This site no longer supports Internet Explorer 8 or other older browsers. Please use a modern browser.

Third Man Records: Your Turntable is not dead!
Third Man Records
death poster 458

Detroit Double Down: RockFire Funk Express and The Underwear Heads

Posted by Third Man on 23 May 2013

Always eager to share with the public unsung and unheralded music from Detroit, Third Man Records is ecstatic to announce the release of works by two seminal bands from the area.

While ROCKFIRE FUNK EXPRESS never released any music while they were officially a band, in 1973 they recorded a two-song single at United Sound Systems, a legendary Detroit studio that recorded everyone from John Coltrane, John Lee Hooker, the MC5 and countless others. The a-side "People Save the World" is a propulsive, socially-conscious, exercise in primitive funk rock. The b-side shares its title with the band's name and is a breezy, easy-going instrumental, weirdly at odds with its name. These songs have sat in the can for over 40 years and were all-but-forgotten until the band that RockFire later morphed into, Death, became a cause-celebre in the punk community as early progenitors of the style with the 2009 release (comprised of recordings made in 1974) ...For the Whole World to See. In conjunction with the release of the stellar A Band Called Death documentary film Third Man is finally unleashing these songs on the funk-thirsty public. The Hackney Brothers David, Dannis and Bobby are finally getting their due.

Watch the trailer for A Band Called Death below:

THE UNDERWEAR HEADS were long-rumored to have been a made-up band. Evidence of their existence over the past 30 plus years had been reliant upon a picture sleeve for a single that never came with a record. Due to the copycat nature of punk collectors' want lists, the legend of the U-Heads extended far-and-wide as "the sleeve without a record." Truth of the matter is that vinyl was pressed for the release, but due to a manufacturing error all copies were defective and were unceremoniously sent to the garbage dump while some sleeves managed to slip out into the wild. Third Man was able to track down band member John Crenshaw (brother of esteemed Michigan-born songwriter Marshall Crenshaw) who instantly claimed he'd not heard someone utter the band's name since 1983. Bandmates Nick Canterucci, Gary Lyshak and Bruno Borroni were conferenced in, an early-generation master was located in Australia and the world is finally privileged to hear the Tangmania EP. The six-songs on this self-recorded 7" run the gamut from silly drum machine punk, outre experimental tape manipulation and art rock spaciousness.

Tri-colors for RockFire will be available at UHF Records in Royal Oak, Michigan on June 8th at 1pm. The sale will coincide with an autograph session with Death leading up to their performance at the Orion Music Festival the following day.

Tri-colors for the Underwear Heads will be available at Third Man Records' Nashville storefront on Wednesday May 29th at 10am.

Regular black vinyl versions are available for pre-order as a bundle (or separately) on our online store.