What’s in a name?

There are lots of different approaches to coming up with a band name. It’s not as easy as you would think. I read an article about it once in New Zealand Musician magazine. It was entertaining but if you were in the process of thinking up a band name I think it would’ve been confusing. Like when you’re trying to buy a bike and the salesman is a mechanic and he tells you waayyyy too much information and you just decide to buy a scooter instead.

So when Glen and I got together several years ago, even before we knew the real nature of our romantic relationship, we had to come up with a band name. I know there’s cool little things on facebook etc where you put in your first initial and your first pets name and it comes up with some zany/quirky/dodgy name but in reality there’s a lot to consider.

Is it intelligible and memorable? If your band name is too long or confusing, no one is going to remember it. For instance, the original name we came up with because we had a gig booked but no name, was Leddfoot. Which was okay, but as you’ve already figured out, it sounds like a hybrid of Led Zeppelin and Chicken Foot. And no-one could remember the name.

Does it reflect the music you play? Satan’s Foreskin might be okay for a (insert type here) metal band but probably not going to get you many gigs if you play folk/country.

In our case we also had to think about the fact that we were starting over in a sense. Although all 3 current members of our band have played for the same band in the past (at different times), the direction we were heading and the type of music was fresh, new and exciting. A point I brought up (no more than around 64 times) was that to go under the name of Glens previous 80s band “Unrestful Movements” would give us instant recognition. There are still fans around of that music and besides, Jayrem had only just re-released all three of their EPs on CD. Free exposure! Free marketing! I cited examples such as Head Like a Hole who had been out of action for several years but came back where they left off, and numerous other bands who have only one original member. As much as Glen and men in general love to hear their significant other drone on and on about one topic and never tire of it, I eventually accepted his point. Which was that Unrestful Movements were initially mainly a punk band. And that although we do play his original material from that era, we also have the freedom to play more diverse material. Basically he just put his foot down.

A broken wrist, 2 operations and 2 years later we were ready to get back out playing again. Grant willing I will tell the story of the broken wrist, Tauranga hospital and the Electric Ladyland connection in another contribution. By then I wasn’t convinced about the name Leddfoot. I thought we should come up with something more catchy, more us. After going over and over it (again, a period of time Glen must have relished every night coming home from work), I decided we should sit down and not get up until we had decided on a name. Tonight’s the Night!! (..it’s gonna be alright, cause I love you girl, ain’t no body gonna stop us now….) sorry, I digress.

We started with what sort of music we play. We agreed we played a very wide range of music but that our focus was on giving every thing we have, and not putting too many bits in, sometimes it’s more about what you choose to leave out. Then we discussed how easy it was to play together and how we all felt comfortable around each other, could almost predict what the others were going to do next. And if we had an idea about something, it was okay to suggest it without anyone getting offended. We listen to each other and try out different things. We wanted a name that was memorable and easy to remember. After awhile, and before we had actually tried thinking up names; we were still conceptualising, Glen said, “We need………we need a name that’s……..that’s……….Dead Simple.” Then he looked at me and he said, “Now there’s a good name.” And we high fived.

We asked our son Jacob if we could use his art work for our band. Our idea was to change the art work on posters/ T-shirts so that it didn’t become tiresome but to keep the same style. Jacob agreed we could if he got paid. A sum of money exchanged hands and he gets a cut each time a T-shirt is sold.

The reaction to our name varies. I was relating a story about phoning for a gig, to Glen’s Mum. I was at the part where I say, “Hi it’s Lara here from the band Dead Simple.” She stopped me and said, “I don’t think you should say that!” I said, “What?”, she said, “That you’re Dead Simple!!”

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Playing with friends in Tihoi

Lara

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