So, our band is trying to come up with a name. We have a show in about three weeks, and lots of ideas have been thrown out, many of which sound great for about fifteen seconds, and then are met with the postmodern monosyllabic “meh.” It’s getting tiring, because none of them truly hit the ball out of the park, and I’m as much to blame as anybody. I always used to get some freshman city desk editor to write the headline for my newspaper columns because I hated doing it so much, and this requires the same skill set.
Here’s the big problem: words are so evocative that almost any seemingly-innocuous name can alarm the hairs on the back of your neck. On Tuesday, after overhearing a lady describing her two Jack Russell terriers at a magazine rack, I thought “Broken Coat” would be a great band name. One day later, however, I realized it sounded like a lonely emo high school group.
And so we look to our childhood for names that made us feel good when we were six, but they’re all copyrighted, and besides, pretty much every geological layer of our nostalgia has been ruined by excessive digging. I blame the internet for ruining our memories. Talking about the minutiae of our pasts – “hey, do you remember…” – used to be so divine, but now, it’s all on YouTube and there are entire websites devoted to shit like Spirographs and Spokey Dokes.
I beseeched my band to find a name from our youth “that hasn’t been through the ironic meatgrinder,” and for about five minutes, they wanted to name the band Ironic Meatgrinder.
I miss the unspoken, occasional memories that flash out from our childhood. I loved it when we would sit on the porch at the Purple House and talk about bands we loved and toys we played with. There was an “undiscovered country” about those memories, and it allowed us personal access and a shared history. Now all of that crap is plastered everywhere, about two clicks away from a Google search term.
I can’t talk about my childhood anymore without being paralyzingly self-conscious. Nostalgia only works when it’s tenuously out of reach. And it’s hell on band names.