Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Potential Band Names: Chief Bender

I think every boy goes through certain stages on what they desire their profession to be when they grow up.

First is wishing to become an astronaut or a baseball player. This stage usually lasts until they struggle with long division or are relegated in Little League to fielding the pitching mound while wearing a batting helmet, as their coach pitches to the more "talented" mentally retarded kid who needs a walker to get down to first base (No, this didn't happen to me. My coach only made me wear a jersey that said "Yes, I'm only seven years old but it's already painfully obvious that I have no fucking talent," but since the type was so small I had to read it to the crowd before each game). They soon realize there is about a one in a billion chance they'll actually make it to NASA or the majors so they quit after a few seasons of humiliation.

Second the recently disillusioned boy aspires for a more practical profession held by someone they admire, which is usually their teacher. This second stage lasts until they realize that most of their teachers are lonely, depressed, jaded adults who don't make shit for money and spend 40 years trying to teach U.S. history to room after room of asshole 16 year olds who would rather be burning down in their friends S-10 than learning about Woodrow Wilson and his League of Nations bullshit, (see Mr. Rasmovitch, I did learn something, now take the gun out of your mouth and go fantasize about that girl on the volleyball team in your Current Events seminar who wore those tight volleyball shorts to class 6 months ago. You've earned it).

The third stage finds a boy taking one last stab at stardom by going out and purchasing an instrument in hopes of forming a rock band with their friends. This usually happens after the boy sees some monster-looking musician/classmate get some amazing pull because they can emote while playing the same three chords and have a serious looking, forlorn demeanor while doing so. This stage ends after the boy realizes how much work is required to master the guitar and after they sit back, reevaluate things and ponder, that even in the light of all the potential tail waiting for them when they become a good enough guitarist to perform a "Pink Floyd song in the high school talent show, do they really want to become "that guy"?

By the end of the third stage, the boy realizes he is off to college and actually has to choose a career path. In a panic they decide to get a completely worthless history degree and flounder in school for four years. After graduating they try their hand at a number of professions available to history majors, namely acting as a drug mule or a gigolo, and after that fails they apply for law school.

Hang on this has a point and I'm getting to that I never went through stage three when I was growing up. I just jumped from disillusioned to deeply disillusioned with no hope for success in between. There have been brief moments where my friends and I have thought about forming a band, but then we realize we have nothing in common. My friend T.J. likes hip-hop, my friend Alex is a fan of double-bass drums and grind-core/spazz metal (like The Locust), my old roommate Mike is an emotionless robot incapable of understanding or liking any kind of music and I'm a fan of indie rock and garage bands. So from the beginning there was mounting tension over what genre of music we should enter and then we realized that none of us even knew how to play an instrument. However this lack of musicianship has not deterred me from trying to think up really kick-ass names for a rock band, just in case a band forms around my bed one night and I arise as the egotistical front man with complete creative control and dibs on any and all potential groupies, (Don't think this won't happen, I remember reading somewhere that The Rolling Stones were formed in this manner).

So what makes a good name for a band? In my opinion it needs to strike a balance between sounding bad-ass/catchy, pretentious and, this is key, contain a reference to a person of some minor historical significance from the early 20th century. A perfect example of this is Franz Ferdinand. I remember the first time I heard of Franz Ferdinand I thought, "Hey, I recognize that name from (one of my aforementioned useless history classes), that name actually has a pretty cool ring to it, man I bet those guys are assholes, they probably went to art school or something." So how would I achieve a similar result without using the name of an assassinated European Prince? By turning my attention to my other historical passion. Old-timey baseball.

Band Name #1: Chief Bender: Bender, whose real first name was Charles but who hailed from a time when derisive and openly racist nicknames were not only accepted but embraced, was a Hall-of-Fame pitcher for the Philadelphia A's from 1903-1917 and was a member of the Ojibwa tribe. I think his name satisfies the three prong test I laid out in the preceding paragraph, (that last sentence read like a hold in a court case, somewhere Judge Learned Hand is nodding in approval. I mean if he wasn't dead and took to reading fledgling sports blogs). First it's just a bad-ass sounding name, end of story. Second its pretentious because only one percent of my assumed fan base would be baseball historians and immediately get the reference while the other 99% would think I was making fun of Indians and their penchant for booze. Finally Bender was a historical footnote in the early 20th century due to his proficiency in the game of "rounders".

See teenagers and other aspiring musicians of today it's that simple. There's no need for some ridiculous, contrived band name, like Panic! at the Disco, whatever the hell that means, or some lazy The Strokes/Killers/Bravery/Hives/Vines/etc./etc. I'm providing this service to you, as someone who missed out on an important stage of his development, (outside of puberty), because I want to see you make it, and all I ask in return is 100% of profits, royalties, and complete control of your recording catalog. That sounds fair to me.

This is the first in a series of potential band names. The other posts won't be nearly as long because I won't have the long introduction. However if you readers hate this idea, I'll stop doing them and the list I have created will be tucked in my suit pocket and buried with me never to see the light of day again. Let me know in the comments.

1 comment:

Dr Huxtable said...

I'd like to see the rest of the list at some point, so please don't give it up.