Sight & Sound, Trailers

Trailer watch: A Band Called Death

Before there was punk, there was a band called Death. In 1971, three brothers (Bobby, David, and Dennis Hackney) formed protopunk outfit Death amongst the popularity of the Motown scene. The band, a precursor to what became punk rock, was instrumental in breaking the stereotypical African-American contribution to the rock scene; beating out future punk/hardcore heavyweights Bad Brains by nearly a decade.

A Band Called Death, a new documentary by Drafthouse Films, sheds lights on the all too brief time the band spent together- recording a total of only 7 songs- before disbanding in 1977.

The documentary is available now on demand and is hitting US cinemas June 28th in limited release.


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American Hardcore second edition out Nov. 1st

One of the most celebrated texts in hardcore history is getting a second showing this November. Steven Blush’s acclaimed American Hardcore: A Tribal History will get its second edition run that will include a bevy of additional material. Blush is pulling out all the stops with the new print with updated chapters (including an entirely new one titled ‘Destroy Babylon’), 25 new interview subjects, over 200 new band bios, new artwork and an expanded discography. The original page length sat at 328 pages, the new edition will feature over 400.

Blush will also promote the new edition on a tour of libraries, universities and book stores starting on October. The success of the initial print spawned the acclaimed documentary American History: The History of American Punk Rock 1980-1986. It is quite possibly one of the greatest music related documentaries we have ever seen.

The second edition will be available starting November 1st from Feral House Publishing. So far, the confirmed speaking dates for Blush are:

10/07 – Portsmouth, NH @ Portsmouth Public Library
10/08 – Worcester, MA @ Worcester Public Library
10/09 – Portland, ME @ Portland Public Library

Here is the original trailer for the documentary:


Big Take Over

The Bad Brains are a complicated band with a sordid history. As detailed in Stephen Blush’s American Hardcore, they were never short of revolutionary music making, controversial attitudes, and a desire for self-destruction that ultimately limited the band’s potential and appeal. I was reading Blush’s book during the week of the show and their praise seemed wholly justified as we went from song to song. Just an amazing sense of power and urgency- fueling the kind of anger that would influence countless future artists (Minor Threat among them) to greater things.

An hour of power. I think we stuck to their more noted material, and stayed away from their more metal/rock leanings that saw them fade during the late 80s and early 90s. A viciously fun show.