Thursday, 27 March 2008

Name Of The Game

My dear friend Martin has been a very busy chap with his songwriting recently, and is in the process of putting a band together with which to inflict them upon the good citizens of Edinburgh (for starters - next stop Auchterarder!). Alas, he has been struck by the eternal quandary - what to call the damned thing?

My first response (being one of those conscripted for the project) was that, since he’s the front man, and has written all the material, maybe we should just go out under his name? This has, it must be said, worked perfectly well for a great many highly successful artists and their audiences. As a punter, you pretty much know what brand you’re getting (even if it is that inadvisable mid-career shift into Balinese folk-orientated yodelling that’s been the downfall of so many...), and I’ve not heard too many people complaining that Peter Gabriel’s / John Martyn’s / K.T. tunstall’s / even Katie Melua’s (the ultimate example of "The bland leading the band"...? oh yes, madam, had to work hard to get a gag that bad in, but always worth the effort) etc,etc backing musicians’ names and fizzogs weren’t plastered all over the gig poster/album cover/etc.

We ’backing musicians’ (c’mon, I’m a bass player, and don’t suffer from delusions of grandeur - I know my place! ) also tend not to be quite as ’pretty’ or otherwise appealing / ’interesting’ as the star attraction (i.e. we can nip off to the loo without being followed by photographers trying to catch a glimpse of us with our kecks round our ankles, busily snorting the rim-block...not that I’ve ever been involved in anything of that nature, goodness me, no ), so can have a long-term musical existence without the attendent loss of personal privacy. (Of course in my case, this is achieved by an almost complete absence of commercial ’success’. Or, in fact, any current recording/gigging profile at all. Me own fault for spawning progeny, I reckons...).

Another reasonable naming option would be to follow the jazz example, and go down the "Martin Lennon Trio / Quartet / Stonking Great Massively Expensive Band" route, although it’s not really appropriate for the rootsy / bluesy / dirt-under-yer-collar style of music. Which is a shame, because I had such high hopes for "The Martin Lennon Jolly Minstrel Three", I really did.

The trouble is, since he’s going to insist upon subsuming his identity within a group (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing - I like the first Tin Machine album, I really do! ), I’m not going to be much use to him when it comes to the name-calling - anything serious I try to come up with sounds either incredibly portentously idiotic, or simply totally genre-inappropriate...usually both. As a result, my ideas always collapse, rapidly, into the realms of unfit-for-purpose daftness and inanity - as you’re (inevitably - you probably guessed where this post was heading a while back, didn’t you?) about to find out.

Here, (in best Blue Peter tradition), are a few I made earlier that have been callously spurned and rejected (often by me, the instant after they leapt, unbidden, into my head ). In most cases it should be fairly obvious as to why:

"Age Before Beauty", "All Our Own Hair", "The Prostrate Prostates", "Sanatogen Supermen", "Moobs Alert", "Early-Bird Buffet Gigolos", "One Big Slipper" (in case there’s still somebody, somewhere in the world, who doesn’t know this gag, it’s a Billy Connolly routine which I’m sadly unable to provide a YouTube link for), "Shouting At The Radio", "Applied Gerontology Unit"...all disqualified for possibly being accurate descriptions of the physically ’mature’ nature of the band members...

Of course, it’s just going to be massively downhill from there...let’s start the next lot by going a little bit ’metal’ (although let’s be honest, it’s almost an un-parody-able genre, so one small addition to the canon should suffice):

"Demon Whores of the 13th Circle", "Slightly Soiled", "Your Cousin’s Old Enough" (a little too ’Country’..? ), "Braw Neeps" (a Scottish "Smashing Pumpkins" tribute band), "Spam Tackle" (as in the nearly-meat-like foodstuff, rather than vexatious junk email), "Portaloo Sunrise", "Fiddler At The Doors of Dusk", "Too Much Tongue (for your Mama)", "Accidental Mouthful of Frogspawn", "Koala Rampage"...I’ll stop there - it’s for the best.

N.B. All these names are, as far as I’ve been able to ascertain, free and available for anyone who wants ’em. Although you know that does mean you’re probably borderline certifiable, ok? I wonder what Martin will think of the great album title I’ve got for him - "The Sheep Stands Up On Leith Walk" ? Sounds like a winner to me...


Anonymous said...

Hmmm - if only all bassists knew their place ;-)

I'd best point out the below from a certain bassist/vocalist...

Just another day at the office to me, I don't know. The day before, I
spent with Tony Iommi and Ozzy doing lines and drinking beer. We were up
all night and Sabbath played before us at Cal Jam. I remember flying in
on the helicopter with Coverdale, looking down at the audience, and
Sabbath were on stage. We flew in there and...I don't mean to make this
sound grandiose, but I knew that show was going to be a great Glenn
Hughes moment. I just felt like I was born to play at events like this.
I was 22-years-old. I just felt, "You know - I feel real good today. And
I'm gonna go out there and I'm gonna give a go."
And you know, I think it was a really good statement and testament.


Andy Gilmour said...

"a great Glenn Hughes moment"