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I Visited the Big City and All I Brought You Is More Stupid Band Names (Do Not Take Offense, Bands. The Stupid Is Referential. Remember Those Vacation T-Shirts?)

February 3, 2010

You know I love ‘em. Band names are one of my favorite braindancing mind exercises. Here’s something that really fascinates me—and makes me sad as the wife of a drummer—there are so many new names in a town after just a few months. And so many missing ones. Are bands changing their names or are they defunct or are they simply not working, just practicing and praying for gigs? My mom’s a musician too and live music is a hard way to make a living even though it can help you make a wonderful life if it feeds your passion.

Here are some recent finds from Portland, Oregon’s January 27, 2010, Willamette Week: Sleep Bandana, Backyard Tire Fire, Pitchfork Motorway, Two Ton Boa (feathers or snake?), Kung Pao Chickens, Atomic Butter Babies, Death by Steamship, Morning Teleportation, Shoebox Letters, Singing Knives, Cootie Platoon, and my personal favorite: Keep Your Fork There’s Pie. Just imagining the naming sessions makes me smile. (So what do you think, George, Kung Pao or General Tsao?)

And then there are the ensembles: Cornwallace and the Nutty Buddies, Alan Singley & Pants Machine, Drew Grow and the Pastors Wives, Farethewell and the Foolhardy, Flash Flood & the Dikes, Reverse Dotty & The Candy Cane Shivs, and Strict Liquid with Saucy Possom. Gosh. Who could make this stuff up? There are some pretty spiffy individual names too: Eric Anarchy, Suburban Slim, Sister Spit, Jefferey Jerusalem, Serge Severe, Remy the Restless (alliteration is so tempting!) and Mr. Howl (Play on words? Misspelled homage to Gilligan’s Island?).

Here’s today’s two-part Band Name Challenge:

Part One: What movie would you name your band after? Here are several from Willamette Week: The Devil Wears Prada (Yes, this was a book first. So many movies are.), Witch Mountain, and The Breakfast Club. There’s also a close-but-no-cigar in Tomorrow’s Bad Seeds. I might choose Strangers on a Train or The Greatest Show on Earth or Singin’ in the Rain or Harold and Maude or Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. Earn extra points with some wordplay. Name a band with a horn section One Blew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.

Part Two: Pick a band name, pretend it’s the name of a movie, and write the synopsis. Example: The Happiness Project. Twins Trixie and Ken find themselves stuck in town the summer before their senior year of high school. Their friends have all taken off on vacation (cut to the French Riviera and London and Hong Kong and Rio and other fabulous vacay spots for a glimpse of various hijinks) and they’re home taking care of six younger siblings to save money on daycare. Heartwarming merriment ensues when they enlist their brothers and sisters in The Happiness Project and do good deeds all around the neighborhood. You’ll laugh uproariously as their good intentions go awry.

Here are some other names I’d like to play with: Shark Party, Gaslamp Killer, Dinosaur Daycare, Dangerous Boys Club, Frightening Waves of Blue, Wizard Boots, Dorkbot (seriously, wouldn’t this be a great cartoon?), Soap Collectors (possibly a “road” picture about multiple motels), and my favorite ‘cause I loves me the horror movies: Starantula (terror from the other side of the universe!!).

Quick reminder. How is this related to student success? It’s exercise for your brain, that’s how. It amuses your mind as well. Gets it warmed up for the serious stuff.

What movie would you name your band after?

Movies can and do have tremendous influence on shaping young lives in the realm of entertainment towards the idea and objectives of normal adulthood.
• Walt Disney

The Three Baboons & Elsie? The Eggbeaters?
When The Brady Bunch’s dad brings home a record and asks the family to guess who it is, the kids come up with these names.

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