When it comes to choosing a name, some bands have it easy. That instantaneously catchy but meaningful label appears out of nowhere and sticks to the act and its members for good.
Who could forget a name like Meatloaf or Metallica? How about Kansas or Cannibal Corpse or-better yet-Snoop Dog and Sarin? (I wish they hadn't dissolved.) Then again, some performers just can't get it right. Beastie Boys as a band's name-is boring. The Journey only led so far (until the years of the hair bands came to an end) and the Dixie Chicks just seems plain childish. As a writer I have a love for words. I enjoy the way they flow and connect with one another. So it's no surprise the names musicians choose for themselves often fascinate me.
Obviously, I don't like plenty of them out there. I think Puff Daddy is better than P. Diddy. It seems somehow like a rip off. But I guess it makes sense for a performer who made his millions cloning and manipulating other people's music to tire of his somewhat original stage name and clone and manipulate it, too.
By now you are probably wondering where all of this is going. I don't really want to go on a rant here, but I recently talked to a band whose name seems, simply put, a minor stroke of brilliance.
I'm talking about the North Manchester-based Those Who Will Remain Nameless. I'm told by 17-year-old Chad Briner, the band's guitarist and vocalist, that the group took the name on the spur of the moment. They were playing a show at Manchester's Firehouse with the eclectic Portland, Oregon band Swords Project and they needed a name for themselves. It was June, and they'd only been playing together for about a month, Briner says. They hadn't yet chosen a name.
Swords Project vocalist and bassist Corey Flicken decided to help his musical compatriots out and named them very simply what they seemed at the moment, four guys who played music but didn't know what to call themselves. The band's bassist and vocalist Aaron Taylor tells me later that Nameless will probably change their name. I think for a moment that that's kind of sad. But who knows, maybe they'll come up with something even better.
Nameless, as it turns out ended up not being the opening act for the more established Swords Project. In fact, Briner says, Project opened up for Nameless. He and his Nameless pals - Rudy Rinearson on guitar, Taylor and Matt Ihnen, on drums - are planning another show with Swords (October 10 at the Firehouse). This time more than likely they will be the opening act.
Briner says Nameless play a "hard indie rock, ... I just like it because there are so many different styles in indie. The music is a lot more expressive than just straight up fast punk.."
That's something Taylor agrees with, sort of. "I don't know what it would be called as a genre," he says of the Nameless sound. "It's kind of hard core, but it's more complex than four-chord punk."
Perhaps Taylor and Briner, who started out playing in the now defunct punk band Perfect Thursday when they were in seventh grade, are trying to move away from punk with the new band.
"It's been a progression," Taylor says of the music.
Maybe getting away from punk is a good thing for the band. According to Briner the punk scene in the area "pretty much died" last year. "The Basement and the Art Factory closed," he says of some well-worn Fort Wayne punk venues. "A lot of bands broke up."
But, as often is the case, punk music never really dies.
The Art Factory reopened, and, as Briner says, "There's a giant scene developing in Warsaw. It's slowly starting to get itself back to where it was."
Briner's girlfriend, Johanna Carandante, plays bass in one of the punk bands trying to revive the scene. Briner said the band calls itself Poor Hygiene and is an "all-girl street punk band."
"They are surprisingly hard," he says. "The first time I saw them they scared the pants off me."
If cutting ties with the punk sound is still uncertain for the band, something that may soon be set in stone is a Nameless album. Nameless plan to go into the studio during their winter break from high school (Briner and Taylor are both seniors at Manchester High School).
They will likely record eight to 10 songs for an album, Taylor said, and plan to promote the album at shows and possibly through a website. Right now the band is just aiming on playing "music to be able to let people listen to it and enjoy it," Taylor says. "We want people to hear it and like it and be influenced by it."