Favorite

Words, June 4 

“HEADS OF STATE, 8:15 p.m., Miller Lite Amphitheater ***  Bobby Brown, Johnny Gill and Ralph Tresvant are performing again under one of the worst, most unimaginative band names in the history of bad band names.”

Every time I look at the Arkansas Times listings of musical groups performing around town I see names that are weird and unappealing. (“Weird” is not always the same thing as “imaginative,” incidentally.) What, I wondered, makes a grouping of familiar words such as “Heads of State” into one of the worst band names in the history of bad band names? For that matter, what makes any of these contemporary band names good or bad? They all seem pretty much of a piece, to me.

So I asked Lifestyle Editor Lindsey Millar. He told me.

“A good band name, much like the name of any work of art, is, above all, distinctive. It's one that's memorable, or today, one that's easily Google-able. Other possible good qualities: allusive, clever, funny, ironic, lyrical, revealing (as in sound or style). Heads of State sounds like a discarded name from the Doo-Wop era. And the idea behind it, that these former R&B bigwigs are convening for a summit-style concert tour, doesn't transcend a phrase with otherwise astoundingly dull connotations (government, old white men, the G10). * * * A bad band name could be too puny, ponderous, pretentious — there are endless negative qualities.  Local and regional metal bands are usually the worst offenders. Here's a lineup coming up at a local metal club: Wolves in the Throne Room, Krallice, Storm of Light and Deadbird.”

Local band names that Millar likes include The Moving Front (“Filled with all the right sort of connotations for a fiery, almost revolutionary post-punk band”), Ace Spade and the Whores of Babylon (“Over-the-top camp from a band obsessed with ‘50s and ‘60s camp”) and Smoke Up Johnny (“An allusion to a famous quote from ‘The Breakfast Club,' an ‘80s movie about high school stereotypes. The band probably thinks it's a funny line and identifies, at least somewhat ironically, with the high school ne'er-do-well who says it. Plus, they all smoke, usually while performing.”) 

 

Favorite

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Doug Smith

  • The L word and the C word

    I was excited to see the newspaper headline "Bielema liberal." "After all those neo-Nazis, we've finally got a coach who thinks right," I told friends. "I wonder if he belongs to the ADA."
    • May 1, 2014
  • Who's exasperated?

    Jim Newell was gripped by exasperation himself after reading this item in the business section. "Exacerbated" is the word the writer wanted, he sagely suggests.
    • Apr 24, 2014
  • We will run no race before it's ripe

    "What year would Oaklawn recognize as its 100th anniversary? After all, Oaklawn's advertising material is ripe with 'Since 1904,' but it's widely reported the first race wasn't run until 1905."
    • Apr 17, 2014
  • More »

Most Shared

Latest in Words

  • The L word and the C word

    I was excited to see the newspaper headline "Bielema liberal." "After all those neo-Nazis, we've finally got a coach who thinks right," I told friends. "I wonder if he belongs to the ADA."
    • May 1, 2014
  • Who's exasperated?

    Jim Newell was gripped by exasperation himself after reading this item in the business section. "Exacerbated" is the word the writer wanted, he sagely suggests.
    • Apr 24, 2014
  • We will run no race before it's ripe

    "What year would Oaklawn recognize as its 100th anniversary? After all, Oaklawn's advertising material is ripe with 'Since 1904,' but it's widely reported the first race wasn't run until 1905."
    • Apr 17, 2014
  • More »

Visit Arkansas

Little River County gears up for Sesquicentennial

Little River County gears up for Sesquicentennial

Historical entertainment planned for joint celebration of three Southwest Arkansas milestone anniversaries

Event Calendar

« »

February

S M T W T F S
  1 2 3 4
5 6 7 8 9 10 11
12 13 14 15 16 17 18
19 20 21 22 23 24 25
26 27 28  

Most Viewed

  • Arkansas voters know what they want

    With a surprisingly strong vote, 53 percent of Arkansas's voters said last Nov. 8 that they wanted to bring medical marijuana to the state.
  • Trump and Russia

    If you think about it, no wonder Donald Trump prefers the imaginative stylings of Fox News to the presidential daily briefing. He's pretty much the network's target demographic: a daffy old-timer with time on his hands.
  • Hating the media

    Presidents, with the exception of George Washington, never found much joy with the media, although Donald Trump is the first to use the scarily freighted words "enemies of the people."

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: Trump and Russia

    • By the by - two days after Trump talked about Sweden having problems - there…

    • on February 23, 2017
  • Re: Hating the media

    • I believe in a free press. And I always believed that the mainstream media was…

    • on February 23, 2017
  • Re: Trump and Russia

    • Well, I'm certainly glad that Gene Lyons finally describer himself perfectly: "a daffy old-timer with…

    • on February 23, 2017
 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation