When you are a teenager, right after you learn your first chord on guitar, you start thinking of band names. You scribble names on every available surface of notebooks and spend countless hours thinking how it will look on albums, billboards, on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine. Finding the perfect band name becomes as important as say, learning the beginning riff to “Stairway to Heaven”.
However when you reach middle age and get together with other middle age musicians and singers, its not an easy process to come up with a name for your group to get those weekend gigs at small clubs, bars and backyard parties. It’s a group process, which at best becomes a long drawn out affair that tells you much about the people you play music with on a weekly basis. And how weird their brain works. And how odd your own perspective can be.
It usually goes like this:
1. ALL OF THE GOOD ONES ARE TAKEN…
One Fourth of July, we sat down over beer and cocktails and came up with a list of no less than 25 names. A quick google search confirmed that 24 of those names were taken already and some by local groups in our area. (The one remaining was really, really bad and when we were sober, we wondered why it was even suggested). As you discard name after name for being a “good idea that someone else has already claimed”, you begin to wonder if band names are a finite quantity and you are indeed, the last in line or nearly so.
2. I’M AGAINST IT
Everyone in the band has had what they think is a brilliant idea for a name. Convinced you have the best name since The Beatles, you present your idea to the rest of the group only to be told at the very least, that it is the most patently stupid name they’ve ever heard. A friend’s band is named “Blip” because it is the name literally everyone hated the least. Our current working name is Omaje, which falls in the same category.
3. THE UNSPOKEN NAME
The final category is names that we all loved, but never in a million years could we use because it breached polite standards (for a non-punk/metal band) or we would get sued. Or both. One of the names that came out of a game of “Apples to Apples” was the fantastic name of “Bea Arthur’s Corpse”. A name guaranteed to both offend and get us sued. (However, if you have a punk band that isn’t afraid of liability issues, feel free to use it. We think its brilliant.)
So if you have a good name for an eclectic cover band you want to suggest, please feel free. We’d love the assistance and promise not to say “That’s the stupidest name I’ve ever heard”. At least when you’re not in earshot. We pinky swear.