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What’s in a name? Depends on the band

By Tracy Curtis
Tracy Lee Curtis
Tracy Lee Curtis is a humorist, writer and speaker. She writes family humor for the Charlotte Observer. Her column appears each Sunday.

Kid Rock is on the radio, and I start to wonder if when he walks into restaurants they actually say, “Good evening, Mr. Rock.”

I think Pink is a cool stage name. And one of the better reds. I don’t imagine Mauve would be huge ticket seller. Although Maroon 5 does pretty well.

You know, 50 Cent took his name as a teen after release from correctional boot camp, as a metaphor for “change.” I was really hoping his name was Bill, so I could make a dollar bill joke, and ask why he short-changed himself. But his name is Curtis.

Somebody should combine the color idea with the money idea. It could be Vermilion.

Darius Rucker is not Hootie, by the way. Hootie and the Blowfish originated from two of Rucker’s childhood friends – one with owl-like eyes and the other with puffy blowfish cheeks.

And it’s true that Chubby Checker thought up his name as a take off on singer Fats Domino. And The Beatles was a play on Buddy Holly’s group The Crickets, whom the band loved.

And The Eagles, who were originally Teen King and the Emergencies, liked the American sound of Eagles and the way it was aligned with The Byrds, who had a great influence on them.

The Black Crowes was originally named Mr. Crowe’s Garden, named after a favorite children’s book. But after getting signed, they renamed themselves at the suggestion of a producer. I’d be thanking that producer.

Cheap Trick says the band members asked a Ouija Board what they should call themselves. Good thing the board didn’t go with Teen King and the Emergencies – they would have been there all night.

David Bowie, born David Jones, changed his name to avoid confusion with David (Davy) Jones of The Monkees. I’m pretty sure we wouldn’t have confused those two for long. And no way Bowie would have ever appeared on The Brady Bunch.

The Cranberries were actually The Cranberry Saw Us (a joke on Cranberry SAUCE). I totally get this because my aunt growing up thought Row Your Boat ended in “life’s a butter bean.” She’s now got a mountain house named Butter Bean. True story.

The Deftones name is actually transposed, because when they started people thought they were so bad they called them tone deaf. And Limp Bizkit, got their idea from Fred Durst’s dog, Biscuit – who has a limp. Maybe that’s how Calvin Broadus got his name – maybe he had a dog who was nosy. Snoop Dogg – makes sense.

The Replacements – legend has it they got a gig after another band didn’t show. And when asked who they were they replied, “We’re the Replacements.” If I were on stage, they’d ask who I was, and remind me that I can’t sing, to which I’d reply, “No Doubt.”

Oh shoot, that’s already taken.

tcurtis@charlotteobserver.com
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