Death’s story goes something like this: It’s 1964 and three Detroit born brothers, with a father caught up in Beatle-mania, find a couple of abandoned guitars. They witness The Who at Cobo Arena and, minds blown, begin writing and throwing gigs in their parents’ garage. Fast-forward to 1975 – filled with raucous guitar lines, shrieking vocals, and now labelled as ‘Punk before Punk’ - their first studio album’s cut, with Columbia Records knocking at the door. The twist is they’ve been asked to change their name, and apparently more content with its shock-value than the possibility of any mainstream success, Death reject the offer, with only one 7” of the record pressed.
That almost spells the end for Death, an African American Punk band living in Chicago during the peak of the Motown era, before The Ramones and The Sex Pistols had arrived on the scene. They struggle on for another two years then call it quits.
Three decades later that solitary 7” appears on eBay selling for $800. The mp3s find their way online, and Chicago explodes. Drag City Records release it in 2009 as For the World To See. Featuring the way ahead of their time tracks ‘Keep on knocking’ and ‘Politician in My Eyes’, the rest of the world joins in the hype and by 2013 they’re the subject of a feature length documentary A Band Called Death, with two more exhilarating albums of archive material behind them.
In April this year Death released their first studio album recorded since 1975, N.E.W.. Rammed with drummer Bobbie and bassist Dannis Hackney’s thundering rhythms, covered in trademark rip-roaring guitar lines, the band is racing on from exactly where they left off. Now with their past uncovered and a rightful title in Rock n’ Roll history finally claimed, the band are touring the UK, and will be here in Leeds at The Brudenell Social club on Monday 30th November.