Surely you’ve seen A Band Called Death by now, right? If not, you seriously need to get on that. Though it seems to have expired from Netflix streaming (booooo), it’s still available to subscribers on Hulu Plus and Amazon Prime (and it’s only like $3 for non-Prime Amazon streaming). If you’ve missed this story somehow, the film relates the saga of the Hackneys, three young African-American brothers in Detroit, MI, in the early ‘70s, whose family band eerily predicted the back-to-basics hard rock ethos and sound of punk by a couple of years, and yet they remained entirely unknown to the world until the discovery of their excellent self-released 7” made them a 21st Century cause célèbre among record collectors.
The rediscovery of Death brought forth some marvelous fruits—Death’s lost LP For the Whole World to See was released to justifiable acclaim in 2009, and the band’s vaults were emptied with the releases of the collections Spiritual Mental Physical and III, and an album of new material by the reconstituted and re-energized band (minus guitarist/visionary David Hackney, who died of lung cancer in 2000), titled N.E.W., is due later this month. And the discovery had generation-spanning effects, in that the three sons of Death’s bassist/singer Bobby Hackney have, rather symmetrically, formed a family band called Rough Francis.
As the documentary reveals, younger Hackneys Julian, Urian, and Bobby Jr. had NO IDEA their dad and uncles had ever been in a hard rock band, only finding out after Chunklet blogged MP3s of the lost single. They retrieved the Death master tapes from their father’s attic and formed their own band to play those songs, copping their name from the pseudonym used by their late uncle David on his last recording. It’s tempting to indulge in cynicism and presume the band to be coattail-riders, but Rough Francis became an original band in its own right, purveying a tight, headstrong and effective post-hardcore sound that harnesses an energy all the band’s own. They released an E.P. in 2010, and the album Maximum Soul Power last year. Next week, their new single, “MSP2/Blind Pigs” will be released on Riot House, and it’s Dangerous Minds’ extreme pleasure to debut “Blind Pigs” for you today… right after the jump.