Friday, April 15, 2011

Dirk's Three Laws (and One Strong Suggestion) of Band Naming

Working in the music business you see tons of bands for whom the task of coming up with the first thing people will hear about them - the name - has apparently been given less thought than their hairstyles or the music. To assist those who aren't gifted in the dark arts of band naming, I've assembled the following list of guidelines that you ignore at your peril. (And yes, there are more than three if you want to be picky.)

Rule #1 - The name should be memorable. This should be self-explanatory, but too many bands don't seem to understand that if no one remembers your band's name, no one will remember the band. Pink Floyd, Van Halen, even The Arcade Fire have names that can be remembered; Above All, Malajube, Menomena, and Shad (all actual bands at SXSW 2011) don't. Punny names like Jehovah Waitresses or The Victorious Secrets help. (I've used Atomic Guam and Iron Oreo as Rock Band and Guitar Hero names.)

Rule #2 - The name should indicate what sort of music you play.
Iron Maiden implies one thing; Air Supply implies another. What does Sweet Jane sound like; a Velvet Underground tribute act? Atari Teenage Riot sounds like their name. Does your name sound like your band?

Rule #3 - It should be easy enough to spell so juvenile delinquents can grafitti it everywhere. I was considering naming my band The Bourgeoisie until I realized I had to think hard about how to spell it. Did I want "Teh Borzwahzee Rulez!" spray-painted on overpasses and alley walls? That's why I went with Red September.

The One Strong Suggestion - Try out the name in the sentence, "Hi, we're [band name]." Does it sound stupid or offensive or like something your mother would blush at or would it make J.D. Considine's work of writing a snarky one-sentence review twisting it for maximum damage easy? Then go back to the start and come up with something not terrible. There was once a band called Lame. Try that out in the sentence. Can J.D. reply, "Yes, you are."? Then it's a terrible name. Start over. Seriously.

For a time, these Laws did the job, but over time I recognized other factors to be dealt with, thus leading to the first extension to the Laws:

Rule #3.5 - The name should not have to be seen for the joke to be understood. I once saw a band called Raindance several times before learning it was spelled R-E-I-G-N-dance. Get it? Neither did I. Homophones are trouble and not because they sound like listening devices for gay people. If your name sounds like Laughing Carrots, do not spell it Laffing Carats.

Because too many bands ignore the One Strong Suggestion, I've had to add:

Rule #3.6 - If the name includes one of the "7 Dirty Words" than you don't want to be famous. No one is going to sign and promote or cover bands called Sh*t and Shine, Sh*t Horse, or Sh*t Robot. (More real SXSW bands.) There's a band around town called Sh*tf*cker and while they're commended for being able to gig without detectable brain activity, their name alone precludes interest from anyone who doesn't giggle at the word "poop" every time.

Rule #4 - Logos must be clear enough that the band name can be discerned in 1.7 seconds or less. This stems from seeing an ad for a death metal festival where about 30 bands were playing, but I could only tell the names of 80% of the acts. The rest had logos that tried so hard to look like lightning bolts, spiderwebs, Klingon bat'leths and whatnot, they were illegible. Hippie jam bands are also frequent offenders as they have psychedelic melted balloon typography. Hey, Trustafarians, the reason the Fillmore posters could get away with it was because the people back then were on acid and to them the words looked like they were in Helvetica.

CFE: Taking The Excuses of the Stupid Party to the Woodshed.

The Background: This post on The Corner explaining the convention "wisdom" being bandied about by the Stupid Party to excuse their fecklessness in getting anything they were sent to do done. What follows is my comment:

As Breaker of Horses noted, the Stupid Party under Dubya were Big Government Compassion Fascists who squandered what little remained of the Newt Revolution and setting up a situation where liberals were/are able to sneer, "Bill Clinton left a surplus* and Dubya blew it on war and tax cuts for the rich. Also, funny how you teabaggers are suddenly concerned about spending not that a proud Nubian brother is in the White House." Yeah, it's a lies and selective character assassination, but the Stupids under the non-leadership of Cryin' John Fakenbake have done NOTHING to counter it.

What's appalling about the Stupid's utter collapse since being returned to partial power is that they've gone from being the so-called "Party of No" that remained futilely unified against the Obama/Reid/Pelosi/Marx/Alinksy socialist juggernaut to spineless, mewling, Vichy collaborators as they seek to crush the very freshmen and Tea Partiers that gave Cryin' John the gavel. It should be noted that Newt offered a Contract while Cryin' John merely spoke a Pledge. The difference is that you can't sue for breach of pledge and that semantic distinction bespeaks the unseriousness of these jokers.

The Contract with America was followed through on as far as voting on its items. What's happened with the Pledge? Demurrals, backtracks, excuses, and failure. From the moment they won decisively in November, they have capitulated to every demand of the Democrats. The lame duck was filled with bad treaties and bad tax deals. It was as if the Stupids wanted to side up with Obama and the Dems to stave off the Tea Party rubes. Then the chairmanships went mostly to old dog spendthrifts indicating that, as many suspected, the problem for the Stupids wasn't that there was spending going on, but that they didn't get to direct it to their cronies.

It's maddening to see how the Stupids can't seem to understand the actual meaning of what happens to them electorally. They believe they lost in 2006 and 2008 because they we're moderate enough and Dem Lite enough for the grasping hands in the nation. While they almost appeared to get that they'd lost their way from the true path and conservative principles during the Porkulus and ObamaCare battles, they were so outnumbered it didn't matter. So the voters took them at their word that they'd learn their lesson and we looking to redeem themselves and here we are now, betrayed by the only forces available to stop the nation-destroying agenda of the Obama Regime and fellow travelers.

As the brilliant Mark Steyn aptly said a month ago, "“I think John Boehner has been an incredible disappointment. I think John Boehner has basically climbed into the Bob Dole suit, and I think they misunderstand the lessons of the 2010 election, which is that the tea party chose to work within the diseased husk of the Republican Party it loathes. And it still hasn’t forgiven for 2006 and 2008. So for the Republicans to demonstrate that ‘hey, we’re back to 2006 again,’ except on Obama-level spending, is not a good idea.

We need Republicans to at least take the lead in broadening public discourse. This country is broke. It’s the brokest country in the history of the planet. And the idea of arguing over itsy-bitsy, half a billion here and half a billion there, and continuing resolutions staggering forward every ten days, is preposterous. It’s inadequate to the task. It’s inadequate for the challenge facing America”

The Stupids under Cryin' John have offered nothing but excuses for their failure and lack of will. They insult the intelligence of their constituents by whining about how hard they have it without the Senate and White House and it reeks of not wanting to get sweaty if victory is unlikely. The Detroit Lions show more stones than the Stupid Party because at least they make an attempt to not lose before starting the "Wait until NEXT year!" happy talk.

Let's see how the Stupids have done:

• Lame duck session - "We can't do anything because it's still the Dem's show. Next month, we'll get 'em."

• Then the new Congress starts and a lunatic shoots up Tuscon and while the media blames them for the tragedy, they suspend operations for a week. This is understandable, but it halted any momentum they may have had left after the lame duck debacles.

• The in CR after CR after downward revision until ultimate failure, they couldn't find it possible to cut ANYTHING in a substantive way. They couldn't defund the CPB after a citizen catches NPR's management acting up. They couldn't defund taxpayer-funded baby slaughter at Planned Parenthood after another citizen catches them collaborating with supposed sex slavers. [It's "human traffickers" on site because the language filters prevent sex] It was low-hanging fruit that the public wanted picked and they couldn't do it. Meanwhile the Dems are going to the wall in order to protect the murder of babies on the taxpayers' dime. They are willing to stand up for their death-loving ideology. What does the Stupid Party believe in that they're willing to fight for?

• After they lied that they understood why they lost; lied that they want to prove themselves reformed; lied that they would force the issues and do the will of the People who sent them; we're supposed to believe that the next fights, the hard ones with real money at stake and the future of the Republic hanging in the balance, that THEN they will stand up to the Dems. Uh, right. That's like a morbidly obese person promising to start dieting and exercising while they're still at the table choking down another wafer-thin mint.

* Nevermind that it was the Newt Congress's surplus. The Stupid Party can't even be bothered to set that record straight