Documentary Review: A Band Called Death (2012)

Release Date: June 16th, 2012 (Los Angeles Film Festival)
Directed by: Mark Christopher Covino, Jeff Howlett
Music by: Tim Boland, Death, Rough Francis

Drafthouse Films, 98 Minutes


Man, this was a great picture.

A Band Called Death chronicles the lives of the Hackney brothers, sons of a preacher in Detroit. The Hackneys went on to record some amazing music, essentially playing punk rock before punk rock was really even a thing. The film shows how they made their music, the motivation behind it and how it was lost and then remained undiscovered for decades. However, it recently saw the light of day and the band found the success that eluded them in their youth.

The highlight of the film is that it interviews the two surviving brothers and their family. It is really a story about family, brotherhood and bonds. The sons of one of the band members created their own band as a tribute to their father and uncles and have since toured with them, which is also covered in the film.

Death is a bad ass fucking band. I’ve heard their music now for a few years but didn’t get to know the full story until now. So when I pop on my vinyl record, I think it’ll have a much deeper meaning for me now.

I would definitely say that this is a must-see rock documentary. The story, as it unfolds, just seems like something Hollywood would create but it is true. And I can’t think of any other musical act that has had any sort of similar path to notoriety.

Really, everyone should just listen to their tunes and soak them in.

Rating: 9/10

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