Mars Ganito’s artist recommendation: “There are countless artists and bands that I’ve been inspired by since I was a kid, musicians who are the reason I ever picked up a guitar at 13 years old. At first, I wanted to recommend one of those that I grew up listening to, but I feel quite strongly that I must recommend Death (especially after seeing their documentary this summer). Not the metal band, but the proto-punk band of three black brothers formed in 70’s Detroit: Bobby (bass, vocals), David (guitar), and Dannis (drums) Hackney. I don’t think right now that I can recall a more compelling story about a band than theirs — speaking as another dark-skinned person who plays “rock music,” which is still an agonizingly uncommon sight these days, though, the Afropunk movement is growing all the time. In the documentary, A Band Called Death, one will see how they were just three brothers who really loved each other and loved rock despite the opinions of the community and record studios. Basically, Motor City was not ready for them. They fought to maintain their identity, which meant making sacrifices like not accepting a record deal that was only offered if they would change the name to something easier to swallow. After years of struggling, they gave up on Death, the master tapes sat in an attic, they worked on different musical projects and started families. David grew ill from lung cancer and passed away. My retelling of their story is insufficient. You outght to check out the doc!”
Not familiar with Death? Mars suggests you start here: “A few decades after Death had disbanded, Drag City rereleased For the Whole World to See. It was released as sort of a tribute to David and then people came knocking for the master tapes. The band reformed and added a new guitarist and have been playing shows again. It’s mentioned in the documentary that they truly wrote each song in a way that would showcase how far their talent could go. I have a particular love for Let The World Turn (haunting vocals and guitar in the beginning that send chills up my backbone and a drum solo!). Death might not be the reason why I first picked up guitar, but they are one of the reasons why I continue to.”
About our guest author, Mars Ganito: Mars is the lead singer and guitarist for Aye Nako, a band whose Facebook ‘about’ bio reads, “four weirdos trying to find their confidence/sexuality/harmony/pay day.” The Brooklyn based band is the current poster child for LGBTQ-friendly acts and their reason for being is clearly stated by Mars in this quote from Posture Magazine, “…one of the reasons I play music is to play the songs I wanted to hear as a queer teenager, as someone who is 13 or 14. I wish I had had those songs.” Spin compared them to Superchunk (not bad company to be in, if you ask us) and Mars responded by wishing Spin would have called them the “queer Superchunk.” Sexuality and comparisons aside, the band’s self released debut, Unleash Yourself is one hell of a first album. The collection has already been hailed on Pitchfork and the band has been hand picked by Brooklyn Vegan and Brian Fallon of Gaslight Anthem to play their upcoming upcoming Redbull Sound Selects show in Brooklyn. The band is breaking down doors with their finely tuned power pop and breaking down walls with their gender twisting lyrics. Be sure to snag the debut album and catch one of their upcoming live shows.