Howard's Blog

This is Howard C. Park's blog. Interests: live music, simulations and modeling, languages, iPod, social and business networking, systems thinking, history of science, management, BBQ, trivia, good coffee, organizational learning, traveling, personal histories.

Friday, May 06, 2005

I've played in a lots of bands. Here are some of the names (in somewhat chronological order):
Theory of Sax
Blue Kiss
Mirror Image
Po and Co
Pieces of Eight
The Hop-Ons
Bee Stung Lips
Fouth Wind
The Martin Luthers
Less Than Seven
What's with the numbers? Dunno. If you've ever tried to come up with a "band name", you know how much of a black hole that can be. Two of the band names deserve a quick "how did you end up with THAT name" stories.

Bee Stung Lips, which seems to have a life after we've stopped playing, was the renamed Hop-Ons. Boy, we're glad of that fateful day at Pizarria Unos (now some sushi place). We were SO BAD at coming up with band names, we decided to send it out for a market study. A list was created with the help of the waitress, bus boys, and other patrons. We credit our friend the bartender for including Bee Stung Lips on the list. The list went from 50, to 20, to 3, then a winner was selected.

An alternate version of the story has us sitting at a bar and the bartender going through his bar book alphabetically until Eric Garland passed out somewhere along the B's.

Less Than Seven is a Christian-influenced band, so many people venture a guess behind the enigmatic name. OK, here's the real story. A group of folks go to an all-you-can-eat Chinese buffet. The bill comes back, and someone does the math. "It's about seven bucks a piece." The bill is reviewed by a college student on a budget. "No, no, no... It's less than seven, less than seven." Yes, the band was named after the price of the all-day buffet at Lucky Hunan.
|| hcpark, 3:23 PM


I love my Bee Stung Lips CD's -- especially Chatterboxing -- but I have to admit that I have never been a fan of the name. It sounds more like a Industrial-Goth-Punk-Metal band than an upbeat college band. But what do I know. By chance is there a BSL anniversary box set in the works?
Anonymous Steve E., at 2:01 PM  
I REALLY liked "Sober."
Anonymous Sarah, at 12:31 PM  
Thx for the comments. Yeah, many classified the CD under punk/thrash, then threw it away when they thought the wrong CD was in the jewel case.

Sober is a fun song. We were a tame band. This song celebrates that geeky gee-I-wish-I-were-cool-enough-to-get-drunk aura that the band seemed to project.
Blogger hcpark, at 10:36 PM  
Ah, the Hop-Ons. I suppose that makes the name of the first BSL recording I got, "Hop on Pop" (a tape!) rather clever, but I didn't get it at the time. Or perhaps the band was named in reference to this pun in the first place.

For what it's worth (not to spread rumors, but rather to confirm the former spreading of rumors, as it were), I had heard the second version of the naming of Bee Stung Lips. The story I'd heard was that the whole band went to a bar and asked the bartender to serve up interestingly named drinks that would be suitable for a band name. Eventually, they came to said drink and name. The implication was sort of that the name was a compromise between interestingness and the amount of alcohol needed to get to that name, but it was never clear how many other names were tried.

So what's the story behind the Martin Luthers? I don't know about them, but I have a vague recollection of a lady who worked at Fondren library (who I talked to in lieu of studying) being in a band of the same name.

Speaking of Rice bands, Burnt Toast named its first and only album in a manner not unlike that of Less Than Seven. All of the band members were enamored of Mexican (and Mexicanesque) food -- so much so that we wrote a song about Montrose taqueria La Jaliscience ("Burrito Hell"). One day, the horns were recording their solos in the studio, and the rest of the band was getting frustrated, hanging out near the console and thinking about the studying they weren't getting done. The horns hadn't prepared any solos and so were composing (and sometimes flubbing) things on the fly, which seemed like a waste of studio time. At one point, someone noted that, in Taco Bell terms, we were wasting "a burrito every 40 seconds", and so our album was named. I don't know what burritos cost back then (certainly less than now), but that seems like pretty cheap studio time, in retrospect.

The naming of Burnt Toast itself is perhaps less interesting (although what's less than zero, you might ask). We had a show coming up and the venue needed something to put on a flyer. Beers were brought to the practice space (something that always ended poorly) and so began the group circle of brainstorming. The nadir of ideas came with the suggestion (possibly fueled by frustration, fatigue, and of course alcohol) of naming us "Plaid Badge of Frabbage", this being an amalgam of the ideas that 1) ska and plaid had something to do with each other 2) assonance was good in a name (cf. Led Zeppelin, Def Leppard) 3) a corruption of the term frottage. Heavens! Ultimately, we decided to call ourselves The Members, until someone checked the KTRU record collection the next day and found out that such a band already existed, much to my delight, since I suspected that other band members only liked the name because of its sexual connotation.

Then we hastily named ourselves after the title of one of our songs, which I always thought was a bit backwards.

For what it's worth, I always liked "City Song", even if it stuck out stylistically. You can't beat the Big Build-Up.

On a side note, I'm constanly amused when I see Eric Garland's name pop up in articles about MP3s and file-sharing. He seems to have found a nice name for himself.
Blogger Todd Stadler will consume all blogs!, at 7:50 PM  

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