Reub's journey

07 January 2014

Name the band

There's something vaguely biological about the forming of bands, like a sort of ongoing mitosis in which groups split up, constantly creating multiple new entities. At first-long ago-I didn't understand this and it wasn't hard to con me into developing logos, perhaps a t-shirt design for John's latest band.


Coming up with a clean, cool logo is much much harder than it looks. As bands went through their rather short life cycles (1-3 years), I lacked enthusiasm for new pro bono projects associated with them.


It's probably short-sighted to feel this way; what if John Pasche had been like that when the Rolling Stones needed him to come up with something? Oh right, John Pasche didn't work for free and would never have turned down the chance to design that big tongue-and-lips. Pre-dating Miley Cyrus by 42 years, it was later to be voted the greatest band logo of all time.





Anyway. All of the music has been super-fun. It's ranged from solitary classical guitar to bluegrass to rock and roll, free-form jazz, standard jazz, and now a swing band. There's a huge drum set downstairs, and a nice piano, plus musicians coming over over once or twice a week to practice. Just one little problem: the swing band is about to play its third gig and it doesn't have a name. Nobody can agree:

Four Swings and a Ms.
Dogtown
50 Finger Swing Band
Swing Theory
The Bad Samaritans
The Fabulous Delusionists
Highwire Cakewalk
Frim Fram

Lengthy discussions have ended in laughter, frowns,  and head shaking.  After a few beers a name sounds perfect...Tony Legato and the Fuckin' Re-tahds (musical terms, people, musical terms thought up by a band member from Boston)...but later with a clear head...no, perhaps not.

They are happily taking submissions for a name, and I keep thinking of stuff, but nothing is just right. Websites that generate band names aren't much help although they're fun to mess with. One such site came up with The Swinging Potatoes, and Swing of the Adverse, and Glory Swing of the Wooly Prosthetic.  ??????? If you visit that site let me know if you have better luck. Or please just think of something.


28 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. It's one of the better ones, Ellen.

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  2. i like 'swings and a miss' or 'swing vote'

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  3. Glory swing of the wooly prosthetic? No.

    How about Polar Vortex?

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    1. I bet there are a dozen bands naming themselves Polar Vortex as we speak! Ha! It sounds like it came from a Weather-Namer-Generator!

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  4. I'd vote for DogTown, but I have an obvious bias:) Can you find initials that mean something (or not) PBJ Swing or The PBJ Band

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    Replies
    1. Haha! Dogtown was my idea! Apparently it has a hiphop reference though.

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  5. all right, now, you know dan and i could come up with something sweet, but we gotta hear the muuuuuusic first...

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    1. Oh I wish you two were here to listen... but in lieu of that watch this video by the Jive Aces:
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oXvJ8UquYoo

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  6. I don't knooooow...I had a friend who was agonizing over a band name years ago, and he was telling me the terrible band names he'd come up with. Finally, he said, you know, what do you think of 'A Flock of Seagulls'? So I said, well, that's a great name! And he said, no, that's a terrible name! You would totally shoot that down if I had come up with that...but because they were a good band with a good song, we think of the band name as a good name.

    So that little talked changed my perception on how I view band names anymore. Is that name a good name? Or is it just ridiculous and we can't tell because we like their music so much...

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    1. Right? We would shoot down "the Beatles" if somebody came up with that dumb name!

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  7. Really do not much about these bands :( The ones I used to enjoy were the Beatles, ABBA & Boney M. And these were from long long ago !

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    1. The band names are so far all theoretical RR, so you are absolutely right in thinking that they don't ring a bell. :-)

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  8. I'm terrible at naming things, except my dogs. Even then I sometimes have to "try on" a few until one sticks. I wish you all the best coming up with something unique and creative! No pressure. :)

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    1. Oh me too. I can name a dog, but anything else? Naaah.

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  9. I name all of my chickens. Currently my roosters are: Chicklet, Bonnie, King Kong, Jack Bauer, Jr, and Hope. Gives you a general idea of the other 27. I have also had groups of chickens called The Hole In The Wall Gang and The Dirty Dozen. Yes, sometimes I name them before their gender is known...oops.

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    Replies
    1. It's amazing that you can come up with that many names! Group names seem wise. The Chicago Seven, The Gang of Eight...

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  10. Sometimes names evolve sort of organically. Maybe that will happen in this case.

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    1. Well, AV, they've had months to figure this out. They should be close by now. John is gone this week, far away in Japan, and when he returns there's a gig almost immediately so hopefully it will be figured out by then?

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  11. I LOVE "The Bad Samaritans." That is awesome.

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    1. I like that one too, Stephanie. When pressed on why I like it, I had to defend myself by saying "What!? It's funny! You wanna call yourselves 'The Swinging Nice People'?"

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  12. Replies
    1. Nice, I could live with this. By the time they come up with something it may be the Fifth Gig though.

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  13. As a junior in HS, I was sitting behind a guy who was lead vocals for a band and he asked me to come up with a name. I came up with Thieves of the Sacrosanct! I thought it was clever but it wasn't. It was just unwieldy. Someone in the band ended up coming up with Asylum, which was, of course, awesome. (I never use that word, btw, but here it really fits.)

    I tend to think simplest is best. Dogtown stood out to me, as did Frim Fram. Maybe neither of those is The One, but as a designer, I'm sure you also think it's easier to dream up that clean, crisp logo with more than immediately meets the eye when the band name isn't too full of letters. Looking at dbs' comment, maybe just Gig.

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    1. Suze, they had another practice session last night and another name-the-band discussion/vote. I am, as you surmise, attracted to the simple names. Although Thieves (Thief?) of the Sacrosanct could be a pretty great blog title, right?

      There is a need to give a clue about the type of music to people looking at posters. The band does swing music, a lot of django-esque stuff, pieces from the 20s. A lot of the best names are already "taken." I'm so tired of this that every word or phrase begins to sound like another desperate band name...as in "Taken!"...hey, they should call themselves "Taken"...aaaargh.

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    2. I dunno, I think they were onto something with Tony Legato.

      Seriously, you know who you might ask? The Armchair Squid. He's a music teacher, would be familiar with eras in music and terms from same that might be bent to serve the needs at hand. For example, I looked up Django on wiki, since I wasn't familiar, and saw its genre was Third Stream, which gives Third Gig greater weight.

      Or maybe they just need to take a big break from trying and let the back brain gurgle up the magic when it's ready. :)

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    3. I bet AS is good with band names. Maybe I'll ask!
      I think that a name will make itself apparent soon.

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