Thursday, February 19, 2009

Name that band

My son Zach is in a band that mostly plays basement parties in the Twin Cities. They've only been together a short while, and there is hope the gigs will improve as they tighten up their playing and write more original material.

They are Crimson Red Guitar.

The editor in me has a problem with the name, but the father in me is reluctant to intervene. No telling how many hours were spent -- and how much beer was consumed -- coming up with that name. Let somebody else tell them it's stupid and redundant. Or is it?

You'd like to think that any band's fortunes are determined by some magical combination of talent, energy and creative chops. The name shouldn't really make a difference. John, Paul, George and Ringo would have sold just as many records with "Crimson Red Guitar'' stenciled on the Ludwig drum head. Or would they have?

I'm not so sure. John Fogerty, with his unique sound, musicianship and song writing genius, was going to make it one way or another. But might it have taken him longer fronting the Golliwogs, which was the band's name before Creedence Clearwater Revival? We can never be certain.

If you've heard of the Nashville-based The Deep Vibration you probably know the story behind their name. They were previously The Attack! until they realized that a British group had beaten them to the punch -- 40 years earlier. (And just what in bollocks did the name do for them?)

Enter Lou Reed (actually, exit Lou Reed), who had just finished a performance at the Ryman Auditorium. Here's the account that appeared in the student paper at Belmont University, where the band had been assembled:

“It was pretty weird that night. The moon was like purple,” says [guitarist Jeremy] Fetzer, describing the scene outside the Ryman after a performance by Reed, whose rock legacy dates back to the Velvet Underground. Of course, you couldn’t ask for better conditions to seek the counsel of Lou Reed. And Reed’s behavior was also perfect for the occasion. “He comes down the stairs . . . No one’s really talking to him; people are just handing him things and he’s signing them,” [singer/songwriter Matt] Campbell recalls. “And so I lean in and was like, ‘Lou, we need a band name.’ And so he keeps signing things and his head’s down. And he kind of lifts his head up and goes, ‘Deep Vibration.’ ” “And that was all he said,” Fetzer adds.

So The Attack! became The Deep Vibration, and now they have a hot five-song EP on Dualtone Records garnering impressive critical acclaim, and next they're headed to the South by Southwest twangfest in Austin.

Has the name change boosted their success? I have no idea. Irregardless, I am strongly encouraging members of Crimson Red Guitar to attend a Lou Reed concert.


  1. May I suggest:
    The Bong Hit Wonders

  2. If they are a punk band in Minnesota, they can't go wrong with Lutefisk Puke

  3. Had to chime in after that one. Lutefisk, for the uninitiated, is a gelatinous blob of fish that is salted, soaked in lye and aged before being baked and swallowed by mostly brave Norwegians who consider it a holiday delicacy. Lutefish Puke, then, while seeming redundant, is actually a brilliant name for a Minnesota band with punk leanings, assuming it hasn't already been taken. In fact, it's reason enough to start a punk band.

  4. Great King of the Hill episode a few years back featuring lutefisk. The new pastor from Minnesota brought it to Arlen, Texas.