FACT*: There are more people alive today than have ever existed in human history.
FACT**: There are over 995,112 words in the English language.
FACT***: There are, according to scientific analysis, an indeterminable number of bands in the world, musical or otherwise.
CONCLUSION****: The number of untaken good band names should be somewhere between 10^6 and infinity, give or take a standard deviation or two.
Given these facts, how has society, masters and masses alike, fallen into the trap of repetitive and recursive derivatives of the known axioms that lead to successful band naming? And why do my band names always suck?
First, let us enumerate and explore our traditions:
- The _____. The Who. The Guess Who. The Band. The Jam. When will it be okay to buck the yoke of article+noun let band names get straight to the meat without bothering with the article appetizer? And what’s the deal with British band name structure, viz. NME writing an article+noun band name as the ‘the The _____’? I’m canceling my subscription to Wire and replace it with a subscription to The Wire.
- ____ & the _____. Jonathan Richman & the Modern Lovers. Captain Beefheart and The Magic Band. Echo & the Bunnymen. Wooden Wand & The Vanishing Voice. There will always be also-rans in rock & roll. Why bother recognizing the other people in the band who apparently (given their demotion to a collective name at the tail end of the band name that will invariably be in smaller letters on the marquee) don’t matter? Or, rather, why create a fictitious band leader name and create another unjust tiering structure within a band? If Hootie isn’t the name of the black guy with the goatee, then who is?
- ___Wolf/Wolf___. Wolf Eyes/Mother/gang/men. Aids/Guitar/Tiger Bear Wolf. Whats with wolves? Yes, they are ferocious, wild and endangered–I’m totally cool with Animism, Native American trickster tales and Midwestern screenprinting standards–but what gives? There are cooler animals out there, e.g. any megafaunal mammal.
- Acid Mothers _____ and the ____ ____ ____. Acid Mothers Temple. Acid Mothers Temple and the Melting Paraiso U.F.O. Acid Mothers Gong. Acid Mothers Afrirampo. Acid Mothers Temple and the Cosmic Inferno. Acid Mothers Temple SWR. Acid Mothers Temple and the Pink Ladies. Acid Mothers Temple & The Pink Ladies Blues featuring the Sun Love and the Heavy Metal Thunder. If you have a rotating cast of characters, why can’t you just use one name like, say, Current 93? Much to the chagrin of my friends, I have developed a simple way to predict a new Acid Mothers iteration: do a google image search for anything and pick two results. They should (as of 03/08) appear as such:
Next, take any two images. The first image should be summed into a single noun and the second should be described as such: (science fiction or geological term gerund)+(noun)+(2nd sci-fi or geological noun). Let’s try one on for size:
The Acid Mothers HAPPYMEAL and the HOVERING AVATAR EXTRUSION. I rest my case.
Maybe the only way to win the Band-Name Game is to simply submit, roll over and die. Some acquaintances of mine needed a band name for an upcoming show and just decided that ‘Space Bong’ would do fine; it is simple, easy to remember and goes so far past stupid that it functions more as a placeholder name than anything else–an aband-name, if you will. Maybe we need more artists like Prince, who can just up and change their name to a symbol and back again (with a brief stop at ‘the Artist Formerly Known As’). If someone can name their child Google or @, why hold back the creative juices for band names?
As for myself, I have given up and stuck with the hypothetical band name W(hi/it)ch (W)Hole, which can be best summarized as such:
It is so inane, useless and unnecessarily tenuous in nature that it is untenable as a serious prospect–which makes it a serious contender in my mind. Interpret or deride at your leisure, oh unforgiving internet. Now that the hard part is out of the way, I suppose it’s time to write some music.
Hey, wanna be in my band?
* according to this guy–but look at his morbidly obese proto-carcass! Would you trust such a corpulent man with such a weighty question? Or trust a man whose avatar is a Leo The Bald Cowboy and lists ‘the Bible and evolution’ as his primary sources?
**according to these dudes, who, in my opinion, use too many ten dollar words and pseudo-scientific algorithms to be taken seriously.
***according to this Robo-Genius. I trust Robo-Genius. I Trust in Robo-Genius.
****according to me. I made this relatively precise estimate based upon the number of hot girls on myspace who want to meet up’n'chat (provided that I give them my credit card information first) multiplied by the number of times I have given my phone number out at a bar and waited days for ‘coffee sometime’.