Some music enthusiasts and critics alike believe the band Death to be the precursors to punk rock. Jack White is quoted as describing them as "ahead of punk and ahead of their time." Mos Def says, "These dudes were pre-Sex Pistols, pre-Bad Brains, pre-all that shit, and nobody knows about them. I don't understand how the world could forget them."
The documentary A Band Called Death tells the story of a Detroit band made up of three brothers who pursue a record deal to no avail. Despite interests from big wig Clive Davis, who insited that the band change their name for broader appeal, the group refused and was never signed to a deal. Their demo tapes were boxed away and placed in an attic to be forgotten. Three decades later, a demo tape made its way out of the attic and into the ears of an audience several generations younger.
In 2009, Drag City Records released a 7-song LP entitled ...For The Whole World To See. Soon after, a reformed Death took to the stage, almost 30 years after they formed.
Death was alive again.
Amoeba Hollywood was lucky enough to host Death on June 27, 2013 in support of their documentary film, A Band Called Death. Fans packed the store's aisles in anticipation for the now legendary trio. Death did not disappoint. Songs were fast and raw, just as you'd expect from your favorite punk rock band. The gutiar solos were reminiscent of Jimi Hendix-esque flare and the energy was full of that "teenage" angst upon which punk rock is based. Death definitely make a tough argument for being the first African-American punk rock group, not to mention the first punk rock group, period.
Go buy the film, check out their Amoeba performance and prepare yourself for Death! Watch the full performance video here.
Death - "Keep On Knocking" (Live At Amoeba)
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Trailer for A Band Called Death