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Every kid at some stage dreams of being in a band, if only for a fleeting moment, and that moment usually begins with The Name, and that’s reasonable, a good place to start. Mine was ‘The Bedsprings’, I know, why am I telling you this? Maybe so you know that while I slag off everyone else’s, we both know that mine was really crap.
We live in times when commercial forces tell us that branding is vital to the success and survival of any endeavour and the name has got to be part of that, but take ‘The Beatles’, three syllables (or two), I know they were simpler times but sharp, sexy, cool? I don’t know, maybe it was all about the music. Or U2, which was meant to be graphic, sharp, modern but some Spanish speakers refer to them as ‘Ooh Dose’ and like them just as much as we do. ‘The Cocteau Twins’ were a threesome and there must be a dozen of them in ‘The Alabama Three’?
Much easier for the soul-baring singer/songwriting types’ like James Vincent Mc Morrow or John Spillane who can just jump out of bed in the morning, perfectly formed and ready-branded to take on the world, whose parents were nice to them for good reasons or not. But what about the likes of ‘Bob Dylan’ who choose to use a ‘nom de plume’ – where do you even begin to start with that one? Then there was the likes of Crosby, Stills and Nash, three very big egos driven by individual success and excess who later had to include Neil Young into their foray, AKA ‘CSNY’.
The Name can, or not, indicate the predominant sex of a band like ‘The Dixie Chicks’ or ‘All Our Exes Live In Texas’ who are from Australia, which adds another dilemma to the conundrum! It can indicate the type, style or genre of music played by the band, legend has it that to less than hilarious results when ‘Big Tom and the Mainliners’ toured the states the choo-choo trains and country music implied in the name didn’t translate state-side and the audiences drew a very different, addled, type of mainliner. Which brings me to The Redneck Manifesto, maybe in a Kings of Leon type of way, or Transmission Club, freaks!
Names like The Vinegar Creek Constituency or Crow Black Chicken conjure up a particular image in my head, right or wrong I’m just going to have to go and check them out when they are in Clonakilty for the International Guitar Festival in a fortnight, I’m so excited, particularly as there is no picnic for me this year. Wyvern Lingo, The Membranes, Soothsayers, Ulaid, ooSe, I don’t know, regardless of what you think of the music when it comes to names AC/DC nailed it.