By Sean Phipps | Nooga.com
Death is the most important rock band you’ve never heard of.
Chattanooga’s Mise En Scenesters film club presents a showing of the documentary “A Band Called Death” at the Barking Legs Theater on Tuesday, July 30.
The show is at 8:30 p.m., and tickets are $7. They can be purchased here or at the door.
Formed in 1971 in Detroit, the Hackney brothers—Bobby, David and Dannis—effortlessly invented punk before anybody knew what punk was. But by 1977, the band had broken up and was largely forgotten.
Years later, in 2009, Death would re-form after Drag City released their ‘70s demos for the first time. Jack White, in The New York Times that year, said Death was “… ahead of punk, ahead of their time.”
Those aware of their existence compared Death to other popular—albeit later-arriving—bands like MC5 and Bad Brains. Death’s influences include such varied artists as Alice Cooper, Black Sabbath and Jimi Hendrix.
Throw in the facts that most of the popular music of the day was Motown and disco and that the Hackneys were black, and you have a great story.
Now there’s a movie.
Drafthouse Films has released a documentary called “A Band Called Death” that “chronicles the incredible fairy tale journey of what happened almost three decades later, when a dusty 1974 demo tape made its way out of the attic and found an audience several generations younger,” according to the promo website for the film.
The Mise En Scenesters is a local nonprofit film club with the aim of providing interesting films to Chattanooga that would never be seen on the multiplex screens.
Chris Dortch, founder and programmer for MES, is excited about the screening.
“This is that rare music doc with a story just as strong and fascinating as the music,” he said. “I’ve been a Death fan for a while and knew their story well, so when I heard about this film, I actively sought it out to get it here. I knew other folks would find the story and certainly the music as amazing as I did.”
Dortch said this is the kind of movie that will inspire you to get up and do something productive.
“It makes you want to start a band and comb the shelves of your local record store immediately after watching it,” he said. “That’s powerful stuff.”
Every MES screening is special, according to Dortch. This can include an elaborate preshow reel, commissioning an artist to design a movie poster and inviting a band to add musical accompaniment to the performance.
On Tuesday, local rockers Eight Knives will perform after the screening.
“I feel like it’s my mission to give the film fans of this city the kind of moviegoing experience that they can’t get at a multiplex or at home on their couch with Netflix,” he said. “To me, there is literally nothing greater in this life than going to the movies …”
A full-scale Chattanooga Film Festival is in the works, with an announcement expected soon. The Facebook fan page for the festival already has more than 900 fans.
If you go
What: “A Band Called Death”
Where: Barking Legs Theater
When: July 30, 8:30 p.m.
How much: $7
For more information: Click here