, that interview is far too short), and in the course one is presented with some wonderfully obscure footage and tales from rock‘n’roll history, always a good thing. The most entertaining bit, though, was a conference-call jam between Switzer and former Destroyed frontman J.D. Jackson. But as with the footage of other bandmates, I felt that it was too short and seemed to be included for good measure rather than to provide a complete picture of Switzer’s past and present. Topically, this is quite an interesting subject; a blurb from Reviewer Magazine claims that someone should make a documentary on Switzer. I agree, because as it is now, Second Chance can’t stand on drum solos alone, and a good filmmaker could turn this into something truly worthwhile. –The Lord Kveldulfr (,