I was leaning toward The New Normal, but it’s becoming too popular

They’re wearing out my name before I’ve even adopted it.

I was leaning strongly toward “The New Normal” as the name for my band — you know, the band I’m going to start once I get the name and the playlist all worked out, after which I’ll start recruiting bandmates — but it seems like everybody’s using it every time I turn around, such as here and here and here. If only I had copyrighted it earlier — I would have licensed it to be used only by the band itself, and other people who have paid for the right by, for instance, losing their jobs in this Great Recession. Yeah, I know we have this free speech thing in this country, but I think there should be a rule that you don’t get to say “The New Normal” unless you’ve lost your job.

But I didn’t act quickly enough, mainly because of my great indecision when it comes to picking a name. I could probably decide to go to war, were I a president or a king, a LOT more quickly than the almost four decades I’ve been pondering band names.

Over the years, I’ve considered:

  • The Cotton Pigue Mentality — This was inspired by a certain county official in rural West Tennessee back in the late 70s or early 80s. Trouble is, this would have to be a bluegrass or progressive country band, which would eliminate a lot of my playlist. Also, I would have to have my friend Richard Crowson, the best picker of banjo, mandolin and guitar I know, and he lives plumb halfway across the country, in Kansas. Richard was there when we came up with the band name, so he shares the rights.
  • Citizen Arcane — This was a sobriquet given me by the late Delores Ballard, my dear friend back at The Jackson Sun in the early days of my career. I got that handle because I knew a lot about really obscure, unimportant stuff, and I suppose I was kind of overbearing about it. Delores was generous with nicknames. She also called me “Wa-Wa,” which has possibilities for a band, and “Percival Pedant,” for my insistence as an editor on precision. That last was just way too uncool to make the list.
  • Prussian Blue — It’s a color. In fact, it was one of the first synthetic pigments, whatever that means. I think I ran across it in a dictionary once. I liked the tension between a word with harsh, militaristic overtones (picture a Prussian army officer with a Heidelberg scar) and the dreamy “blue.” Unfortunately, the name was taken by a white nationalist pop duo. I am not making this up.
  • Wireless Cloud — The dream that apparently will never be realized here in South Carolina, since all of our legislative sessions are all about Mark Sanford, rather than legislation.
  • The Irreconcilables — This was a band idea I had very briefly, but dropped like a hot potato after I’d thought about it for 30 seconds. It would have included such politically irreconcilable local musicians as James Smith and Will Folks. I decided that normal bands have enough trouble with artistic differences; why buy extra trouble?
  • The Romeo Clause — this was from a loophole in SC law on the age of consent, which essentially held that you couldn’t be charged for having sex with a minor if you too were a minor. You know, like Romeo and Juliet. Very South Carolina. Disgusting, but I liked the name.
  • Splash Blend — If you recall, there was a brouhaha between Big Oil and the jobbers over whether gasohol had to be blended by the oil companies at the refinery, or whether they could be “splash blended” in the wholesalers’ trucks. Sounded like a band name to me.

I’m sure I’ve forgotten some of the names. Maybe y’all have some better ideas.

22 thoughts on “I was leaning toward The New Normal, but it’s becoming too popular

  1. Brad Warthen

    See the lengths I go to to occupy my mind and keep from being nervous at a momentous moment in my life?

    My daughter-in-law is at the hospital about to have my son’s firstborn. They say it’s going to take awhile and that I should get a nap or something until my son calls to tell us the time approaches. What, I’m supposed to just SIT here? It’s harder being a grandparent. With my five kids, I was in the room, involved in the whole thing. I guess this waiting thing is what it was like for fathers in previous generations. Anyway, it won’t be long now, I hope…

  2. jHammond

    Well, this is like a greeting card, but, hang in!
    What joy awaits you! Grampa, Grandpere, Grampy, (staid) Grandfather.
    By which moniker would you choose to have this child address you?
    Perhaps: “The Irreconcilable”.
    Just laughing;
    I wish you and your family all the best.

  3. Kathryn Fenner

    Why not research the difference between copyright and trademark, and find out just how easy it is to reserve your rights!

    Prussian Blue was one of my favorite Crayolas, back when they had serious color names like Burnt Umber and Raw Sienna…but then I’m 1/4 Prussian (give or take)….

    Another project: research Crayola names–when did they quit using nice artist pigment names and start with Blues Clues Blue — or Barney Purple, or whatever ghastly dumbed-down commercial names they have now.

    How about The Crayolas? Like the White Stripes, only multi-culti!

  4. Brad Warthen

    bud, I will be thrilled to welcome you to the fraternity.

    And Jim, my grandchildren call me “Big Daddy,” which I love (you can hear the Twins referring to me by that name back on the video I posted recently). In my mind, I imagine a combination of Burl Ives in “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” and Ed “Big Daddy” Roth, who drew all those outrageous fantasy hot rods back in the 60s. (Roth, by the way, was the guy who inspired my aforementioned friend Richard Crowson to become a cartoonist.) Coolest possible Grandad name.

    I like “The Crayolas,” but worry about the copyright.

    I also like “Secret Santa.” Here’s an idea, Burl (Burlingame, not Ives) — with your excellent Santa beard, and if I grew mine back, we could start a band with that as the name. The geographic inconvenience of being 5,000 miles apart is no obstacle. We could do like the guys in the Postal Service, and mail a recording-in-progress back and forth. Sure, we’d just be a studio band, like the Beatles in their Sgt. Pepper period, but it’s a start…

  5. Doug Ross

    Band names:

    Enemies of The State
    Editorial Bored
    Graham Crackers
    Joltin’ Joementum
    Wart Hens
    Minimally Adequate
    Voucher Vulture
    Secondhand Smote (better for a metal band)
    McCain and Unable

    I would have suggested another band name, but Tool is already taken. 🙂

  6. Brad Warthen

    Been listening to some Crosby, Stills and Nash on Pandora, which reminds me of some country-rock type songs that ought to be on my playlist. They are songs I’ve played and sung a good bit over the years, and found that they are well suited to my voice (my son the recording expert has informed me that I have a natural voice for folk-country-rock, which I suppose is true, to the extent that I have a voice for anything at all). Anyway, here are the songs:
    — CSN’s “Helplessly Hoping”
    — Pure Prairie League’s “Amie
    — Neil Young’s “Southern Man”

    And I’m not trying to make a political statement with that last one, you neo-Confederates out there. It’s just a song that I’m able to sing reasonably well.

  7. Kathryn Fenner

    Graham Crackers is good

    Corridor of Shame?

    Chapur-Knickers — it’s an Argentinian Brit-Pop band like the Spice Girls….

  8. Burl Burlingame

    Brad might remember my first band — Murphreesboro Burl and Blind Dog Donny T. Bur folks just called us Don and Burl.

    Don Tycholis is still playing. He’s an engineer for Xerox and their in-house band is … drumroll … The X-Men!

  9. Brad Warthen

    Was that Don who performed with you at the senior talent show — he on guitar, you on harp? That was awesome.
    Folks, Burl used to carry several harmonicas around with him at all times, a la Elwood Blues with his briefcase…

  10. Kathryn Fenner

    “Folks, Burl used to carry several harmonicas around with him at all times, a la Elwood Blues with his briefcase…”

    never know when you might find yourself on a boxcar or sumpin’

  11. Brad Warthen Post author

    Don’t know why it said comments closed here. Let’s see if I can open it back up.

    I have another one, and it’s a good one: “Tactical Pants.” Or “Brad and the Tactical Pants.” Or maybe “Donnie B. and the Tactical Pants.”

    I’ll keep working on it. But I guess I should step up the pace. I’ve been planning this band since high school, and I’ll be 70 in a couple of weeks…


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