Band Name Drama: A Band By Any Other Name Would Sound As Sweet?

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Band Name Drama: A Band By Any Other Name Would Sound As Sweet?

Have you scrolled through your iPod and been infuriated when you realise Santigold and Santogold aren’t listed under the same artist? Well, it looks as though a huge number of teen and tweenage girls (and probably a few mums and guys) might be changing the artist name on all of their One Direction files. Simon Cowell’s British boy band are being sued for over one million dollars by a Californian band that trademarked the name in February 2011. Heard of Google, Simon?

The debacle got us thinking about other historical controversies around titles and trademarks, and as a result, here’s a list of some of our favourite artist name changes, swaps and vowel removals...

Warsaw – Joy Division:

Anyone who has had anything to do with electronic music, indie music, post-punk, rock, or black and white film knows that Joy Division became New Order after the death of Ian Curtis. What you may not know is that Joy Division were originally known as Warsaw, but changed their name to avoid confusion with punk Londoners Warsaw Pakt. Joy Division was chosen from the name of the prostitution wing of a Nazi war camp in Ka-tzetnik’s novel The House of Dolls. They really were a cheery bunch.



Hybrid Theory – Linkin Park:

After changing their name from Xero to Hybrid Theory, the alt rap rock group signed to Warner Brothers and were told they would have to change their name, again, to avoid legal issues with another band. The band wanted Lincoln Park after the park in Santa Monica, but the domain lincolnpark.com was far too expensive. The boys put their nifty-spelling hats on and came up with Linkin Park, putting them right next to Limp Bizkit in CD stores everywhere. 



Megadeath – Megadeth:

When you’re in the music business, you don’t want to be pissing off industry and influence pedestal-perchers such as Pink Floyd. Metallica’s Dave Mustaine took a shine to the name Megadeath when he was starting up his side project, but when he found out that The Megadeaths was the original name for Pink Floyd he dropped the ‘a’ in death.



On a Friday – Radiohead:

Parlophone Records spotted the daftness of the name On a Friday, and gave the group two weeks to come up with something better. The band picked the 'least annoying' song from the Talking Heads album True Stories, and got Radiohead.



Saron Gas – Seether:

Saron Gas might sound alright, perhaps even better than Seether. Well, it does until you find out that sarin gas is the name of a deadly nerve agent that is actually a UN classified weapon of mass destruction, and was produced by Nazi Germany. As hard as metal acts are, no group wants to be associated with Nazis.



Raconteurs – Saboteurs:

If Jack White asked if he could have your band name, would you let him? Queensland’s Raconteurs didn’t, and demanded a greater price than they were offered by White’s label for the name. The fallout was that the Brisbane band forced White’s Raconteurs to appear in Australia as the Saboteours. I wonder if they’re mates…



Shihad – Remote - Pacifier – Shihad:

So a bunch of naïve 15 year olds sit down and watch David Lynch’s Dune. Thinking that the Arabic word 'jihad' sounded cool, they started a band and name it Shihad – they apparently couldn’t spell jihad. Things were hunky-dory, until 9/11 and Al Qaeda’s jihad against the West. The band released t-shirts at the Auckland Big Day Out indicating their new name would be Remote, but that name was already taken. Their third name choice was Pacifier and they released a new album under that name in 2002. In 2004 the band stated that they would be changing their name back to Shihad, and that they were wrong for changing it in the first place. What an ordeal.



Death From Above – DFA Records, and Death From Above 1979:

Shihad wasn’t the first name to be shuffled due to 9/11. LCD Soundsystem's James Murphy's record label had been operating under the name Death From Above Records for a while, however, after 9/11 ‘Death From Above’ didn’t seem particularly appropriate for a New York label, so Murphy changed the name to DFA Records. When the Canadian dance-punk duo Death From Above were signed to Vice Records in 2004, Vice refused to release the album while they shared a name with Murphy’s label. Murphy claims he tried to ensure as little inconvenience to the Canadians as possible, however the boys gave Murphy quite the serve via their website after adding ‘1979’ to their name.



Mastercraft – MSTRKRFT:

The Canadian duo-whoring noise-monger Jesse F. Keeler doesn’t have much luck with band names; first the Death From Above 1979 debacle, then Mastercraft. The remix fiends were forced to remove all vowels from their name to avoid a trademark infringement with a Canadian tools company. We’re resisting the urge to make comments about being massive tools. Ooops…



The Management – MGMT:

Treating vowels as the appendix or wisdom teeth of band names has really taken off. Some of us actually remember when MGMT were called The Management. The name was changed to MGMT when they discovered another band was using The Management.



Honourable Mentions:

Prince – the Artist Formerly Known as Prince/Unpronounceable 'Love Symbol No. 2' – Prince
Santogold – Santigold

DZ – DZ Deathrays  
Blink – Blink 182  
Howl – Hunting Grounds
Dinosaur – Dinosaur Jnr 
Katy Hudson – actual name of Katy Perry (which makes Katy Perry then suing a longtime Oz designer also named Katie Perry seem kind of rich)
Tim Rogers – actual name of Jack Ladder
Dust Brothers - Chemical brothers  
The Valentinos - The Lost Valentinos  
Touch – Spice Girls  
Pivot – PVT 
Mookie Blaylock – Pearl Jam
The Muslims – The Soft Pack 
Silmarillion – Marillion  
Mr. Crowe’s Garden – The Black Crows
Mammoth – Van Halen 
Crawlspace – Sevendust  

You can check out Everguide’s review and gallery of One Direction at Hisense Arena here.

WORDS: Lauren Bertacchini
By ANNABANANA, 19 April 2012
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