Tuesday, July 19, 2005

The Name Game

Here's a limmerick I wrote in ninth grade English class:
With Ron on drums and Mike on bass
And me on rhythm guitar,
And George who sings while Rock plays lead
The Plague is going far.
The plague was my first Piscataway band. I moved from Plainfield, NJ to Piscataway, NJ in 1966. The Plainfield bands all had a hard musical edge.....Stones, Animals, Yardbirds etc. The Piscataway bands were more instrumental, lighter......Ventures, Jan and Dean, Surfaris. My job was clear.....conversion. We met somewhere in the middle. I always dug that name....The Plague. Our drummer's father volunteered to get us five hundred business cards. Oooooweeeee!!!! One day at practice the dad showed up with the package. And there they were....five hundred band cards with "The PlagueS" emblazoned on them. "No!!....the Plague....not Plagues." He didn't get it, but we went through them quick enough and he got it right the next time. The best of intentions.
I think a band name is important. In a word or two you should get an idea of what the band's about. By the time I was with the plague at the the ripe old age of thirteen, I'd already been through The Esquires, Bobby and the Bandals, Teddy and the Teabaggers and a few that didn't make it to the name stage. I was never in a band with a name that I could get %100 behind. Just too damn particular. Some later band names were Society's Child, The Best of General Milz, Wichita Straw, Freewheelin', Sundown, Firecreek, Whiskey Lane, Freight Line, Sidewinder, Walking Wounded, The Movers.....et al. One of my favorite names was my drummer buddy's band, The Split Worm Hibernation Day Band. Ahhhh,the 60's were a wonderful era for monickers. All these names convey the era or style of music/attitude......no? If they don't....they should. For the last year I've been doing a solo gig in addition to band stuff. It's weird seeing your name on a poster, marquee, in the paper........especially if you're not a look at me kind of guy. I used to hide under the table when "Happy Birthday" was directed at me. Frightening!!!!
But the playing's what it's all about. For fun or profit, being able to pick up a guitar and noodle is ..........spiritual.....contemplative........ fun. I also realized early on that girls pay a little more attention to the musicians. Why everybody doesn't do this is beyond me. Of course, then I'd be out of a job.

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