Before you send that press release, think about what you are calling yourself.
As a music journalist, I am inundated by requests from bands to review their latest effort or their live show. Because St. Louis has a large musical community and more than a handful of bands doing their very best to make it, I can be selective in the choice of who I wish to put pen to paper for. Not that I am a musical snob by any means; I have a very open musical mind, and love several different types of music. So what makes me have the desire to write about a band? Well, first off—and, I think, most importantly—is your group’s moniker.
What an act decides to call themselves is one key to success…97% of the time. Your name should be creative, distinct, and easily remembered. This will be your label for your entire career with said band, so why name yourself something that not only does not attract the right kind of attention, but sounds like you gave it no thought at all? If you look at musical history, especially in the rock genre, the labels on the most successful acts are simple, memorable…and printable in magazines and on marquees. Having encountered acts donning names that are really offensive or just plain ridiculous, I shake my head and ask myself, “Dude! Who named your band?” Names like The FuckUps, The Clits, Armpit, Barnyard Slut, Dickless, and many more are not labels that entice me to check out your music. Indeed, they make me want to ignore these types of artists completely.
What possesses a group of artists—who have come together for a common goal of entertainig the masses—to offend listeners from the very beginning? Will they garner any attention? Yes; however, I cannot imagine the negative attention they are receiving is what they had in mind. For example, say you were a major artist choosing a smaller band for your opening act. Would bands like Electric Vomit or Henry Kissinger’s Tits be high on your list as an act to set the stage for you? Somehow, I think not. Unfortunately, I get requests from bands whose names I would never even say, let alone write about. I deny these requests because, quite frankly, there are intelligent, well-labeled acts out there truly worthy of coverage, and bands like The Inflatable Jesus Love Dolls or Public Enema do not make the cut.
My advice? Before you step out on stage, dragging the crowd through a set of unknown songs and trying to make an impression, think about what you are calling yourself. There is bona fide talent in this town—bands such as The Few, Tear Out the Heart, and Blackett—who can satisfy any rock style you like, and do it with flair. Their name reflects their style and sound—and, most importantly, is memorable, can be said in public, and may be blazed from marquees across the country.
But if your group’s name is something like Recktum, Schlong, or the like, do yourself a favor: Don’t quit your day job. | Marc Farr