Tuesday, April 1, 2008

What's in a name?

If you have never had the pleasure of choosing a band name, you can not understand the angst, the back-and-forth, the strum-and-drang involved in making such a decision. I suppose if you have one person that has brought the group together and writes all the songs and pays all the money for rent and/or recording, then that person can just decide. But in most cases those duties are shared and so everyone gets a say in the decision.

I've gone through this process a number of times. When my first band decided on the name "Jupiter" it was basically a name we settled on because nobody hated it. Years later when we put out a full length album we had the opportunity to change it to something more interesting- but guess what? We could never come to a consensus so we stuck with Jupiter.

My little back-burner project (way, way in the back these days), The Shatwrights, was much easier to come up with. But that was mainly due to the fact that there are only two of us and we ended up using a combo of our names.

So now I have a new band. We have recorded some music and even have an influential media person asking to hear it but it really would be best to have a name before we turn it over. And do we have a name?........no, we don't.

TR suggested a great, democratic idea wherein he took all of the many names that had been suggested and sent them out to all of us. We all wrote back to him with the names on the list we could not stand to have. Now we were left with a small list of names that nobody hated. He sent these out to us and we each assigned them a numerical value according to how strongly we liked them. In the end there was a clear winner. Hooray!

But no, shortly after the exercise, two of the members decided that after sitting on it they didn't like the winning name all that much. (SIGH) Back to the drawing board.

So why is it so hard? A band name is fraught with responsibility. You want it to say something about you. Whether it is your sound, a mood, a feeling you want to invoke. It also must be "catchy" or memorable so that when people hear the music and like it they will remember the name associated with it. It cannot be cheesy, or pretentious, or confusing to pronounce.

So for now we keep looking!


Kegz said...

Bands made it big with names like "Someone Still Loves You, Boris Yeltsin" and "Clap Your Hands, Say Yeah". There's no way everyone in those bands all agreed those were good.

I think you should have Miss D and Ella get together and decide on a name for you guys. I'll bet they'd come up with something good.

Tim said...

Who needs a name, just wear head-to-toe pleather, everything will work itself out!
At any rate, the website below has some info on how some other bands came up with their names.
The band should just let the lead singer decide :)


Styling with Renee Michelle said...

That sounds more complicated than naming a kid. Hope you guys can find something than no one hates.

Dad said...

Naming bands, plays, books, companies, presentations...all fraught with angst which when looked back on usually bring up - why were we so conflicted about this?

Zola Jones by Jason Loper said...

the man who has some regrets about naming his company for his cat will remain silent.

Lakeview Coffee Joe said...

Head to toe pleather! I like Tim's idea!!

You could pull a George Castanza and name the band "7" after Mickey Mantle. That's what George wanted to name his first kid.

My buddy's band was called Humpback Wail. I really liked that name for some reason. Maybe it was the Wail.

alexis said...

I think the whole thing is way overblown. When you know for sure no one is gonna be happy, I say F*** the democratic process. Kegz probably has the best suggestion. Just allow a bias-free random decision to be made, no one can complain.


tim said...

312! Who can get upset about numbers?? It can't be less-awesome than 311.?
Honestly, Kegz probably has the best suggestion...perhaps incorporating your name, shanghai steph...hah'a.
I'm of no use...good luck!