Saturday, January 12, 2008

Possible Band Names - a game you can all play

I mentioned on here several months ago that the 'possible band names' game is a popular subject for SMS exchanges with my old friend, The Poet. Here in China, you quite often find inspiration in the random bits of Chinglish on public signs and in company and product names. In that earlier post I cited the great example of The Sex Health Protection Monopoly - which is in fact a chain of specialist clinics or pharmacies down in Shanghai. And then of course many actual band names in China are superbly warped - tonight I'm going to a gig featuring Banana Monkey and Muscle Snog! And I have spoken often of my adulation for Beijing's weirdly wonderful experimental jazz outfit, Glorious Pharmacy.

So, I'll kick off with a 'Top 10' list of possible band names that have always appealed to me, and will then invite my readers to add their own suggestions in the 'comments'. Most of these, of course, are film references - feel free to shout out if you recognise them (or to complain if you don't).

I omit my very favourite, The Gutter Roses (the story behind that one is here), because I think I might actually use that one one day.

I wonder how many of these are already band names. At least some, I imagine; perhaps all. Never mind. I can't be bothered to check now. Somewhere in the world, at some time or other, almost every conceivable combination of words in the English language must have been adopted as a name by some teenage garage band..... There was, for example, back in the late '80s/early '90s a band gigging around Oxfordshire called Kitchens of Distinction - another favourite name of mine.

Anyway, here goes with my Top 10....... (counting down).........

10) Drowned Kittens

9) Biohazard

8) Bedtime for Bonzo

7) The Smoking Beagles

6) Surf Nazis

5) Cherry 2000

4) Glove Full Of Vaseline

3) War Rocket Ajax

2) Monsters From The Id

And...... my current absolute tip-top Number 1 fave.....

1) Candygram For Mongo

Now it's your turn........

[Well, what do you know?! I discovered in April 2012 that Candygram For Mongo is a real band. You can check out their official website, their merchandise, and some free sample tracks on MySpace.

They're from LA, and were born more than two years before I came up with the idea.]


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Froog said...

Thank you, Jim - and congratulations on claiming the distinction of making the 200th comment on here. Let me know who you are, and I'll try to create some sort of prize for you.

I don't know the characters, but I'd heard the term before. Yi fei (I'm sure Jim - or Brendan or The Weeble or someone - will correct me if I have this wrong; The Weeble will probably chip in with historical observations on how it was pronounced completely differently during the Northern Song; and how on earth would they say it Cantonese??) means something like 'righteous bandits'. It was often applied to groups of rebels - like the legendary outlaws of Liangshan Po in the classic adventures of The Water Margin/Outlaws of the Marsh - who were seen as protecting the common people against the depredations or oppressive government, and often indulging in a bit of the old 'redistribution of wealth' thing, in the manner of Robin Hood... or Monty Python's Dennis Moore.

It would indeed be a great name for a Chinese band.

Froog said...

That should, of course, have been "the depredations of oppressive government" in my comment above. Clumsy typing!

Froog said...

My apologies to compulsive commenter John, who 'gazumped' the 200th comment position.

I felt obliged to delete his contribution, since it was rather contrary to the spirit of the 'competition' - in that it neither mentioned the comment milestone nor contained band name suggestion.

I had intended to delete it only temporarily, and then restore it after someone else had made an eligible entry for the 'prize'. Alas, stupid bloody Blogger, though it gives blog administrators an option to 'delete temporarily', does not give them the parallel facility to reinstate a comment so deleted. Thus, 'permanent' and 'temporary' deletion are effectively the same. Bonkers!

What's more, 'temporarily deleted' comments are removed from the 'comments' folder. I had been thinking I could 'cut&paste' a copy of the comment and re-post it myself, but NO.

Aha! I had almost given up on trying to do right by commenter John when I remembered that notifications of comments are sent to one of my e-mail accounts. I've been able to retrieve his comment from there, so I'll put it back now.

John said...

I saw an utterly terrible and quite frankly worrying name for a real local band (South-West Wales, probably emo, probably awful) on a poster yesterday- Womb Wreckers.
Please do not let this one win by any means; besides, it's already taken...

Froog said...

And what do you know?! After all that excitement about passing the 200 mark, I discover that Blogger will only display the first 200 comments.

It is possible to access comments numbered beyond 200, but only if you scroll down to the bottom and click on the tiny, tiny, tiny button that says 'Newer'.

I'll investigate whether there is some way to arrange to display only the most recent comments when people first open the page, but I'm not sanguine.

I fear this will be the death of this post. Oh, woe!

Froog said...

Ah well, this might work - I've changed the hyperlink to this:

Froog said...

Well, what do you know?! I have just learned that Candygram For Mongo, one of my first band name suggestions on here four years ago, is a real band. You can check out their official website, their merchandise, and some free sample tracks on MySpace.

They're from LA, and were born more than two years before I came up with the idea.

I should probably add this acknowledgement to the post itself.

I'm afraid they seem to undermine my theory that there's a correlation between the quality of a band's name and the quality of their music. Candygram For Mongo is a GREAT band name, but....

Froog said...

I was inspired to try to revive this thread a few weeks ago when a friend challenged me to come up with a name for her new band and I suggested Bye Bye Kitty (because the dratty cutesy-cutesy Japanese cartoon Hello Kitty is absurdly, infuriatingly ubiquitous in China). I failed to convince her.

On that same rather boozy night, we had the brainwave of forming a tribute band to Beijing's favourite bluegrass boys The Randy Abel Stable to be called The Unstable Table...

Band naming + drunkenness... sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.

Froog said...

Band naming in Beijing seems to have taken a turn for the better, with the likes of Jacky Danny and Kick Ass recently coming to the fore. Quite good bands with quite good names. (However, the most impressive 'newcomers' of the past year or so are Residence A, whose name does not live up to the quality of their music.)

I see that laowai band Love's Tourette's (not a bad name) have now reinvented themselves as Elephant Fresh (not a bad name, but not great either; and possibly a bit too reliant on the limited in-joke that Element Fresh is the name of an American-style restaurant in Shanghai and Beijing). In the interim, I gather they were briefly styling themselves The Ashtray Lifeguards (which, I think, is a much better band name than its successor or predecessor; though not as good as Swimming Pool Pirates, one of our early suggestions in this thread - from Gary, I think?). Actually, I seem to remember having a conversation with someone about using that as a possible band name - in VA Bar, about 9 months ago??. Did I inspire that choice? Should I have tried to claim a fee? It seems the opportunity has gone now.

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