Name that band

Apr 212004
Authors: Eric Klamper

So your band is starting to not sound like crap and your friends

are asking you to play at so-and-so’s birthday party. It’s time to

unify your posse of noise pollution with a singular name. But you

better take some time to generate a memorable and distinctive band

name before you tattoo something stupid on yourself.

“Sometimes bands seem to go out of their way to give themselves

a horrible name,” said Karl Alvarez, ALL bassist and Fort Collins

native. “The Bad Yodelers, for example, that was a band I played

for with a terrible name.”

After 22 years in the music business, Alvarez, 50, has seen

countless bands come and go, and he knows the importance of having

a solid band name.

“We got the name ALL after our drummer Bill was off on a fishing

trip with a friend and they hit this round of mackerel,” Alvarez

said. “They were in this tiny canoe and Bill was reeling in fish

faster than his buddy could bring them into the boat. He caught so

many fish that it started swamping the boat so his buddy was

telling him ‘no more’ and Bill said, ‘No … ALL … We’re going

for all.’ They came home with their fishing story and we all

thought that it made a great name.”

Other groups have similar stories of their name’s origin.

“Our whole band was in Tibet trying to find ourselves

spiritually,” said Justin Duran, vocalist of A-Void. “One night, we

were in this little bar, drinking sake, and this drunk old man came

and sat with us. He was blind and had this long white beard, so he

was really intense looking. We started talking with him and he told

us that he had a prophecy for us. He leaned in and said, ‘Good

fortune lies ahead, but avoid the bad acid.’ We all thought it was

hilarious and decided to adopt ‘avoid’ as our name.”

Many bands are formed through high school friendships and the

group members get to experience growing up together.

“The band 98 Mute got their name because they were friends as

kids,” Alvarez said. “When they were teens, they would try to watch

channel 98, which was the porn channel, at their parent’s house.

They had to mute the volume so they wouldn’t get caught.”

Every band has to have its humble beginnings. Before there are

groupies and personal recording studios, there is jamming in the

parent’s garage for drunken friends and dealing with disgruntled

family members and neighbors.

The band Less Than Jake obtained its name because of a similar


The band used to practice at a parent’s house but would

continuously have to stop because the noise would upset the

family’s spoiled pet dog named Jake, according to Alvarez.

“We’re less than Jake around here,” the band would say, and its

name was born, Alvarez said.

Proper selection of a quality band name has more importance than

just having cool looking T-shirts and a cool logo on the side of

the band’s van. It also plays an important role in helping

listeners to retain a memory of the band and encourages them to

come and see a performance or buy an album.

“A unique name helps you stand out from all the other bands out

there,” said Chris Shellenberg, former guitarist of Suburbia’s

Finest. “If you have a name that separates you, people are more

likely to come see your show.”

So don’t be lazy through the naming process, because when the

band breaks up after a fight occurred when the drummer slept with

the bassist’s girlfriend, and the band falls apart, that perfect

band name will still remain for all time.

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