Before the Sex Pistols or even the Ramones, there was a band called Death made up of three black teenage brothers.
‘A Band Called Death’, chronicles the incredible journey of these punk rock pioneers in the 1970s.
Group member Bobby Hackney explained: “Death went through so much rejection in the 70s, we had no choice but to be confined to our room – our cave – at the time. And we just worked on music and wrote music. And David and I wrote a lot of songs — I mean a big book of songs. And these are songs I thought would never see the light of day. They were just keepsakes to me. Until this story happened.”
This was the era of Motown and emerging disco. The music they played was ahead of its time, particularly for black musicians.
The band’s drummer Dannis Hackney said: “All of our black friends was like, ‘Yeah, you jamming with the white boys now, huh?’”
“Yeah, they would always try to convince us to play the music that the black community was tuned into. And we loved that music. We loved James Brown, we loved Motown. But it was like… we wanted to play rock and roll,” added his brother and bass player Bobby Hackney.
The third brother, lead singer and guitarist David Hackney, died in 2002 but Dannis and Bobby have now re-formed to make new music using some of the original songs they wrote in the early 70s.
In addition, Bobby’s sons now play the band’s original music under the name Rough Francis.
Death is now being credited as the first black punk band.
‘A Band Called Death’ is on a limited release in the US.