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Aussie artists
Welcome to Living in the Land of Oz

Howzat! Archive - January 19th 2011

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Sarah from Carlton was recently moved to write a letter to Inpress: "What's going on with the abundance of bands currently getting around with 'owl' in their name?" she asked. "Just this week I've read or heard about Owl City, Owl + Moth, Owl Eyes and Breathe Owl Breathe. How does this kind of thing happen? Enough with the owls!" As Shakespeare asked, What's in a name? Sometimes, band names are confusing: there's Dead Letter Chorus and Dead Letter Circus. There's The Beautiful Few, The Beautiful Girls, The Chosen Few and The Devoted Few. And everyone would think that Amy Meredith was a female solo artist.

Howzat! loves big, simple band names - they look great on a poster and they're easy to spell. Most people can spell AC/DC. Jet might be the perfect name. We also love INXS (even though a lot of people thought it was "Inks"). Asked for his favourite band name, Neil Rogers, the host of RRR's The Australian Mood, nominates Turd. "They were a band of young guys based in Werribee in the early to mid '90s," Neil explains. "It showed a good sense of humour, given the sewage treatment plant located nearby." Premier booking agent Pat Delves says, "I've always loved the band name Hot Hot Heat. It immediately catches your attention and piques interest enough to want to at least have a curious listen." Venue booker Neil Wedd - who's booked just about every Australian band - loves People With Chairs Up Their Noses ("it's silly"), This Is Serious Mum ("silly") and British India ("sense of intrigue"). Sarah-Jane Wentzki, who performs as Princess One Point Five, says, "As a rule, I don't play favourites, but I do think that my top two band names would be Broken Social Scene and Made For Chickens By Robots. The former because with a name like that, I was pleasantly surprised they weren't overrated. Also, it's very evocative of a time and place. Made For Chickens is one of the cleverest names I've heard. Why? I don't know! And, more importantly, I don't care! I just like it, it rolls off the tongue so easily, and robots are cool. It makes me laugh out loud, and that's good enough, methinks. Great music, too." As Neil Rogers adds, "Sometimes the band's music influences your thoughts on their name. For example, Died Pretty, Kings of The Sun, Painters and Dockers, Huxton Creepers, The Stems, Sunnyboys great bands and music, hence you think the name is also good."

They got death threats in Melbourne and were heckled in Newcastle. Who would have thought a band name could cause so much trouble? But, then, The Bon Scotts did name themselves after an Aussie icon. And their sound is more twisted folk than raucous rock. "It started as a joke," lead singer Damien Sutton tells Howzat! "Every band coming out at the time was calling themselves 'The something or others' and dressing up like rock stars in tight branded jeans and ripped designer shirts. Also, no one rocked like Bon Scott - when you see his crooked smile and his eyes light up you know what music is meant to be; we try and maintain that fun and energy." Does it annoy the band that they have to explain they're not an AC/DC covers band? "It doesn't annoy us, and I think it would be a little presumptuous if it did - we did name our band after one of music's greatest icons. Thankfully, we're getting to the stage where we have to explain it less and less, but we have had a few people come to our shows expecting an AC/DC tribute band."

"There are so many band names that are terrible yet don't seem to impact their career," Pat Delves says, "Live, Bush, Matchbox 20, Goo Goo Dolls ... We should give an honorable mention to LA metal group Poopfist. But the worst band name surely has to go to Train. I mean, was Car taken? How about Truck? Bike?" Neil Rogers hates the band name The Missing Beaumont Children. "Not funny at all. Three young Adelaide children who disappeared in 1966 and have never been found. Not funny to trade on someone else's misery." Sarah-Jane suggests Vaginal Carnage. "Not because I think it's the worst band name, but just because I want to say it. It is what it is and, more importantly, it's a great way of getting yourself excused from conversations you don't want to participate in. Just blurt it out at random intervals and get yourself ejected from almost anywhere. So I guess this, in itself, actually makes it kind of good. Hmmm, perhaps not. Honestly, I think the worst band names aren't necessarily the most offensive, but the ones that just don't try. Anything starting with 'The' is usually a sure sign of little to zero imagination and just plain laziness." But the beauty of a band name can be in the eye and ear of the beholder. "As far as I can figure it, sometimes good is bad, and bad is oh so right," Sarah-Jane says, "and what makes a good or bad band name is altogether as elusive and undefinable a concept as the music itself. Now, as for that band Princess One Point Five I mean, who was the idiot who thought that one up? And what does it even mean?"


Westgarth Talking D. ROGERS
Okay Sydney, You Beat Me NIC DALTON

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