• Image about Don Bernstine

(MPI Home Video)

The so-called Indiana Jones of Rock ’n’ Roll, Don Bernstine, certainly has a job that isn’t bad. He gets to visit rock stars in their homes, on their tour buses, and in the studio to track down, and then nicely coax them out of, valuable pieces of rock-and-roll history to display in any one of the Hard Rock Cafes around the globe. Whether he’s clutching the red ax that Tony Iommi used on the first four Black Sabbath albums, doing shots with Vinnie Paul and the late “Dimebag” Darrell of Pantera, or competing with Hollywood celebs like Téa Leoni for auctioned memorabilia, the man has a good time.

A longtime music-industry veteran, Bernstine is a knowledgeable, if laid-back, tour guide who unearths musical archaeology not only in the form of prized relics (instruments, stage costumes, handwritten lyrics, album cover props, even the car from Metallica’s “I Disappear” video) but also as little-known tales from the past, such as how a gold drum kit once owned by Aerosmith’s Joey Kramer now rests at the bottom of the ocean floor. Hard Rock Treasures serves equally as a fun travelogue, a hip history lesson (including numerous archival clips), and an off-the-cuff collection of interviews. We get to infiltrate the homes of people like AC/DC’s Brian Johnson and Cheap Trick’s Rick Nielsen; sit in the studio with Jimmy Page; and meet the first-ever Hard Rock waitress in London, who’s still gainfully employed there and recalls when Eric Clapton and Pete Townshend first donated guitars. Bonus materials include extended interviews with members of Judas Priest, Pantera, and Slayer, plus a tour of the extensive Hard Rock vaults.

Although this is a somewhat self-­congratulatory piece of propaganda for the Hard Rock chain, it’ll still leave music freaks wondering how they can sign up for a cool gig like this. Rock on, Don. — B.R.