I have good news, and I have bad news.
The good news is that I have taken on several additional writing and consulting assignments, and my time has filled up very nicely with paying gigs.
The bad news is that I’m unlikely to maintain the two-to-three-essays-per-week schedule that I’ve kept to very well for several months now.
Here’s my plan: one of my typical essays each Monday, with occasional bursts of manic musings at other times. So check in at the start of the week for the post and then a few times during the week for intermittent supplements and the comment train (which, after all, you usually make more entertaining than the story itself).
One of my recent client assignments was to write about the origins of rock band names, which prompted last Wednesday’s quiz on a related subject. My research led me to some interesting factoids that I didn’t include in my assignment—or in that quiz—so I’ll share them with you today.
I was disappointed that some of my favorite rock bands (including Rush, Genesis, and The Police) did not have wicked cool stories behind their names. But some of these you might not know:
- Collective Soul. Singer and guitarist Ed Roland apparently read the phrase in Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead and ran with it.
We should be thankful that he didn’t use another quote from the book, like “You were not born to be a second-hander.” I think you’ll agree: “Second-Handers” would be, quite simply, a crappy band name.
- Wang Chung. The band originally went by “Huang Chung,” which is a transliteration of “yellow bell,” the term given to ancient Chinese music’s foundation tone; it also was the name of a rationalistic naturalist Chinese thinker 2,000 years ago.
On the group’s Website, singer Jack Hues says, “It originally came from looking for a name that would wrong-foot everybody, which it did.” And it created the most bizarre verb in the English language through the lyric “Everybody wang chung tonight.”
- Anthrax. No good story about the origin; “anthrax” was just a cool sounding word from biology class.
But after the anthrax attacks in the United States, the band issued a press release in October 2001 joking that the group would change its name to “Basket Full of Puppies.” Here’s an excerpt:
“In light of current events, we are changing the name of the band to something more friendly, "Basket Full Of Puppies". Actually, just the fact that we are making jokes about our name sucks…. Before the tragedy of September 11th the only thing scary about Anthrax was our bad hair in the 80’s and the “Fistful Of Metal” album cover. Most people associated the name Anthrax with the band, not the germ. Now in the wake of those events, our name symbolizes fear, paranoia and death. Suddenly our name is not so cool. To be associated with these things we are against is a strange and stressful situation. To us, and to millions of people, it is just a name. We don't want to change the name of the band, not because it would be a pain in the ass, but because we hope that no further negative events will happen and it won't be necessary. We hope and pray that this problem goes away quietly and we all grow old and fat together.”
- Old and Fat Together. Now THAT would be a great band name.