A year or two ago I was listening to a SMODCAST episode where Kevin Smith and Scott Mosier were discussing the premise of a documentary film that Scott was producing and it caught my attention and sorta stuck in the back of my mind. So tonight I was strolling through the documentary section of Netflix on my Wii U and I saw that they had it available for streaming and I finally got around to watching it.
A Band Called Death is the story about 3 blood brothers growing up in Detroit, Michigan and with the support of their mother they formed a band by the name of “Death” in the 1970’s.
The film takes us from the brothers early years showing us the strong family bond they share, the bands inception, the early struggles they faced trying to land a record deal with what was considered at the time a commercially unviable name, even facing the social stereo-type within their own community for producing “white boy music” and ultimately having the tiniest problem of creating an unusually loud, “a head of it’s time” protopunk-sound. The 3 members that make up the band are David Hackney (guitar), Bobby Hackney (bass, vocals), and Dannis Hackney (drums).
I was fascinated with all 3 brothers and found myself relating to them emotionally on an artistic, family and faith level. Throughout the film we see the dynamic of their upbringing taking an ever larger and important role in their lives, holding them together through some pretty hard times. Ultimately this film shows us how David Hackney had the foresight to see what they were doing was revolutionary, fresh and mind blowing; and not to mention the faith he had in his musical vision regardless of any pressure or temptation they faced to change the bands image and sound for a record deal. Something that most of us would-be artists wouldn’t have the strength to do in our respected fields.
A Band Called Death is unforgettable, spiritual, real and as close as you can get to following artists on their life long pursuit of fulfilling their dreams. The filmmakers behind this film do a phenomenal job at telling the bands story but also managed to poetically interweave the cryptic message of why David Hackney decided to name the band Death in the first place.
“Death isn’t the end, it’s a spiritual begining.”
I could not recommend this documentary enough, if you’re into good docs, good flicks then don’t cheat yourself out of this gem. So what are you waiting for #NetFlixit!!!