WOULD THAT WHICH WE CALL “MUSIC,”
BY ANY OTHER NAME . . . ?
By Jean C. Fisher
Sure, I’m used to feeling old and out of touch with young people today. I mean, just mentioning a once-household name like “Roddy McDowell” or “Jayne Mansfield” to someone under 30 and then watching the blank stare that ensues is enough to make you reach for your walker and some blue hair dye. . .
And I don’t want to imply that my generation didn’t subscribe to the “Musical Groups with Strange Names" School. After all, I hail from the era of “Moby Grape” and “Hot Tuna”!
So, like, Man, I can relate! (I mean, Dude, I am totally down with that!)
But, recently, while I was browsing through www.therollingstone.com (doing some research on another topic), I found myself quite unprepared (name wise) for the lists of today’s artists. (To tell the truth, I felt a little like D. W. Griffith at a premiere for “Star Wars”. . . )
So, as I read some of the names of these fantastically talented (I’m sure), innovative, young bands, I felt that I just couldn't resist sharing my thoughts with all of you -- just so that you can feel as obsolete as I did. . .
Now, I must preface by stating that I have not lived my entire life in a time warp. I have, of course, heard of “Smashing Pumpkins”, “Limp Bizkut” (Is that how you spell it? I'm not sure -- but at least I’ve heard of him. . . uhm. . . it?), “Alice in Chains” and “Smashmouth”; however, until the other day, I was completely and blissfully unaware of the musical stylings of “Smoking Popes”, “Nerf Herder”, “Dropkick Murphys” and “Alice Donut”! (Can you believe it?)< /FONT>
Now, most of these new groups, I have to admit, have perfectly innocuous-sounding names (although, how would I know?) that are almost “cheery” in nature. You take “Sunny Day Real Estate”, “For Squirrels”, “Aquarium Rescue Unit” and “Action Figure Party”, for example. (They don’t sound all that sinister to me, anyway. . . unless my innate, keen sense of the duple entendre is way off the mark, that is.) But you’ve really got to wonder about the “Bastard Sons Of Johnny Cash” (may he rest in peace), “Daisy Chainsaw”, “Gluecifer” and “The Dismemberment Plan”, really, you do!. . . (Well. . . I do, anyway.)
Of course, as you'd expect, there's a lot of “alien” groups (times being what they are) like “Alien Ant Farm”, “Alien Crime Syndicate”, “Alien Sex Fiend” and (my personal favorite) “Alien Fashion Show”.
Then I found ones that seem to be verbal studies in dichotomy, such as “Boxing Gandhis”, “Clowns for Progress” (and their near-relatives, the “Insane Clown Posse”), “The Afghan Whigs”, “Loudermilk”, and (the ever-confusing) “You Am I”. . .
In the "EEEEUUUUWWWW! Category", I’m afraid I’d have to list “The Catheters”, “Human Waste Project”, “Love Spit Love” and “Agoraphobic Nosebleed” as ranking right up there with (at least) the top ten of the “ickiest” names they could’ve picked.
There are a few -- such as “Add N to X” and the “Absolute Zeros” -- which sound as though someone might have thought them up following a particularly tedious Algebra Class.
“A-ha” makes me want to exclaim something more like “Huh?”, as do “Gorky's Zygotic Mynci”, “Pave the Rocket”, and (especially) “Was (Not Was)” (their parenthesis, not mine).
In the “We-Hope-They-Don’t-Sound-Anything-Like-What-Their-Names-Suggest Category", we might easily find “The Screamin' Cheetah Wheelies”, “The Party of Helicopters”, “I Was Born With Two Tongues” and (a valid excuse for a tort action, if ever I heard one) “Screeching Weasel”.
Some of these names sound. . . well. . . let’s just face it. . . the teensiest-bit inane. But some of them, at least, admit it right off the bat, like “Slightly Stoopid” and “Big Dumb Face” (to name two).
And I can certainly appreciate “Bomb the Bass” (especially if it’s in reference to those annoying, talking, mechanical fish-thingys mounted on wall-plaques. . .)
And you wonder if “Big in Iowa” and “Big in Japan” actually are. . .
Thank goodness we shriveling excuses for mummified, former-human beings can still make sense of the world by listening to our vinyl LPs of “Mott the Hoople!”
Jean lives in her native Northern California and is a freelance writer whose works have appeared in the "Haunted Encounters" series (2003 & 2004, ATriad Press), Angela Hoy's "Spirit Communications" (2004, Booklocker.com), Stephen Wagner's About.com site (2002, 2003 & 2004), ApollosLyre.com (Aug. 2004), and previously on this site (Sept. 2004). Contact Jean