Band Names – Some Thoughts

Yesterday, I posted a huge chunk of music, covering about twelve years of my life. Of course, no one knows it's there yet, so I'm not expecting comments any time soon. I still have to get people in here for that.

However, the interesting thing is, I was rooting through the internet just last night and discovered taht the name I've been using since I got out of college, Etcetera, is a name that no less than two prog bands I've never heard of before have used previous to me. One of them is in fact still semi-active, although they seem to be going through a hiatus not unlike the one I did back in 98.

Now, my other band name, Thesis, is still open and free for use as a band. But I've been keeping that one jealously guarded, reserved for the material that never seems to make it through the band process. It's kind of a personal hang up; Etcetera material is written for Etcetera to do with whatever it can or will, and Thesis material is written and recorded the way I want it to be, however long it takes me to get it right. So Thesis is precious to me in a way that Etcetera only was back in the 90s when I was still 110% focussed on it.

The problem of writing new material for Etcetera has been that I have been measuring it to fit a band I know so well, and even when they surprise me, they still disappoint me in so many ways. But the new material is written for a new version of Etcetera. Etcetera. My band. I truly wonder what I'm going to do, or how I'm going to handle explaining it to the guys if we get told by lawyers that we can't use the name because a couple of defunt bands recorded using it before us. It's awkward. I don't ever want anyone mistaking us for someone else, let alone thinking we are trying to ride the coattails of soemone else's work, even if neither of those bands ever achieved wide acclaim.

I'm listening to Pink Floyd's The Division Bell right now. Some people would say it's not really Floyd without Waters. I would say that three of the original four carried on without Syd Barrett, and yet they did alright for themselves. Roger… just another casualty. It's still a brilliant album, and it feels like a band. The Wall felt like Roger Waters' back up band. I think that illustrates where I stand on the issue.

Etcetera… MY Etcetera… okay, OUR Etcetera, is probably more like Roger's Pink Floyd, really. I've kind of coopted the band, even though it's not really playing or recording any of the material I founded Etcetera to make. But it is playing a whole raft of material penned by me with no assistance from them until I bring it in and let them angle it. And yet, I do welcome the other guys writing material. Hard getting around being the strongest writer in the band. Perhaps a day will come when Gary and Derrick can write enough material to take a larger portion of the album space. I welcome it. I will always have Thesis for the material I write that isn't really Etcetera material.

The current batch of songs probably aren't Etcetera material either. I'm just trying to get things back up and running. These don't have to be our great masterpieces. They don't have to be what Etcetera is best at; writing as a group. They just have to get things going. Hell, I remember when Etcetera's music was more like what I hear when I listen to 60s era Pink Floyd music now. Funny, considering Floyd was never one of our influences.

I supoose some day soon I'm going to have to contact the guy from the Danish Etcetera and ask him if he wants me to back off. I respect his achievements enough for that. And if and when he does, I'll have to reinvent the band again. New name. New line up? New music, instead of this derivative stuff I'm writing to get us away from playing covers we are no damned good at.

Okay, the missus tells me I must go watch chick flicks with her. Married life… I neve rthought it would come to this. 😉

Lee Edward McIlmoyle

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