A random morning, I tuned into my car and started up the radio. The news anchor, who probably got out of bed well before I did and hopefully with less of a morning- temper, made his introductions. The hot wire of the day: a triumph in legislation. From now on, it’ll only take you a couple of days to change your first name. Although my cerebral engines were not quite yet running at full throttle, I did feel a critical question thumping in the back of my mind. Is this another one of our politics Pyrrus victories? ‘Cause, why on earth would anyone want to change their first name? Unless of course your first name is an adjective. In that case, any time is a right time to settle that score. Like that guy who bears the name ‘Lucky’. Lucky what? Lucky who? Did you get …? And what of his God-given right to be depressed if he wants to be? Hi, I’m Lucky … but not today.
Just goes to show the importance of a well thought-through given name. If only so one wouldn’t waste any of that precious taxpayer-financed law-making time. And as my brain got closer and closer to running at full speed, I realized individual human beings aren’t the only ones in need of a stable identity. It’s very probably in everyone’s best interest that likewise, music bands knuckle down and meticulously brood over their brand before settling for it. After all, it wouldn’t be the first time, a band gets launched by a record label only on the condition of creating an alias.
Therefore, to prevent is better than to cure, I always say. Granted it’s no easy task for most ordinary mortals. So, in guise of a voluntary contribution to the world of music, I tried to distill some guidelines, tips and tricks if you will, that might or might not assist fresh new talent in settling on a suitable band name.
A Full Proof 7 step plan
Consult a Band Name Generator
No sound but the wind whistling through your empty head and dead tumbleweeds whirling over the mental planes of inspiration. That’s what you’d call an inspiration block. You’re feeling desperate. Well so was I as I was pondering over the question: If I were to be in a rock band, how would I baptize it? Desperate times call for desperate measures. This probably being one of the worst ideas I’ve had in years, aside from starting this blog, I consulted some band name generators. I could have sworn my PC-cam was off but no kidding, one of the names that sprouted out of the generator was ‘Frequently Overfed’. Moreover, this was the only generated name that didn’t include my optional key-word ‘snork’. Thus, despite it’s slightly over-revealing character, I decided to adopt it as the foundation of my band-name-to-be.
2. Find a Field of Interest
Anyone can turn on a band-name generator. In my case it revealed an aspect of physical appaerance. But we all know looks aren’t everything, are they? (No they’re NOT). Tell us something about who you really are. What triggers you? For example, lots of bands seem to take a distint intrest in aviation. Say Led Zeppelin, Jet, Jefferson Airplaine, Airbourne and Aerosmith. Others have pronounced their attraction to biology in general and fauna or flora in specific like the Beatles, Bloodhound Gang, Cranberries, Scorpions and the unfortunate Cage the Elephant. Others still, mention titles with regard to royalty like Queen, Kings of Leon, Royal Blood and QOTSA.
All of these bands seem to be paying homage to a field of interest. Either that or they are publicly admitting their fondness towards one of their high school teachers. At least that’s what the Billy Bob‘s of Lynyrd Skynyrd did. Me, I never ran hot for one of my teachers. The only thing I can admit to is having a soft-spot for the inhabitants of the Animal Kingdom. And since my first encounter was one with a member of the canine tribe, I’ll settle for a doggy-styled bandname. I’m looking for a denomination here that really strikes .. Well, I’ll be a monkey’s uncle, did you know the K-9 was also a prototype missile? And what better way to make an impact than with a missile. I present to you : ‘Frequently Overfed K-9’.
Wait, hold your horses. Don’t cry victory just yet. Let’s go over a couple more pointers and pitfalls first.
3. Lose ‘THE’
Nothing more frustrating than alphabetically classifying your music archives, only to come to the conclusion that almost half of the bands get assigned to the letter T. I used to be able to dodge this inconvenience by manually correcting the order of cassettes, LP’s or CD’s in my rack. Music repositories like Spotify or Soundcloud however are not so keen on indulging in my reorganizing-frenzies. So please, lose the T-word. If you want to emphasis your identity, figure out a jingle or throw in a good catch phrase.
4. Check the possibility to abbreviate
A f*ck-load of bands are doin’ it so why shouldn’t you? Case in point : AC/DC, REM, UFO, WASP, INXS, NOFX, MGMT, AFI. Point made: it’s nifty, it’s catchy, in short, it sticks.
On the other hand, be heedful. You don’t want to disemvowel without some premeditation. It still has to make some sense. Try to find your picture-perfect letter pattern that mirrors your band identity. Much like my ‘Frequently Overfed K-9’, aka ‘FOK’. That’s ‘Fill Or Kill’, all or nothing, get with it or get ye ol’ middlefinger. Nifty, right?
5. Throw in some Punctuation Marks
Want to stand out? This is the proper way to do it! No one pronounces Mötorhead or Bleu öyster Cult any different with or without their imprinted marks. However an umlaut, slash or hyphen are definite eye catchers in a line-up. Hence, I’ll make a small amelioration as well. Behold (
the) ‘Frequently Överfed K-9’ aka ‘FÖK’.
6. Check the ‘show-and-tell’ factor
A picture says more than a thousand words. If you want people to talk about you, you have to spark their imagination. It’s a bit like reading the book before you go see it’s movie. The picture you get in your mind is always much more enticing in comparison with the picture on the white-screen afterwards. Which might give you the perfect teaser to lure your prospect audience. If not, it always comes in handy on a quiz night. Like my daughter’s impersonation of ‘Alice in Chains’.
7. Check for availability
Last but not least, ever so cliché but ever so true, check availability. Don’t put your head in the ground when you find out another band has already taken a claim out on your name. You don’t want to be sued for plagiarism nor do you want your prospect-audience to get confused. As cool as you thought your name was, if someone else beat you to it, lose it. Even in case of mere similarity. I promise, it will only backfire on you. What you want to be a bull’s eye will be reduced into a ricochet …