7.5/10
3,450
11 user 53 critic

A Band Called Death (2012)

Not Rated | | Documentary, Biography, Music | 28 June 2013 (USA)
Trailer
2:12 | Trailer
A documentary on the 1970s punk trio Death, and their new-found popularity decades after they disbanded.

Directors:

Mark Christopher Covino (as Mark Covino), Jeff Howlett
7 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Dannis Hackney Dannis Hackney ... Self - drums, Death
Bobby Hackney Bobby Hackney ... Self - bass and vocals, Death (as Bobby Hackney Sr.)
David Hackney ... Self - guitar, Death (archive footage)
Robbie Duncan Robbie Duncan ... Self / Death-Cuitar
Kathleen Kathleen ... Self - old friend of Death
Earl V. Hackney Jr. Earl V. Hackney Jr. ... Self - not a member of Death (as Earl Hackney Jr.)
Victor Veve Victor Veve ... Self / Lambsbread-Organ, Keyboards
Majora Florida Hackney Majora Florida Hackney ... Self - mother of the Hackney brothers
Victor Twiggs Victor Twiggs ... Self / Lamdsbread-Percussion
The Beatles ... Themselves (archive footage)
The Who ... Themselves (archive footage)
Don Davis Don Davis ... Self - chief executive officer, Groovesville Productions
Brian Spears ... Self - director of publishing 1972-1978, Groovesville Productions
Steve Williams Steve Williams ... Self / Rough Francis
Steve Comegno Steve Comegno ... Self / Rough Francis
Learn more

More Like This 

Instrument (1999)
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

A collaboration between filmmaker Jem Cohen and the Washington D.C. band Fugazi, covering the 10 year period of 1987-1996. Far from a traditional documentary, this is a musical document; a ... See full summary »

Director: Jem Cohen
Stars: Brendan Canty, Joe Lally, Ian MacKaye
Salad Days (2014)
Documentary | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

"Salad Days: A Decade of Punk in Washington, DC (1980-90)" examines the early DIY punk scene in the Nation's Capital. It was a decade when seminal bands like Bad Brains, Minor Threat, ... See full summary »

Director: Scott Crawford
Stars: Fred Armisen, Brendan Canty, Dave Grohl
Documentary | History | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

The History of American Punk Rock 1980-1986

Director: Paul Rachman
Stars: Greg Ginn, Ian MacKaye, James Drescher
Documentary | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Documentary about rock pioneer Roky Erickson, detailing his rise as a psychedelic hero, his lengthy institutionalization, his descent into poverty and filth, and his brother's struggle with their religious mother to improve Roky's care.

Director: Keven McAlester
Stars: Byron Coley, 13th Floor Elevators, Evelyn Erickson
Documentary | Biography | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

The story of the punk rock band The Ramones.

Directors: Jim Fields, Michael Gramaglia
Stars: Rick Rubin, Tommy Ramone, Dee Dee Ramone
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

"Finding Joseph I" is a feature documentary chronicling the eccentric life and struggles of punk rock reggae singer, Paul "HR" Hudson, a.k.a. Joseph I, legendary lead singer from Bad Brains.

Director: James Lathos
Stars: Mark Andersen, Yana Chupenko, Anthony Countey
Documentary | Biography | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

Long before punk rock inflicted its puncture wound on the map of mainstream music, the Descendents were in a van brewing a potent mix of pop, angst, love and coffee and influencing a ... See full summary »

Directors: Deedle Lacour, Matt Riggle
Stars: Bill Stevenson, Milo Aukerman, Karl Alvarez
Documentary | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

Documentary follows Bobby Liebling, lead singer of seminal hard rock/heavy metal band Pentagram, as he battles decades of hard drug addiction and personal demons to try and get his life back.

Directors: Don Argott, Demian Fenton
Stars: Bobby Liebling, Sean Pelletier, Diane Liebling
Dig! (2004)
Documentary | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A documentary on the once-promising American rock bands The Brian Jonestown Massacre and The Dandy Warhols, and the friendship/rivalry between their respective founders, Anton Newcombe and Courtney Taylor.

Director: Ondi Timoner
Stars: Anton Newcombe, Courtney Taylor-Taylor, Joel Gion
Documentary | Biography | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A feature-length documentary chronicling early 80's punk rock band the Minutemen, from their beginnings in San Pedro, California, to their demise after the death of singer D. Boon in 1985.

Director: Tim Irwin
Stars: Milo Aukerman, Joe Baiza, Kevin Barrett
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Ginger Baker looks back on his musical career with Cream and Blind Faith; his introduction to Fela Kuti; his self-destructive patterns and losses of fortune; and his current life inside a fortified South African compound.

Director: Jay Bulger
Stars: Ginger Baker, Femi Kuti, Eric Clapton
Documentary | Biography | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A film about the career of the notorious punk rock band, the Sex Pistols.

Director: Julien Temple
Stars: Paul Cook, Steve Jones, John Lydon
Edit

Storyline

Before Bad Brains, the Sex Pistols or even the Ramones, there was a band called Death. Punk before punk existed, three teenage brothers in the early '70s formed a band in their spare bedroom, began playing a few local gigs and even pressed a single in the hoped of getting signed. But this was the era of Motown and emerging disco. Record companies found Death's music - and band name - too intimidating, and the group were never given a fair shot, disbanding before they even completed one album. Equal parts electrifying rockumentary and epic family love story, A Band Called Death chronicles the incredible fairy-tale journey of what happened almost three decades later, when a dusty 1974 demo tape made it way out of the attic and found an audience several generations younger. Playing music impossible ahead of its time, Death is now being credited as the first black punk band (hell...the first punk band!), and are finally receiving their long overdue recognition as true rock pioneers. Written by Drafthouse Films

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Did You Know?

Soundtracks

Where Do We Go From Here?
Performed by Death
Written by Bobby Hackney (as B. Hackney)
Courtesy of Elect Music Publishing
See more »

User Reviews

 
Fascinating account of a great lost group
17 January 2014 | by Red-BarracudaSee all my reviews

In recent years there seems to have been a cycle of music documentaries about musicians of whom success has eluded. In Anvil: the Story of Anvil we have a band who have had extremely limited success over a very long period, in Searching for Sugarman we have an artist who had extremely minor success and then disappeared only to be rediscovered a quarter of a century later to great acclaim and in 20 Feet from Stardom we have the story of singers whose work we hear everywhere but of whom remain unfairly obscure. A Band Called Death contains elements of all of these documentaries, except in this one the band didn't even release an album until 35 years after their initial demo.

Death were a Detroit proto-punk band. Not only that but they were an all-black proto-punk band, which makes them very unique. There were very few black musicians operating in this area of music back in the 70's. Its details like this that makes their story all the more unusual. Having heard their music, I have to say it was pretty good. Forget proto-punk, this stuff sounded more like post-punk. Its combination of aggression with tight highly skilled musicianship was certainly ahead of its time and sounds more like the more expansive alternative rock that followed in the wake of the punk years. I suppose, looking back on it, being so ahead of their time was one of the problems the band had in getting a record deal. Likewise, their name was a major handicap. Band leader David Hackney conceived of the name and insisted on it being retained at all costs. This of course led to the group losing the one record contract they were offered. It is testament to David's principles but it does seem like a self-defeating stance, as it's the music that counts most, the name is so much less important and we are left wondering what could have been. Of course, a name like 'Death' and music such as theirs is entirely in-step with today's contemporary alternative rock, which is why they were rediscovered to such fanfare. It's great to see them finally have their time in the sun.

The two surviving brothers are genuinely good blokes and we learn most of the story of the band from them. Their brother David died some time round about the year 2000 of lung cancer, so there is a bittersweet nature to the band's late acceptance and success. David was the main visionary of the band. He was a dreamer. It is sad that he never saw the band achieve its long-overdue success but until his dying day he always was convinced that one day people would come looking for their music. And he was proved correct. The film perhaps falls a bit short in detailing the Detroit rock scene of the time. It almost paints a picture where Death were the lone purveyors of this kind of confrontational rock music. This makes them seem more unique but it would have been good if the documentary at least acknowledged fellow Detroit pioneers such as The Stooges and The MC5. It would have put the band and Detroit itself into a bit more historical context. Also, it would have been interesting to know if they had a local following at the time and played any gigs. But, despite these minor issues, the film is still very successful because these guys were genuinely good and it's not a rose tinted spectacle affair. The film also functions as a mechanism for their music to reach an even wider audience and this in itself is a good enough reason for its existence. But the main thing is that now Death have been added to the rock family tree as an important precursor to punk and alternative rock. Even if, in the final analysis, none of that changes the fact that 'Death' is still a terrible name for a band


6 of 7 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 11 user reviews »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

28 June 2013 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A banda neve: Halál See more »

Edit

Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$34,839, 30 June 2013

Gross USA:

$127,257

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$127,257
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Color
See full technical specs »

Contribute to This Page

Free Movies and TV Shows You Can Watch Now

On IMDb TV, you can catch Hollywood hits and popular TV series at no cost. Select any poster below to play the movie, totally free!

Browse free movies and TV series



Recently Viewed