Aug 252014
 

dugoutchatter

Naming a band is not as easy as it seems. Ideally, the name will convey a lot of information, giving the general public a clue about what to expect without feeling to forced or overwrought.

  1. What is the greatest gap between a good name and bad music?
  2. What is the greatest gap between a bad name and good music?
  3. Which band name, regardless of the quality of the music or the name itself, seems the most inappropriate choice for that given band?
  4. Which band name seems like the people naming it were trying too hard?
  5. Which band name seems like the people naming it couldn’t give a shit?
  6. What would you name a band and what type of music would your band play?
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  32 Responses to “Dugout Chatter: What’s in a Name?”

  1. OK — I’ll bite

    What is the greatest gap between a good name and bad music?
    That’s a hard one — I usually don’t like the name if I don’t like the music — but outside the first album, can anyone recommend anything by The Knack?

    What is the greatest gap between a bad name and good music?
    New Pornographers

    Which band name, regardless of the quality of the music or the name itself, seems the most inappropriate choice for that given band?
    KISS — great marketing to make Trans Am driving knuckleheads stick “Kiss” on their bumpers. KISS-FM doesn’t play Kiss (except for “Beth).

    Which band name seems like the people naming it were trying too hard?
    The War On Drugs — Honorable mention: The Pains of Being Pure at Heart. Generally, I don’t like phrases as band names.

    Which band name seems like the people naming it couldn’t give a shit?
    The Police — honorable mention — all super groups that followed Crosby, Stills, Nash, & Young. Souther-Hillman-Furay, Coverdale-Page, etc.

    What would you name a band and what type of music would your band play?
    There’s X, and the xx, so I would like to name my band The XXX — and play alt-country drinking songs.

  2. 1. You know who just came to mind for me? Volcano Suns. I loved that band’s name and bought their first album when it came out. I sold it shortly thereafter, feeling that the dime bag of dirtweed it would help me buy would outweigh the mild pleasure I got from one or two songs. My attempts at liking that band only got worse when I saw them live in Boston, when their second album came out. They really sucked, sucking in a way that went against everything I value in music. I was pissed. There may be greater gaps, but beside some funny hardcore band names that inherently sucked, that’s the first that really came to mind.

    2. Wings. For a band with a killer greatest hits collection’s worth of songs and a Beatle for a band leader, that was a lame name. It should have been saved for a Canadian hard rock band circa 1977.

    3. Nixon’s Head

    4. Stone Temple Pilots

    5. Chickenfoot

    6. Liquid Smoke, which would play “chooglin'” music at a breakneck pace.

  3. 2000 Man

    What is the greatest gap between a good name and bad music?

    Captain Beefheart and his Magic Band. I’ve tried. Safe as Milk is okay, but the rest is icky.

    What is the greatest gap between a bad name and good music?

    Drive By Truckers. For awhile anyway. They’ve done some great stuff, but that name just sucks.

    Which band name, regardless of the quality of the music or the name itself, seems the most inappropriate choice for that given band?

    Stereolab. Man, that just always sounded like a great name for a garage rock/punk/right up my alley kind of band, and they just suck.

    Which band name seems like the people naming it were trying too hard?

    And You Will Know Us By the Trail of the Dead. I’m sorry. You may kick ass and I may love you, but go pound salt.

    Which band name seems like the people naming it couldn’t give a shit?

    The Blasters. They’re pretty great, but considering how good they are, it seems like that was a name they came up with because they needed something fast.

    What would you name a band and what type of music would your band play?

    I’ve come up with a bunch of them, but right now the first thing I can think of is a friend’s idea of Corduroy Steamshovel. He wanted it to be a metal band, but I told him they had to do covers of Strawberry Alarm Clock and Chocolate Watchband songs. I always liked The Flameouts for a garage rock kinds thing.

    I’ve always wanted to make a 45 where one side was a note for note perfect musically of Led Zeppelin’s D’Yer Maker with Olive Oyl doing the vocals. The old Olive Oyl, from back when everyone seemed to be mumbling in those Popeye cartoons. The other side I want to be pure speed metal as fast as fast can be, with one of those dirtmouth vocals of The Hustle. Just pund away for fifteen seconds and then stop and let the dirtmouth guy go, “Do the uuusssslllle..” and then ten thousand mph all over again. I figure three minutes would seem like an hour and it would be so cool. I think I’d call the band something like Olive’s Dirty Secret.

    • saturnismine

      2K, you’re a man after my own heart in most things, but I must say that I could not agree less regarding the name “Stereolab.”

      I don’t hear any grimey, garage-punk overtones in that name, just a retro-futuristic, quasi-scientific / experimental modern aesthetic.

      Call me crazy, but there’s something about the suffix “lab” that takes the name out of the garage and into the…lab.

      To each his own.

      • 2000 Man

        Yeah, but the stereo part gets me. I think I thought it was a cool name and that maybe I’d hear something cool and just a little psychedelic. But it’s just icky. It’s probably a case of me thinking , “That’s a cool name,” and then hearing them and being mad that they wrecked a cool name with shitty music. I think LCD Soundsystem sounds cool, too. Maybe they both sound like the kind of cool old stereo stores that used to be so much fun to hang around in. I took a Stones bootleg in to one of those to audition speakers and man, those dudes were NOT happy, but I told them that’s what I listened to and they would mention how it was my record any time anyone walked by. Then they subjected me to Kiki Dee and Elton John’s Don’t Go Breakin’ My Heart. It’s a terrible song, but it’s a hell of a recording of a shitty song.

    • Yeah, the name of Stereolab seems pretty accurate to me. It sounds like it’s very clinical, which fits the music well. I also disagree with you on the quality of their music, but that’s neither here nor there.

  4. cliff sovinsanity

    1. What is the greatest gap between a good name and bad music? – Pearl Harbor & The Explosions

    2. What is the greatest gap between a bad name and good music? – Funoka was first to nominate The New Pornographers so I will suggest BR-549

    3. Which band name, regardless of the quality of the music or the name itself, seems the most inappropriate choice for that given band?- The Killers because their songs are rarely dangerous.

    4. Which band name seems like the people naming it were trying too hard? – Alien Sex Fiend

    5. Which band name seems like the people naming it couldn’t give a shit? – The The, sorry it’s not clever

    6. What would you name a band and what type of music would your band play? – Coconut Milk, and they would play Polynesian power-pop.

  5. saturnismine

    1. Little Gentlemen. Sorry, but that’s a great name. What a disappointment their music was. They used up all the potential awesomeness in that name.

    2. Pylon.

    3. Iron and Wine seems like it would be a lot heavier than it is, which is *so* not heavy.

    4. I agree that “trail of…” is a great suggestion. Butthole Surfers, iconic though it may be, is certainly a candidate. They spent their entire tenure trying to live up to that name. And boy did they ever succeed. So they’re off the hook. But what about “Clap Your Hands, Say Yeah.” Should there be a comma there? I don’t know. But that’s a bit much.

    5. Along the lines of The The, there’s also Mister Mister. But you know what? I’m gonna say “Yes.” Sure, I love those guys, and they definitely made a career out of giving a shit, but that name is so half-assed it’s not even funny, even in the context of the positivity-drenched era in which they lived.

    6. Photon Band; we have not yet begun our exploration.

  6. cherguevarra

    What is the greatest gap between a good name and bad music?

    10,000 Maniacs. It really is a great name, but I cannot stand them.

    What is the greatest gap between a bad name and good music?

    Is it wrong to say The Beatles?

    Which band name, regardless of the quality of the music or the name itself, seems the most inappropriate choice for that given band?

    Maybe Pearl Jam? Are they a jam band? What does that name mean, is it a sex reference?

    Which band name seems like the people naming it were trying too hard?
    Not sure… Archers of Loaf?

    Which band name seems like the people naming it couldn’t give a shit?

    Any band whose name is an amalgamation of the members’ last names. ELP. Anderson-Bruford-Wakeman-Howe.

    What would you name a band and what type of music would your band play?

    I’d have a band called Dionysus Warwick, playing heavy metal versions of Burt Bacharach songs.

    Also, I’d nominate Hoobstank for… something. And Hootie.

    Finally, half-baked thought: There is probably some kind of game in making new versions of bands that are “leader name and the band name.” Like “Tom Petty and the Sunshine Band” or “Kool and the Bunnymen” or something actually amusing if I weren’t too tired to think of something good right now…

    • saturnismine

      I would say that given their fey sound, 10,000 Maniacs is also a pretty inappropriately named band.

      Regarding your game in making new versions of bands, my friend Wayne (may he rest in piece) fronted a band called Duran Duran Duran. Not bad, huh?

      • cherguevarra

        I remember that band, I always thought that name was hysterical – along with REO Speeddealer.

        My half-baked thought, though, was about bands that are named for the leader and the band. To find new combinations that are either create funny juxtapositions of words or to imagine these new pairings as either things that would be musically interesting or musically humorous.

        Like maybe Prince and the Hot Licks, or Nick Cave and the Pips.

        I haven’t thought this through…

  7. 1. What is the greatest gap between a good name and bad music?

    The Spin Doctors

    2. What is the greatest gap between a bad name and good music?

    Superchunk.

    3. Which band name, regardless of the quality of the music or the name itself, seems the most inappropriate choice for that given band?

    Pink Floyd

    4. Which band name seems like the people naming it were trying too hard?

    Godspeed You Black Emperor, or the aforementioned “…Trail of…” and “Clap Hands…”. Honorable mention: GTR

    5. Which band name seems like the people naming it couldn’t give a shit?

    Celebrate Rifles (Yes, yes, we get it. How about making a frigging effort?). I disagree about the members of Law Firm Bands not giving a shit about the name. I suspect Stills and Crosby probably almost came to blows over who got top billing.

    6. What would you name a band and what type of music would your band play?

    Neckfurter (with an umlaut over the u). Big sludgy stoner rock, like Black Sabbath meets Overwhelming Colorfast.

    • saturnismine

      cdm, I almost mentioned Superchunk for number 2!

      And if Neckfurter ever made a record, I’d buy it.

      • You’d buy it? Shit, you can play bass on it if you want.

        • saturnismine

          Let the file sharing begin!

          • I will see what I can do. It is not a natural fit for me music-wise but the concept is very appealing.

          • 2000 Man

            Do it guys! I’d buy it.

            But what’s wrong with Superchunk? I like that name. There’s too many Super something bands, and I really hate one of them (Super Furry Animals? Supergrasss?) so I was late to the Superchunk party. I think they should call an album Superchunky and put a giant Chunky bar on the cover.

          • I was late to the party with Superchunk and I really like them now. But their name just seems much dumber than their music. Maybe it made sense at the time when they were getting started and maybe it didn’t seem like such a big deal because who expected an indie band like them to defy all odds and carve out a decades long career? But it’s not good.

            I recently saw the Super Suckers and they were fantastic. But I think I avoided them for years based on their name too. Maybe I hate bands with “Super” in the name as well.

      • saturnismine

        Yes…supergrass, super suckers, superchunk, super furry animals, superDRAG…

        that’s exactly what I had in mind when I thought of it as a bad name not worthy of the music it represents.

        Maybe if there were no other band names with “super” at the start, I’d think Superchunk was a super name.

        But truth be told, I’m not too fond of the chunk part, either. That’s a word that gets thrown around a lot, too. Kind of like “sauce” and “balls” get put at the end of adjectives (“awesomesauce!” “amazeballs!”).

        It just seems like a juvenile name for a band that didn’t expect to make it past next week let alone through a series of great indie rock albums.

  8. diskojoe

    I’m surprised that nobody has mentioned the Zombies as a band whose name is rather inappropriate to their music.

    • cherguevarra

      I agree. I guess I like them too much to criticize their name. It is a funny name, in the context of the time when they formed. Crickets. Beatles. Rolling Stones. And by funny, I mean humorous, rather than odd.

  9. misterioso

    1. What is the greatest gap between a good name and bad music?

    That’s hard for me since I tend to associate bad music with a bad name and it is hard to think of the name independent from the music. That is to say, it’s hard for me to say if Red Hot Chili Peppers, Pere Ubu, or Jane’s Addiction are good names or not.

    2. What is the greatest gap between a bad name and good music?

    I love Badfinger but I think it is kind of a dumb name. Likewise, way before I’d really heard them I thought Flamin(g) Groovies was a stupid name. But you get used to it.

    3. Which band name, regardless of the quality of the music or the name itself, seems the most inappropriate choice for that given band?

    NRBQ.

    3. Which band name seems like the people naming it were trying too hard?

    Brian Jonestown Massacre

    4. Which band name seems like the people naming it couldn’t give a shit?

    Tool

    5. What would you name a band and what type of music would your band play?

    Cummerbund. I think the rest takes care of itself.

  10. 1. Slade
    2. Geggy Tah
    3. Asia
    4. Misterwives
    5. The Band
    6. Conflicted – lots of different things.

  11. BigSteve

    What is the greatest gap between a good name and bad music?

    Slade

    What is the greatest gap between a bad name and good music?

    The stupidity of the name “The Beatles’ has been obscured by history.

    Which band name, regardless of the quality of the music or the name itself, seems the most inappropriate choice for that given band?

    Kix

    Which band name seems like the people naming it were trying too hard?

    Sigue Sigue Sputnik

    Which band name seems like the people naming it couldn’t give a shit?

    X

    What would you name a band and what type of music would your band play?

    The Subwoofers. Infrasound all the way.

 
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