Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Rock Band Names Are Obvious - and Not So

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Rock Band Names Are Obvious - and Not So

Article excerpt

WITH IDENTICAL twins Dwight and Dwayne Bosman fronting the Bosman Twins, it's easy to figure out how the St. Louis jazz duo got its name. Same goes for local bands such as Fairchild (named after lead vocalist Connie Fairchild), the Ralph Butler Band and the Stan Fornaszewski Big Band. Let's be honest, who would dream up Stan Fornaszewski if he hadn't been saddled with that one since birth?

But what about bands such as The Sun Sawed in 1/2, Sons of Hoffa, Burnt Nervends, Doc Terry & the Pirates and the Rockin' Luckys, to name just a few? Do these bands' names have some special significance? Are band members trying to make a statement? Or does the word or words just fit?

Michael Christopher, a local country act, is headed by a guy named Michael Christopher Schultz. But does Michael Schultz sound like a country act to you?

"Probably the most important thing is to make sure no other band in the country has your name," says Peter Carson, who manages nearly a dozen St. Louis area bands, including Suave Octopus, Pale Divine and PM.

"And I do think a name has to express, to some extent, what the band is about. If a band is named the AK-47s, you wouldn't expect it to play nice folksy peace songs."

Most band names come about serendipitously or as the result of a private joke among band members or from some life experience. In the case of Suave Octopus, a band that plays alternative, original music, Carson says "you can conjure up anything you want, but the name doesn't mean anything. Band members just liked the way suave and octopus sounded together." The name of the alternative band, Judge Nothing, means just that. It's like a political statement without being too political.

A lot of people think PM stands for the initials of lead singer Pete Mayer. "But the letters mean absolutely nothing," adds Carson.

Kristine Young chose her band's name, Nov. 9th, because it was the birthday of a boy with whom she went to grade school. "He had this sort of crush on me and would show it by beating me up," she explains. "I saw this as a symbol to describe where my music comes. The idea that art comes from pain."

Plenty of local bands seem to have literary roots. The Heaters took its name from '40s slang for a gun. The term was made famous by Damon Runyan, who colorfully wrote about gangsters and their girlfriends.

Doc Terry & the Pirates comes from a cartoon strip started in 1934, Terry and the Pirates. "My real name is Terry," says band leader Terry Adail, "and I used to keep up with the comic strip so the name just seemed to fit. The first gig I did, the man who hired the band, he put the Doc on there."

The bluesy Rockin' Luckys got its name from a Memphis disc jockey in the '40s and '50s. Give Her a Lizard was inspired by the nickname of the father of three band members. Rich Schwartz's sister, Marie, calls their father Gizzard P. …

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