Attention, Potential Bands:
So maybe you’re a group of old college buddies who’ve rallied around the idea that it’s your Duty to Transform The World through the power of Great Art (in this case, Art equals Music, and nothing else at all, right? Wrong! Read on).
Got a genre yet? Check! Maybe even a subgenre. And maybe even, if you’re lucky, a sub-sub-genre. (If so, good for you guys. If I were a lame, unoriginal cliché—spouter, I’d say you’ve “carved a niche for yourself.” But I’m not, I’m a creative genius, like you guys!).
Got your instruments? Check! The old standbys are all there. You’ve got your keyboard, your drum set, your guitar (electric, plus an acoustic, but that’s only for concerts), your bass. You’ve even got one that’s “out there,” like the French horn or the glockenspiel.
You’ve got your Roles. Even though you haven’t officially said the words “the Beatles,” everyone knows who the John is and who the Paul is, and God have mercy on you if you ever mix those two up. And you’ve definitely got the Ringo. Everyone knows who the Ringo is, especially the Ringo himself.
Maybe you’ve even written a few songs. If so, great work, but honestly guys, you’re getting a little ahead of yourselves and you should probably just cool it.
Because you’re missing the most important part. Your name. And that’s where I come in.
A little background on me. No, I can’t sing. I’m actually tone-deaf. I can’t play an instrument either. I have written a song once, for an extra-credit assignment in my high school geometry class. It was a spoof of “American Pie,” but instead of “pie,” it was “pi,” you know, like 3.14. My teacher, who happened to be a diehard Don McLean fan, gave me a lecture on plagiarism and I failed. But anyway. My job is far more important than that. Like I said, I’m a creative genius. Just as God granted you the artistic talent to sing, write and violently thrash at your drums like you’re shaking out the creases in a Hefty bag, He granted me the artistic talent to give prospective bands the perfect name that aligns with their vision, sound and public image.
I began to recognize my talent around the age of 10, when I found my dad’s old vinyls in the attic. (My mom sold his record player in a yard sale the year before). The rest is, as they say, history. I became infatuated with the greats. Led Zeppelin. Pink Floyd. The Velvet Underground. The Rolling Stones. Queen. Fleetwood Mac. The aforementioned Beatles. These guys (plus Stevie Nicks, and whoever that other girl in Fleetwood Mac was) were heroes to me, man. Where the squares might have hung a cross or a painting of the Virgin Mary on the bedroom wall, I hung a poster of the Dark Side of the Moon cover.
The music? To be honest, I didn’t care. What’s that Queen song, the one about some kid’s mom shooting someone and it sounds like a crappy opera score? Yeah, sorry, but that song sucks. And anyway, like I said, my mom had sold the record player, so I didn’t even listen to the albums anyway. I would just stare at the covers, stare at the names, repeating them over and over again till they had settled permanently on my tongue.
Led Zeppelin. The Velvet Underground. The Rolling Stones. They were so beautiful, and yet, there was a certain darkness to them.
It wasn’t long before I thought, I could do this.
I started keeping lists of potential band names. For a post-grunge Nirvana offshoot, I had The Faded Oranges. For a fiddle-playing all-female indie-folk group, The Paisley Skirts. For a nu-metal band who always angrily rejected the label “nu-metal,” in interviews, it was Angels of Death. You know, basic stuff, nothing special. I guess you could say I was just playing around, experimenting, testing my limits. I started bringing my lists to school and worked on them during class. My grades suffered accordingly (that’s why I needed that extra credit in geometry). My teachers yelled at me, said I was a good-for-nothing dreamer who would never make it anywhere in life. When I worked on the lists at home, my mom would freak out and say that band-naming was the art of the devil and would throw holy water on me. But when the muse strikes, you don’t tell her no. True genius can never be suppressed.
Which brings me to today. Up until now, band-naming has been a side thing for me, something I did to unwind after a long day at the office. Now I’m ready to pursue my passion full-time. And I’m ready to help you discover that elusive perfect band name, the one that will make the difference between sex-drugs-hotel-room-destroying superstardom and playing weeknights at the local dive bar.
Not convinced yet? Let me point you to the rave reviews from some of my past clients. Heard of the rising Celtic fusion group St. Patrick’s Breastplate? That’s my doing. They called me “the brilliant, innovative, slightly twisted imagination this generation of musicians needs” in Rolling Stone. The Disney tween pop group The Minnie Mice said in Spin that I was to band-naming “like what Jackson Pollock was to modern painting, what Alfred Hitchcock was to film, what Albert Einstein was to, um, like, the universe or whatever.”
So, yeah. I’m pretty good.
To get started, simply answer the following questionnaire:
- What is your band’s genre, subgenre, and, if applicable, sub-sub-genre?
- What is the public image you would like your band to project?
- Would you prefer a name that starts with “The” followed by a plural word (e.g. The Doors), a singular word (e.g. The Who) or simply a single made-up word (e.g. Nickelback)? Circle one.
- What is the name of your first pet and your first street address?
Email me the answers to firstname.lastname@example.org. From there we will set up an initial consultation. Fees start at $200 a pop.
Let’s make history together!
**I regret to inform you that I am unable to name single acts at this time. I am still in a legal dispute with Lady Gaga’s lawyers for telling the press the truth, which is that I came up with the term “Gaga,” after she consulted my services. She insists that she’s never met me in her life. Hopefully we will resolve this soon.
Rock on, man!
Kate Penney is a recent college graduate in English and philosophy and now has a job in administration, drafting corporate emails and cleaning coffee machines professionally. She runs longish distances and fills in awkward silences at parties by talking too much about her allergies. She lovingly crafts her thoughts into 140 characters and releases them into the wild void of cyberspace @KateMariePenney.