The Death story. Three brothers from Detroit, Bobby (bass, vocals), David (guitar), and Dannis (drums) Hackney form funk/r&b band in 1972. Convert to rock n’ roll after witnessing Alice Cooper concert in 1973. Rename themselves “Death.” Put out 500 copies of a self released 7” in 1976: “Politicians in My Eyes” b/w “Keep on Knocking,” on their Tryangle label after the majors turn them down over their refusal to change their name. Band members move to Vermont and musically move on to gospel/rock with 4th Movement, and then reggae with Lambsbread. Lead guitarist David Hackney dies in 2000.
Album’s worth of material surfaces on master tape after one of Bobby’s sons hears the ‘76 single at a party in San Francisco in 2009 and recognizes his dad’s voice. Sons soon discover the Tryangle release has become legendary among punk/hardcore collectors. Bobby Sr. digs out Death master tapes from attic. Sons form Rough Francis as a tribute band to play Death’s largely unheard material and further the legacy. Drag City puts out Death LP “For the Whole World to See” in 2009. NY Times: “Death’s newly unearthed recordings reveal a missing link between the high-energy hard rock of Detroit bands like the Stooges and MC5 from the late 1960s and early ’70s and the high-velocity assault of punk from its breakthrough years of 1976 and ’77.” Death reforms with the Hackney brothers and Lambsbread guitarist Bobbie Duncan in 2009.
Before his death in 2000, David gave Death master tapes to brother Bobby for safekeeping and told him “you’ve got to keep all this stuff, the world’s going to come looking for it one day.”
Death, Keep on Knocking