Detroit rock city

The Motor City comes alive once again thanks to the return of Death and Rodriguez

Last year, Motor City troubadour Rodriguez's 1970 recording Cold Fact (Light in the Attic) rightfully topped many critics' lists as the best reissue of 2008. This year, another Detroit act, Death, is experiencing a similarly vital revival, through its jaw-dropping proto-punk onslaught For the World to See (Drag City). As Rodriguez hits SF in conjunction with the reissue of 1971's Coming From Reality, I caught up with him by phone as he visited the office of his new label. I corresponded with Death's Bobby Hackney by e-mail, with some help from Drag City's Nicole Yalaz. (Johnny Ray Huston)

SFBG What were some of your favorite haunts and places in Detroit?

BOBBY HACKNEY (OF DEATH) Of course the Grand Ballroom, and later on, the Michigan Palace. Most of the shows we would see would be either at the Cobo Arena or Olympic Stadium.

SFBG Rodriguez, have you spent time with John Sinclair?

RODRIGUEZ Only as of late. We did a show together that involved music and poetry on a [street] corner. He's quite a hero. We burned one.

SFBG Rodriguez, how important was Detroit and your experience of it to the lyrics on Cold Fact and Coming From Reality?

R I consider myself urban as opposed to rural or suburban. Any city has its heart, and my background is in the social realism of the urban setting.

SFBG Bobby, will the reformed version of Death be touring soon?

BH What a timely question. We have just finished a four-month process of production and rehearsals and this past Friday announced our first show at the Majestic Theatre in Detroit on Sept. 25.


With Fool's Gold, Sam Flax and Higher Color

Fri/26, 9 p.m., $17–$19


333 11th St, SF

(415) 255-0333

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