Thursday, June 27, 2013
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
Revi s ting'A
New documentary two brothers, Bobby and Da
went unnoticed in the dark an
follows the history of dust to brood and wait.
But no longer.
Detroit punk band In 2009, the New York T
published a piece covering D
By SEAN CZARNECKI band called "This Band Was
Daily Film Editor Before Punk Was Punk," g
-~- steam to the rising recogr
David Hackney left his brother, this proto-punk trio from D
Bobby, a boxful of master tapes named Death was receiving.
from their long-defunct band this story that the new docu
Death and these prophetic last tary "A Band Called Death
words: "The world's gonna come lows and will release to audi.
looking for these one day." He knew on June 28 at the Birmingh
what his brother didn't believe. Theater cinema. For this re
His dreams would go unrealized band members Bobby and D
in life. In 2000, he died of cancer. Hackney and Bobbie Dunca
And for four decades that boxful of down with the Michigan Da
records created by David and his talk about the band's history
Band Called D
annis, their future.
id the "We were just being family
and making music that we loved,"
Bobby said. "We had no idea that
rimes we were laying down the ground-
avid's work for punk music, you know.
Punk In 1974, if you called somebody a
iving punk, you got a bloody nose. Espe-
nition cially in Detroit."
etroit Both Bobby and Dannis insisted
It is all that drove them in their passion
men- was to make "hard-driving rock 'n'
" fol- roll."
ences "Detroit was a much differ-
am 8 ent town then," Bobby said. "Just
anon, so much activity. We used to get
annis inspired to write rock songs just
n sat by driving down Jefferson Avenue
ily to because it was so vibrant."
y and As in the rock-saturated movie
itself, the trio rattled their neigh-
borhood with the vicious energy of
their songs in atime when Motown
was the popular genre and black
artists flourished. They were
rebellious, loud and with a band
name like Death, different.
It was David who believed in the
band's aesthetic. It was he who,
after all, formed the band and led
it. When it comes to telling the
story of Death, you inevitably tell a
story about brothers and the band's
VME visionary leader.
"You know, we were approached
by other people with those ideas
(of making a documentary)," Bobby
said. "But the one thing about Jeff,
as a filmmaker, is he really got into
the heart and soul and spiritual
mind of David. That was kinda the
doorway into our entire family and
to our entire music legacy."
Bobby is talking about Jeff
Howlett, a new filmmaker who
marks his directorial debut with "A
Band Called Death" alongside co-
director Mark Covino ("Lucid").
Together, they crafted an intimate
portrait of a decades-spanning
family epic in the hope of bringing
us closer to a talent unrecognized
for half a lifetime.
"We just kinda led him into
being a member of our family,"
Bobby said. "And we trusted him
and he gained not only our trust
but the trust of members of our
family across the country."
The film itself has achieved
measurable success. At the 2013
South By Southwest festival, it
nabbed the Audience Award for
the 24 Beats per Second category.
Whether Howlett and Covino's
efforts will popularize Death is
Detroit punk band Death still has a wealth of unreleased songs in its possesion.
"We're just on the journey and
we've been told that the journey's
only really just begun," Bobby said.
"We've gotten such a tremendous
response - from top actors in
Hollywood to just the man on the
This kind of reception comes
at a surprise to the two brothers.
According to Dannis, the aver-
sive material the band recorded
required time for it to be appreci-
ated to any great extent.
"In my generation, people were
afraid to say the word 'death'
because of the stigma or whatever.
But when we come down to (the
younger) generation, they're not
afraid anymore. They're not afraid
to say 'death,' they're not afraid to
deal with the associations of it."
"In a lot of ways, they're a lot
smarter than we were," Bobby
added with a laugh. "Knowledge
is so accessible now. The average
15-year-old knows just as much
as a 25-year-old where back in
our day a 15-year-old was just a
Those 40 years have gained
them an audience. They have liber-
ated Death of its repulsion, its stig-
ma, but yes, they stole things, too.
Those 40 years spent in obscurity
crushed David's artistic pursuits.
They separated a musician from
his deserved fame. They killed him
and they took away a brother who
will be missed greatly.
Death goes back on tour in
David's honor, to finish what he
started. In doing so, they recruit-
ed guitarist Bobbie Duncan who
brings a "refreshing New York
style," as Dannis said.
"David left a wealth of songs,"
Bobby said. "David and myself
wrote so many songs together that
we had intended to record because
we were convinced that we would
eventually end up getting a big
contract, so we better have a lot
of songs ready. I've got a wealth, a
wonderful well to pull from of all
these great ideas and great music.
There's gonna be a lot of great
Death music to come."
JOIN DAILY ARTS AND
HELP US MAKE LAME
... AND WRITE
t's hard to believe, but there's
a place where Edward
Snowden, Benghazi and Kim
the news -
well actually, 4
finds a way.
mer in the last
nine years, I DEREK
get to go back WOLFE
to the woods.
To a world
of dirty cabins, mass-produced
food and fun on the beach. I'll be
spending my summer at one of the
largest camps in the world where
the outdoors around me is my
office. And for the third straight
year, I'm going to be a counselor -
this time for 14-year-olds.
It's really a strange situation. At
home, I'm still very much a child.
Sure, I can live in Ann Arbor and
make it to CVS or Meijer if I need
groceries or other supplies, but for
the most part, when I'm at home,
my parents still take care of me at
this point in my life.
But at camp, my hierarchy is
turned upside down. I'm the most
important person in these kids'
lives. I'm truly the closest thing
these campers have to a parent for
the three or six weeks they spend
at camp. In the previous years I
have worked, I have experienced
the most challenging moments of
the life, but also the most reward-
ing. A high score on an exam is an
incredible feeling, but few things
compare to helping a camper suc-
cessfully water ski for the firsttime.
Much has been said about the
benefits of young children going
to camp. However, the benefits
of being a counselor shouldn't
go unnoticed either - especially
since each year, many college-
age students face the choice of
embarking on a hopefully paid
internship or becoming a coun-
selor at both sleepaway and day
camps. And while it's true that
counselors have been stereotyped
as lazy and simply trying to avoid
a real-world job, the return - if we
want to talk about investments -
has the potential to be immense if
a full effort is put forth.
The opportunity for leadership
is tremendous. In my experience,
I have had the chance to plan and
execute unique, inspiring pro-
grams for kids with many differ-
ent staff members. It has helped
my ability to work with others,
develop interpersonal skills and
learn to know when to take charge
and when to take a step back - a
skill that is a challenge for any-
one to develop. This also hap-
pens when doing day-to-day tasks
with the 10 or so kids I'm respon-
sible for. I'm their leader and am
expected to take care of them.
helping a camper.
Like any job, there are ups and
downs. But in no other activ-
ity have I found my confidence
rise like it does as a counselor.
Parents across the country are
counting on counselors - remind
you, complete strangers -toensure
their children conquer their fears,
make friends and attain positive
memories. It's a responsibility not
to be taken lightly, because the
interaction between camper and
counselor changes lives for good
or for bad. So at the end of the
summer, when a parent thanks me
for my work, near-euphoria ensues.
Perhaps, most importantly,
being a counselor thrives on the
There are many professions - all
of them, actually - that demand
their members to put the com-
munity's needs above those of the
individual. It's a concept hard to
grasp and something I still strug-
gle with. But if service-above-self
can be mastered in the camp set-
ting, then where can't it be?
The desire to pursue that
is tempting, no doubt. On the
surface, spending a summer in the
woods with a bunch of little kids
appears like a colossal waste of
time. Taken seriously, though, it
doesn't have to be. To have one of
the best jobs in the world before
turning 20 is surreal.
I know I'm not ready to enter
the "real world" where suits and
ties replace Nike shorts and flip-
flops. But the opportunity to
essentially be a child's parent and
a role model sure seems like one of
the most "real" jobs out there.
-Derek Wolfe can be reached
Thursday, June 27, 2013
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
6)hough Congress has great authority to design
laws to fit its own conception of sound national pol-
icy, it cannot deny the liberty protected by the Due
Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment."
-Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy in his majority opinion on United States v. Windsor, which
struck down the part of the Defense of Marriage Act denying same-sex couples federal benefits.
Life through electronics
magine with me, if you will,
that you're at a concert of one
of your favorite bands. You
late but man-
age to squeeze
a girl who is-
shorter than PAIGE
you, and only PFLEGER
four rows of
from the stage. Not too shabby.
You wait and wait, and conve-
niently, once your feet start to
hurt, the lights dim, the proverbial
curtain rises and the stars of the
show take their place, audience
cheering. You're euphoric - when
it comes to the concert experience,
you have nailed it.
But don't be so quick to rejoice.
The band strikes the first chord,
and suddenly the stage is obstruct-
ed. Why? What has happened?
Well, a sea of arms has risen up
above heads, propping up hands
holding iPhones set to record. For
you, it's nearly impossible to see.
For the others, well, why does it
matter if they watch the concert
now when they can just experi-
ence it all later, over and over
again on high-definition screens
wherever they go? You're left
with a choice - join the electronic
revolution and experience things
solely through pixels like a Cubist
nightmare, or settle on not see-
ing a show you paid good money
for. With an air of defeatism you
allow yourself to become another
human tripod, just a stabilizing
ground for your smartphone to
take a video that automatically
gets spammed to Facebook, a pic-
ture that your followers see on
Instagram and Twitter and an
actual experience missed.
It seems to be a common prac-
tice that's now just pure human
habit. Is something crazy hap-
pening? Well, what are you wait-
ing for? Pull out your phone and
take a picture. We're really nat-
urals at gawking, which is the
reason we have traffic jams after
small accidents - you can't help
but join the masses, slow down
and take a look. Social media sites
have done nothing but justify
this kind of behavior, by giving
us a million different places to
chronicle anything and every-
thing that's going on. Your life,
no matter how well-lived, isn't
considered worthy unless you
have so many followers on Twit-
ter, so many friends on Facebook,
so many reblogs on Tumblr and
so on. So it has almost become a
challenge of who can document
it best, turning the focus away
from actually enjoying the things
that are happening in front of our
faces, to capturing them instead.
I take you next to the dystopian
worlds created in literary works
such as "1984", "Fahrenheit 451"
and "Brave New World," to name
a few. A mixture of pessimism
and lack of faith in the human
race has led me to a love affair
with novels telling of a future
that we have ruined ourselves,
and I believe that these social
media sites that have convinced
us that we are all worthy of being
are just a small step down a road
leading us to a world much like
those great authors have warned
us about, and here is why - if
our only enjoyment comes from
likes on Facebook and retweets
on Twitter, we're going to forget
how to live our lives like humans
instead of robots dependent on
electronics for survival.
So put the phone
down, and live a
"Most human beings have an
almost infinite capacity for taking
things for granted."
-Aldous Huxley, author of
"Brave New World"
Huxley isn't mistaken, either.
We're taking so many things for
granted, and being enabled to
do so with our smartphones and
computers. Watching a sunset
over the ocean counts just as
much, if not more, if you watch
as that last lip of light disappears
over the edge of the water, even if
you don't quite catch it on camera.
While you were busy chronicling
your existence, the world
continued to spin around you and
no matter how much your social
media accounts make it look like
you have lived, you're completely
missing the fact that life is more
than a sepia-toned photo - it's
about truly experiencing the
world we live in. So put the phone
down, and live a little.
-Paige Pfleger can be reached
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