Released at the start of 2007, officially on the 19th of March but available on the band's February tour, '...Aldershot' is the band's first foray into 'real' filmmaking and DVD releases.
Filmed over a period of three months beginning in March 2006, there is some division in the Reuben camp about what the DVD was intended to be. The idea of making some kind of film had been suggested by the band's manager Barney, who was in touch with film company Jabez, whose offshoot 'The Leftside' were interested in moving into music films and partnering with a musical outfit.
At the beginning of 2005, the band had recently parted company with Xtra Mile Recordings (and their press company, press Counsel PR, who were essentially the same team) when the label's funding from Sony was discontinued and they were unable to take up the option of contracting the band for a third album.
Without money or even enough material for a third record, the idea of a film created in partnership with The Leftside became an increasingly viable and interesting concept.
While it still cannot be agreed whether it was conceived as a live concert film or as a short documentary, it is certain that all concerned were well aware of various low-quality examples of 'between labels' live DVDs with accompanying scant 'documentaries' and were determined not to deliver this.
Knowing that they had a tour with newcomer heavyweights Fightstar and a headline show of their own at the Mean Fiddler on the horizon, it was decided that the film would cover every aspect of life in the band, from home-life, work-life, touring, rehearsal and studio work, and would include footage from the Mean Fiddler show as a part of all this, rather than as the main feature.
Filming of the feature was completed shortly before the band spent most of the summer and autumn touring the UK and Europe with idols Billy Talent, with the footage whittled down in their absence by The Leftside from a hefty nine hours to just under one.
Upon returning from the tour, the band were presented with an interesting problem. The DVD had been planned as a 'stop-gap' to keep the fans interested and maintain a presence in the media between the second and third albums. However, with most of 2006 having been taken up by un-foreseen touring opportunities, the band had returned home with barely a month to rehearse the new record before their self imposed November deadline to start recording.
Therefore it was decided to complete the DVD as soon as possible and release it early in 2007, with the album following a few months later.
The final edits were completed in December and January, at the same time as mixing the album, which made for a hectic couple of months. As well as the 50 minute film, the DVD also included a few even shorter films, specially made for the DVD, various outtakes and a song filmed at one of Jim's few solo acoustic shows.
At this point another dilemma faced the band. With the film and the concert (which the band had decided to include in full, but separate from the main feature as linking material had not been shot) and all the extras, the information would not fit on one DVD. Dismayed at the thought of charging fans for two DVDs, or even a dual-layer disc, the band decided at the last minute to include all the studio video diaries from the recording of the third album which had proved so popular in the internet, in the hope of providing maximum value for money. The live show was thus moved into a second disc, keeping all the filmic items on the first.
The DVD would end up being the first release on Reuben's newly formed label, Hideous Records. Having planned to fund the recording of the third album themselves with fees from shows, it was a logical progression to set up their own label, signing a distribution deal with Vital, who had distributed all their releases apart from those on Badmusic. Vital, unaware of the plans for the DVD upon signing the deal, initially decided to leave the distribution of the disc up to the label themselves, considering the relatively small production of only 3000 units. Indeed, the only two outlets for purchasing the DVD on the day of its release were through mailorder on the Hideous Records website, run out of Jim's front room with hordes of envelopes and stamps, or through the Rock Box in Camberley, the band's local record store and a staunch supporter of all their efforts for many years. Gradually, with Vital's help, the distribution was widened to more independent stores, and finally Amazon, HMV and Virgin.
'...Aldershot' was received well by critics, most praising the film for its humorous yet honest portrayal of life in a UK rock band, and in particular the 'revelation' that most bands still have day jobs, although some reviewers missed the point entirely and dismissed it as yet another 'live DVD' (this may be attributed to the fact that a mistake at the production house led to the live portion being the first disc that is removable from the package).
The DVD continues to sell and has been embraced by the fans as a distillation of everything they love about Reuben: honesty, hard work, good humour and good tunes. It should also be noted that the personal nature of the way the mail order service operates, with its hand-addressed envelopes and thank you notes, has meant that the band and their fans, even those from the other side of the world, enjoy a new level of contact.