ROCK DOC :: A Band Called Death / Movie Review

What a ride! I just finished watching this film and just have to say that I'm really moved by what I saw and heard, so lets start at the beginning.

In the 1970's, three black brothers from Detroit - David, Dannis and Bobby Hackney started making music. They were inspired by their parents and also the rock sound that became vibrant at the time, including Alice Cooper and The Who. They took on the name "Rock Fire Funk Express" but after the unexpected of their loss of their father; David, the leader of the group, decided on the name Death. These guys quickly became talented at their instruments and went to record and album that was years ahead of its time. Working with a local producer, the guys tried seeking a record deal and no one would sign them mainly because of the name of the band. They got an offer if they would change the name of the band, but David wasn't having it. The band used their own money to press a 7" single - Politicians in my Eyes / Keep On Knocking, which they distributed in an attempt to get radio play.

Eventually, the group got tired of all the rejection. They moved to New England, where two of the brothers moved on to pursue other musical careers. David had always believed in the music and concept of the band and went back to Detroit where he lived out his days. Before his passing, one of his last acts was giving his brother Bobby the master recordings of their time in the studio as Death saying that some day someone would come looking for that music.

The story gets surreal when nearly 35 years after Death disbanded, the sons of Dannis and Bobby Hackney rediscovered their fathers' music, realized how talented they were and what a rare thing this was. Serious collectors were paying top dollar for the rare 7" release. The sons formed a band and started playing covers in tribute and to spread the word. Eventually, the original Death recordings were re-released and the two remaining members went on tour to finally realize the dream of their departed brother.

It's rare to find a true story like this, where the dream of one brother was so strong that it caused the other two to support him no matter what - even if his dream didn't come about until after he left this earthly plane.

You can check out the album - For The Whole World To See in it's entirety here. You can watch the full film online from Drafthouse Films.


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