Thursday, June 4, 2015

Death - For the Whole World to See 1971

Death was formed in Detroit, Michigan in 1971 by brothers Bobby (bass/vocals), David (guitar), and Dennis (drums) Hackney. The trio started out as a funk band but switched to rock after seeing a concert by the Who. Alice Cooper was also a big influence. Music critic Peter Margasak retrospectively wrote that David "pushed the group in a hard rock direction that presaged punk". And while this didn't help them find a following in the 70's, today it makes them look like visionaries. They could very well be considered (along with the Stooges) the first punk band in the world. The band broke up in 1977 and reformed in 2009 when
the Drag City label released their early demos for the first time In 1975 they began recording in Detroit with funding from Columbia records president Clive Davis, but he implored the band to change it's name from Death to something more palatable. When the Hackneys refused, Davis pulled out support of the project and only seven songs got recorded of the planned dozen. The following year they released (on their own label Tryangle) a single from the sessions: "Politicians In My Eyes" b/w "Keep on knocking" in a run of 500 copies.
The Hackney brothers ended the band in 1977 and the brothers moved to Vermont and released two albums of gospel music in the 1980's. In 1982, David moved back to Detroit and died of lung cancer in 2000. Bobby and Dannis now lead the reggae band Lambsbread in Vermont. An independent film was made about the band called "A Band Called Death" and was released in 2012.

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