The story of Rough Francis began nearly 40 years ago in the bedroom of a small home in Detroit, Michigan. Brothers Dannis, David and Bobby Hackney began, like many African American musicians at the time, playing soul and R&B. It wasn’t until David Hackney attended a show played by The Who, that the band single-handedly shifted gears towards rock music, with punk being the main focus. And, so, DEATH was born -- arguably the first punk band in history, succeeding The Ramones.
So, what does DEATH have to do with Rough Francis? Well, the band is made up of Dannis, David and Bobby's sons. After unearthing the lost tapes of DEATH's unrealized album For The Whole World To See Rough Francis' punk roots were nurtured through covering songs like "Politicians in My Eyes" and "Freakin' Out." The band then set out to establish themselves as more than just a 'DEATH cover band' and released the album Maximum Soul Power.
A mix of 70's proto-punk and 80's hardcore, Rough Francis' sound is similar to that of DEATH but uniquely distinct thanks to frontman Bobby Hackney Jr.'s kick-ass vocals. Joined by friends Paul, Steve, and Dylan, Rough Francis is part afro-punk, part history, and wholly awesome.
Rough Francis has been featured in The New York Times, Spin, and Brooklyn Vegan, for playing unforgettable live shows and sharing the stage with heavy-hitters like Mos Def and the Dictators.
The band is currently touring.
Listen to Rough Francis’ “Not a Nice Guy” here.
Watch A Band Called DEATH, a documentary about how the legendary brothers defied boundaries and made punk rock history.