Rock On! A Look at African-American Rockers, Old and New

Shantella Y. Sherman | 6/26/2013, noon
Since the release of the first rock and roll song, “Rocket 88,” by Ike Turner and Kings of Rhythm in ...
Rock icon Tina Turner began singing what was termed "soul with the grease" with ex-husband Ike as the Ike & Tina Turner Revue. She changed genres in the early 80s and went on sold-out football stadiums as a rocker. Courtesy Photo

“These guys were a hardcore, head-banging rock band – that Alice Cooper-style. They were stuck in the middle of the Motown sound and really couldn’t get arrested until now – 30 years later when someone finds their old masters and goes crazy over them,” Sanders said.

The band’s meteoric rise to success after tossing their work into storage is the subject of a new documentary, A Band Called Death, playing this week during the AFI – Silver Docs festival.

“It is one of the most amazing stories to come along in a long while. It shows how rockers like Living Colour, Lenny Kravitz, and even the new young rockers out of Flatbush, may still face raised eyebrows, because black people are still not thought of as rockers,” Sanders said.

The rockers out of Flatbush, the band, Unlocking the Truth, includes Malcolm Brickhouse (electric guitar), Alec Atkins (bass), and Jarad Dawkins (drums), all 11-year-old, sixth graders. Their message is plain and simple: Be yourself.


Eleven-year-olds comprise the metal band Unlocking the Truth, who hail from Flatbush, New York.

With a CD release expected by summer’s end, Malcolm takes the ribbing by schoolmates over their choice of music genres and their unique style in stride.

“Since I wear nail polish, which is not normal; people bother me about it. At times it offends me, at times it doesn't. So, I just write songs about it," Malcolm said.

“We say, ‘Rock on!’”