Wednesday, May 21, 2014

A Band Called Death (2012)

Directors: Mark Christopher Covino, Jeff Howlett

Composer: Tim Boland, Sam Retzer

Starring: Dannis Hackney, Bobby Hackney, David Hackney, Robbie Duncan, Victor Veve, Victor Twiggs, Bobby Hackney Jr., Julian Hackney, Urian Hackney, Steve Williams, Steve Comegno, Dylan Gambatista, Majora Florida Hackney, Earl V. Hackney Jr., Heidi Simpson, Tammy Hackney, Henry Rollins, Kid Rock, Elijah Wood, Alic Cooper, Don Davis, Brian spears, Mickey Leigh, Mike Rubin, Don 'Das' Schwenk

More info: IMDb

Tagline: Before there was punk, there was a band called Death.

Plot: Before Bad Brains, the Sex Pistols or even the Ramones, there was a band called Death. Punk before punk existed, three teenage brothers in the early '70s formed a band in their spare bedroom, began playing a few local gigs and even pressed a single in the hoped of getting signed. But this was the era of Motown and emerging disco. Record companies found Death's music - and band name - too intimidating, and the group were never given a fair shot, disbanding before they even completed one album. Equal parts electrifying rockumentary and epic family love story, A Band Called Death chronicles the incredible fairy-tale journey of what happened almost three decades later, when a dusty 1974 demo tape made it way out of the attic and found an audience several generations younger. Playing music impossible ahead of its time, Death is now being credited as the first black punk band (hell...the first punk band!), and are finally receiving their long overdue recognition as true rock pioneers.

My rating: 7.5/10

Will I watch it again? Nah.

Great documentary and what makes the subject even better is that the music is so damn good.  We get the usual info you get in band/musician documentaries but what makes this one stand out is you've got three black brothers playing rock & roll/punk music, something that only Jimi Hendrix had been successful at as a black man.  And despite the success of Hendrix, this talented bunch of guys struggled to get signed but a large part of that was insisting on keeping the band's name of Death.  Then you get the incredible story of how their music resurfaced more than thirty years later.  It's quite an emotional story.  But none of this would mean much of anything if the quality of the music wasn't there.  It's solid and it's a damn shame the band didn't break in the 70s. What they had was special and I'm glad to know of their music. 

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