What’s in a Name

Good day all,

Being a music fan is one of the great things about being alive and part of this world. As I have stated over and over again ad-nauseum, music has an effect on people’s lives and can sometimes change it for the better. It doesn’t matter what type of music one listens to as long as they enjoy it and can relate to it. As everyone knows and I have proudly stated numerous times I am a metal head from way back, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t appreciate the beauty of a song like “Operator” by Jim Croce. To me that is what music is, beautiful. The genre doesn’t matter because I am in awe of people who can create a sound from their talents and God-given gifts. I can’t do what they do, even if I could spend a lot of time with my bass guitar I still don’t believe I could achieve what a lot of other people can do in the music business.

OK, after all of that gushing about music let me tell you what my problem is, especially with metal, BAND NAMES! I know what your thinking “what the hell is he talking about?”, let me tell you. My wife and I were sitting around the other day and I happened to be checking my Twitter feed and found a tweet from a heavy metal website that read something like “Begging for Incest streaming…”. I looked at my wife chuckling and said check out this band name and told her the name and she said ” and you listen to that music!” I told her I most certainly do not listen to that band but her point wasn’t that I listen to that specific band but that a band with that name is considered heavy metal and that is the music I listen to. The unfortunate part for me is that my wife is right (man, that was hard to say), and I think it is OK for me to complain about this. Or, I am really old and have no business listening to metal anymore.

Here is the point, bands like Goatwhore (who I really like and who put out really great metal), Cattle Decapitation, Dying Fetus, and there are many more that I am intentionally not mentioning because I am offended by them, or I refuse to give them any credit. I am sure that metal is not the only genre of music that has bands with offensive or just plain stupid names but metal is the only one that the detractors of this music look at. How can a band consider being taken seriously with names like those above, and additionally how do they expect fans to talk about them? or buy their merchandise? I know that this is sounding like the ramblings of an old man who has lost touch with the music and the younger set, if you will, but really it is from a fan who is slightly embarrassed when asked to tell his neighbors when asked that he is listening to Goatwhore. For as screwed up as society is we still live in a moderately civilized one and as I get older and continue to have more responsibility my interaction with responsible adults continues to grow, and with that my responsibility to my family, so it is tough to be a metal fan when people associate it with the bands and the names mentioned above.

Again, let me say that I really like some of the music by the artists above, but I feel like I have to listen to it in my closet so I don’t bring some type of disapproval to me or my family. I am not trying to tell these bands to change anything they do or how they sound, all I am saying is maybe, even though I enjoy the music, I have to bow out of listening due to the sophomoric nature of their names. Sometimes it is just easier to say ” I am listening to Poison” than any of the other band’s in metal. At least if I get laughed at it is because they feel sorry for me and not because they think I am some kind of freak.

Once again, I am not trying to crap on anyone’s music, inspiration, direction, genre, or anything else. I am a firm believer that an artist has the right to do with their music as they see fit, if that includes having an offensive and repulsive band name then so be it. In the words of one of my son’s favorite characters Phineas of Phineas and Ferb “Rock and roll isn’t about books! It’s about letting go and having fun! Rock and roll is a way for you to tell the world how you feel.” , and if that is what the bands with these types of names are doing then Rock On! But know that I won’t be telling too many people I am listening to you, and I have a feeling I am not alone.

The song of the day today will be in honor of Dick Clark who passed away this past Wednesday. Dick, as the host and producer of American Bandstand had an enormous effect on music of all genres, but he was one of the few people, especially for the time, who would give hard rock/heavy metal acts a chance on his show. The list of bands that have appeared on American Bandstand is huge but some of the more metal acts that he had on his show included Aerosmith, Bon Jovi, Autograph, Iron Butterfly, KISS, Stryper, Y&T and many more. So in honor of Mr. DIck Clark today’s song of the day: http://youtu.be/0peut66huhs

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2 thoughts on “What’s in a Name

  1. I couldn’t agree with you anymore. It’s like bands today need a shock factor with their name. Either they don’t believe in their talent or record companies think – “That’s a metal name. Call yourself that.” I honestly don’t even pay attention to a band called Dying Fetus or Cattle Decapitation. That just sounds stupid to me. We need more names like Judas Priest (sounds dark and mysterious at the same time), Iron Maiden (goosebumps), Black Sabbath (puts you off a bit, but it is a great metal name). It’s not only metal though, bad names are running crazy through every genre of music today. I think I’ll start a country band and call it Drunken Wife Beater.

    Nice nod to Dick Clark. He will be missed.

    • I really don’t know where they come up with some of these names. They should all take a page out of thrash big four: Metallica (combination of metal and liquor), Megadeth (unique because of the spelling), Slayer (you know they are in your face thrash), Anthrax (almost changed name after 2001 attacks but stayed with it/unique at the time the band started). These bands knew how to choose a name. The problem with the names of the bands I mentioned is there is a reason that they chose those names, and for some a good reason, whether it is a political statement or some other social reason, but I just can’t see how they can be taken seriously even if they are for change.

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