This split 7” unites the Hackney coalition, as the next gen kids join their father and uncle in Death, on one side, while continuing to forge their own path as Rough Francis on the other. The production, by on-call drummer Urian Hackney, ambitiously streamlines the hard-driving sound of both bands: Julian Hackney’s guitars, the vocals of Bobby Jr. and Sr. and all the rumbling rhythm unleashed! A new chapter in the history of Death has begun.
In the time since the 2009 release of ...For the Whole World to See, happenings in the world of Death have occurred at warp speed. The raw rock ’n roll that the Hackney brothers made in the 1970s became a belated punk rock sensation, leading to shows and tours round the world, as well as two further compilations of old material. A documentary film was released in 2013 and an album of new Death music in 2015. Since a series of US dates in 2019, things have been relatively quiet externally, but evolution has continued, with this Death/Rough Francis split single representing the inauguration of a new phase in the Death history.
Keeping it in the family and pointing toward the future has been a way of life for Death since the beginning. For this new recording, Bobby Hackney’s sons have joined Bobby and Dannis in the band they formed with their late brother David nearly 50 years ago. Urian, Julian and Bobby Jr. have made music under the name of Rough Francis since 2010, and will continue that journey while also making Death music old and new happen with their father and uncle.
“World In Disguise” and “Haunted” are produced by Urian, who is gaining recognition as a drummer, artist and producer, playing with Converge, The Armed and even the Late Night with Seth Meyers 8-G Band in the last couple years, in addition to Rough Francis. Julian plays all the guitars in this new version of Death, replacing Bobbie Duncan, whose work standing in for David has been invaluable in the last decade-plus.
“World In Disguise” was developed from a demo in the Death 70s archive — and more songs from that archive will be coming in the future, as part of the full-circle Hackney experience going forward. The ferocity and new sonic frontiers of this production bode well for the next era of Death history.
“Haunted” presents the Rough Francis sound, driven just as powerfully as the parent band and inclined to the same depth of introspection that is a part of Death’s signature. Bobby Jr.’s vocals and lyrics are in turn, rawly aggro and ethereally philosophical, as the Rough Francis production sound encompasses the wide spectrum of their shared vision.
Going forward, Death will take different forms live. Julian will join Bobby Sr. and Dannis for the traditional Death trio. For special appearances, they hope to bring the entire Hackney coalition to the live stage with a non-stop Rough Francis/Death show. That would allow for the Maximum Death version, with Urian joining Julian on guitars. Then there’s the Death Family Band, with Urian and Bobby Jr. joining the trio for extra vocals and other things.
Death have already endured beyond the lifespan of a typical band. Drafting the next gen in now ensures that Death will continue into further unimagined realms beyond their already unbelievable position. Stay alert and keep a-knockin’!