Title: A band called Death

Director: Mark Covino & Jeff Howlett

Starring: Bobby Hackney Sr., Dannis Hackney, David Hackney Bobbie Duncan.

Mike Rubin, reporter of The New York Times, titled his article on Death band:  “This Band Was Punk Before Punk Was Punk.” And indeed it was, since the trio – composed by Bobby Hackney Sr., Dannis Hackney, David Hackney  – preceded the Sex Pistols and Bad Brains in the early 70s, when they were just teenagers in Detroit.

Mark Covino and Jeff Howlett, through the rockumentary ‘A band called Death,’ reconstruct the spiritual voyage of a music (and band) that seemed destined to never emerge. Record companies found Death’s music and band name too intimidating, so the Hackney brothers were forced to disband their group before they even completed one album. But three decades later, when a dusty 1974 demo tape made its way out of the attic and found an audience several generations younger, Death’s music became credited as the first punk band.

The documentary transcends a mere focus on music, since it explores the strength of family bonds and the power of having faith in a dream. At the forefront of this story was an innovator, a man who had a vision and the conviction to stick to that vision and to trigger his brothers to do so after his death. The band called “Death,” that in the 70s was impossibly ahead of its time, today is receiving the long and overdue recognition as true rock pioneer.

Technical: B

Story: B

Overall: B

Written by: Chiara Spagnoli Gabardi

A band called Death Movie

By Chiara Spagnoli Gabardi

Chiara Spagnoli Gabardi, is a film critic, culture and foreign affairs reporter, screenwriter, film-maker and visual artist. She studied in a British school in Milan, graduated in Political Sciences, got her Masters in screenwriting and film production and studied at the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute in New York and Los Angeles. Chiara’s “Material Puns” use wordplay to weld the title of the painting with the materials placed on canvas, through an ironic reinterpretation of Pop-Art, Dadaism and Ready Made. She exhibited her artwork in Milan, Rome, Venice, London, Oxford, Paris and Manhattan. Chiara works as a reporter for online, print, radio and television and also as a film festival PR/publicist. As a bi-lingual journalist (English and Italian), who is also fluent in French and Spanish, she is a member of the Foreign Press Association in New York, the Women Film Critics Circle in New York, the Italian Association of Journalists in Milan and the Federation of Film Critics of Europe and the Mediterranean. Chiara is also a Professor of Phenomenology of Contemporary Arts at IED University in Milan.

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