Documentary Review : A Band Called Death (2013)

IMDB Score – 7.4
Rotten Tomato Score – 96%
Netflix Watch Instant

Directed By – Mark Christopher Covino and Jeff Howlett
Starring – Bobby, David, and Dannis Hckney

A documentary on the 1970s punk trio Death, and their new found popularity decades after they disbanded.

I’ve never been a fan of punk rock. I always understood the value of rebelling against social and political norms but musically I just have always found punk to be to bland. To me, the good punk bands are the ones who either came first or blended other sounds with the generic punk sound. Bands like The Ramones, The Clash, The Talking Heads, and now, Death, are all the type of punk that I like. I’m not going to try to sound cool by claiming that I knew about death before seeing this film. I stumbled across them about two years ago and then when my computer crashed with all my music on it, I failed to reconnect with the band. This documentary just reinvigorated my interest in one of the coolest sounding bands of the ’70s I’ve ever heard.

The film tells the story from the beginning and since the band consists of all brothers, mixes in their family life as well as their musical backgrounds. Music really isn’t the driving force of this film. Spirituality and family are huge themes as the two surviving brothers relive their story of practicing in small apartments and getting denied every way they turned. The name “Death” doesn’t really appeal to a lot of people and in the ’70s I’d say those numbers are significantly less. The story behind the name all goes back to the bands unofficial leader David Hackney. His story is really the one being told and the emotions that go with it surprised me. I was getting very choked up watching everything unfold as tragedy and distance combine to make this a very up and down film. In the end it ended up being a film that is both hopeful and uplifting while also being very powerful and sad.

It’s one of my favorites of the year and should really be check out by anybody who has a Netflix account.