It might deserve to be this year’s Searching for Sugar Man. They share many things: redemption, great personalities, greater music, Detroit. But since A Band Called Death is not about an engagingly Dylan-esque folk singer-songwriter but a black punk band who might well have invented the genre before anybody was aware of it, the film faces an uphill climb.
In any case, A Band Called Death is playing in limited release now. My review is at Short Ends & Leader, here’s part of it:
There were four Hackney brothers who grew up in the still-thriving Detroit in the 1960s and ‘70s. Three of them (David, Bobby, and Dannis) fused the spirituality of their Baptist preacher father and their mother’s love for music by creating a band that broke boundaries as well as their neighbors’ eardrums. Being black kids in the home of Motown, they started out playing R&B as the beautifully and all-inclusively monikered Rock Fire Funk Express. But then Alice Cooper and The Who came to town, and David, their guitarist/singer and driving force, decided that rock was going to be it. Based on some fuzzy theological musings, he renamed the band Death and soon the sounds coming out of the Hackneys’ spare bedroom was driving everybody crazy with that “white boy music”…
Some media linkage:
- The 2009 New York Times story: “Death Was Punk Before Punk Was Punk“
- Listen to their album here
- Watch the film online here
Lastly, you can watch the trailer here: