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A Band Called Death (+ Digital Copy)
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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 hopes 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 its way out of the attic and found an audience several generations younger. Playing music impossibly 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.
Top Customer Reviews
Heidi Hackney Simpson
However... nothing can ruin the enjoyment of a band like hype and inaccurate facts on their history...especially when people start buying into it and shoving it down your throat.
The story of the band itself is amazing, but this recent documentary (while mostly great) makes some statements that are simply not true....statements that seem to be passed around the internet a lot over the past 4 years, and a lot of people are buying as fact.
Death were not BEFORE the Ramones (as stated in the trailer), and were not "doing what the Ramones were doing but 2 years earlier", as stated in an interview by a member of the Roots.
While Death certainly predate the punk movement itself, they were one of MANY groups who were playing this kind of music in 1974...and I'm not even counting the Stooges and Mc5 from a few years earlier.
Along with the Saints, Dictators, Electric Eels, and Rocket From the Tombs, the Death story is just much more appealing to a mass audience.
As for the Ramones,
-Death established in the Spring of '74. Before that, the Hackney Brothers were a funk group called Rock Fire Funk Express. The Ramones formed in January '74
-Death wrote the songs on "for the whole world to see' between Oct and Dec '74 (as stated in the record sleeve). The Ramones played their first show March 30, '74, and were playing CBGB's weekly by August. There's also documented audio of the Ramones from Sept 15, 1974.
-Death recorded "for the whole world to see" on Feb 18, 1975.Read more ›
This documentary is basically split into two parts. The first tells the story of the three Hackney (Bobby, Dannis, and David) brothers who grew up in a tight knit working class household. Their father was a an electrical lineman who died heroically trying to a man's life. This incident would touch all three brothers, David in particular, very deeply. During the late 1960s and early 1970s, the Hackneys developed a love toward the heaviest rock bands and artists of that time. So, they decided to form their own band much to the disdain of both whites who thought only whites should play rock music and blacks who felt that blacks should only play rhythm and blues. The eldest David played guitar, Dannis played the drums, and Bobby handled both bassist and lead vocalist duties. The next job was to now find a name for the band.
David who was still strongly affected by his father's passing decided to go with Death.Read more ›
The doc is much better at describing how unlikely their music was, coming from three African-Americans in Motor City, no less. Band leader David was clearly a rebellious spirit, who, when told he should be doing a "Motown" style, stuck with his bombastic hard rock guns. He and his brothers were also told that they needed to change the band's name. David's response? No. The "No" finally cost them a $20,000 recording contract with Arista Records. (Now THAT'S punk.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
An amazing story with a few twists and turns that if in a work of fiction you'd never believe.Published 20 days ago by Jerry Chandler II
My cousin wants me to prove that we are related to these guys. The Black community in Detroit was pretty tight and larger back them. It's possible.Published 2 months ago by Lola Jones
Wildly entertaining documentary that does a great job of capturing the feel of the times when Death began. Read morePublished 2 months ago by RecAcoustic
A great movie if you like music and especially if you like documentaries.Published 2 months ago by Amazon Customer