THE BEGINNING

Everything says Danny ‘the crystal wolf’ Canter

Everything says Danny ‘the crystal wolf’ Canter

The ‘wolfs’ did rather well. Out of nowhere there was suddenly a Wolfmother, a Wolf & Cub, a Wolf Parade and an Economy Wolf. Then a Turbo Wolf, a Johanna And The Wolf, an Aids Wolf and a Fox’n’Wolf. For some unexplainable reason, the same beast that was once Michael J Fox’s teen trauma was universally cool… or at least within the world of alternative band names it was. Ashamedly, we panicked too, as the recruiting of a social slag called Party Wolf continues to prove. Now, the ‘crystals’ are catching up, be it Castles, Antlers or Stilts, and yet ‘Party Crystal’ fails to fill us with desired confidence, even if we could find a new hack with such a prattish name. We’ll probably give it a go though, because we’re suckers for a good name.
On one hand, band monikers can be considered irrelevant. When Noel Gallagher insisted on his younger brother’s band changing their name from the average ‘Rain’ to the dire ‘Oasis’, poor old Liam must have wished his sibling had just stayed on tour as roadie to The Inspiral Carpets. And yet, with the likes of ‘Live Forever’ and ‘Slide Away’ then under their belt, being associated to a woman’s High Street chain – or a posher Ribena – was not long a problem for Oasis. But you do have to be good. Arctic Monkeys good. Or Beatles good.

Plainly, not many are, but the key is knowing just how limited your musicality is and filling in the gaps (often gaping) with clever wording that’ll look good on a bootleg top outside Brixton Academy – if you really are the second coming, “Get your ‘Turds’ tees ‘ere!” will suffice, if not, you’ll need a “Five paaand, ya ‘Shut Your Eyes And You’ll Burt Into Flames’ hoodies”.

Of course, there’s a massive problem with this piece of advice – every teething band are wholeheartedly convinced that they’re going to change the world, even the likes of The Pigeon Detectives who seem to have sidestepped the great name and the producing of little more than completely tripe material. To them, they’re the shit; there are no gaps to be filled with a name that makes music fans want to seek out what they’re all about; their music does all at the talking.

The lesson, I guess, is police your arrogance, which means do a My Chemical Romance (metal/rock bands always have the best names really – Guns’n’Roses, Bullet For My Valentine, Slayer) and know that when your riffs and ramblings won’t seriously arch the eyebrows of A&R men, a provocative or intelligent name just might, until your budget allows for a daft, operatic ‘Black Parade’ tour.

And whatever you do, steer clear of the ‘witty’ results from your latest brainstorming session. The chances are they’re actually terrible to anyone who wasn’t high and present when you came up with them. Those conversations usually start with, “How about The Bare Naked Ladies? That way people will come to our shows because the posters will trick them into thinking they’re getting to see boobs!”
All of this should ultimately be rendered irrelevant if you can’t play for dust, and granted, you do need to know that a Gm is not played on a Stratocaster by blowing into the end, but ‘The Horrors’ will buy you time that the yawnsome ‘Captain’ won’t, allowing us silly music journalists to get so excited about your name (and then hair, clothes and friends is the usual order) that we’ll not even notice that you play out of time and tune to begin with.

Thems the rules, obey they. I’ve gotta dash, it’s band practice night with my new lot, ‘Shit The Bed’. We’re fucking brilliant!!!

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Originally featured in Loud And Quiet Issue 3 (Vol. 3), published February 14th, 2009

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