What makes a solo artist go by a handle other than their real name? Take one Damon Michael Gough, for example. He could've become D-Gough, Run-DMG... No, his decision sounds like a third-rate superhero sidekick:
Badly Drawn Boy.
In 1995, Damon found himself watching the 70's British TV show Sam and his Magic Ball at a party in Manchester. Between this his making business cards with a printed picture of a drawing by his nephew, it seemed to be a no-brainer.
In one of the classic cases of the name being a perfect-fit-in-retrospect-due-to-his-career, Mr. Gough (or is it Mr. Boy?) made a great choice. His debut, The Hour of Bewilderbeast, put him on the map and is what fans think of when they hear his name.
In fact, it may be the only thing some folks think of when they hear his name. That and the great soundtrack to the solid Hugh Grant flick, About A Boy. But he's still had a solid career, and whenever you can get Joan Collins in your video, you've done alright.
Since he has a thing for 'question' album titles (How Did I Get Here? Is There Nothing We Could Do? Have You Fed The Fish?), I have a question for Mr. Badly Drawn Boy: could you go on Jimmy Kimmel's 'Mashup Mondays' with a certain band that wrote "My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark (Light Em Up)"?
You'll be called Badly Drawn Fall Out Boy. And you're welcome.
Moral of the story: Sometimes a ridiculous-sounding-at-the-start name will be the perfect one later on in your music career. This, and life is truly filled with all possibilities...
*BIAS ALERT* How could a pretty-boy synth band out of Birmingham, England, whose audience was almost exclusively female, have such an influence on a 10-year old Canadian boy? Better yet, how could this same band have last over 3 decades of while influencing hundreds of bands and still sound vital?
Over to you, Duran Duran.
Formed in 1978 by Nick Rhodes (keyboards) and John Taylor (bass), they played the clubs in town and the big club, where bands like The Sex Pistols and The Clash played gigs, was called Barbarella's. They would go on to name the band after a character from Barbarella, Roger Vadim's French science-fiction film starring Jane Fonda. The character, played by Milo O'Shea, was named "Dr. Durand Durand".
A little history - Being a child of the 80's my musical tastes were shaped by the usual suspects: Prince, Boy George, Michael Jackson... but there was one factor above anything else that led me to the Fab Five - censorship.
My mother, in her well-intentioned, loving way, forbade me to see Michael Jackson's Thriller (although there was no way the ban hold up outside of the household, added to the fact that I had already seen Stallone's First Blood at a friend's 9th birthday party, which was psychologically scarring than dancing zombies could ever be, but I digress...) which was always #1 on Toronto's CHUM 30 video countdown:
But I could only watch up to #2, which ended up being my gateway into popular music - Duran Duran's 'The Reflex' (shot at Maple Leaf Gardens!).
The end result being me becoming a lifelong Duranie.
Sure, they were (and are still somewhat) dreamy, but I was mesmerized by how they could switch and mix rock, pop, funk so effectively. It also didn't hurt that they were the trailblazers of the nascent video art form.
Yachts! Indiana Jonesesque quests! And this little epic that answered the question, "What if Mad Max started a pop band?"
But then Live Aid happened, and the stratosphere the band had reached quickly imploded, punctuated by the low note-but-yet-highest note of their careers.
The band split into two, with 2/5ths shacking up with a pre-Addicted-To-Love Robert Palmer to form the muscular funk-rock outfit The Power Station. The other 3/5ths became a poor-man's (yet almost as solid) Duran Duran as Arcadia.
Simon and Nick reformed the band with John Taylor in '86, with drummer Roger Taylor (becoming a hermit/sheep farmer in rural England) and guitarist Andy Taylor (not related to John or Roger, but on his own as a rock producer/nomadic guitar-slinger) doing their own thing. Duran Mark 2.0 was a little funkier, courtesy of Chic co-founder Nile Rodgers...
They were a trio until 1989, when they took on guitarist Warren Cuccurullo and drummer Sterling Campbell as full members. Liberty was released in 1990 but was, to put it plainly, a dud. Fast forward to 1992 and the mega-success of the "Wedding Album" and the all-conquering single, "Ordinary World":
Several so-so to good albums (Thank You, Medazzaland, Pop Trash, Astronaut, Red Carpet Massacre, All You Need Is Now), a complete original lineup reunion in the early 2000's, and the second departure of Andy Taylor later bring them to a present-day quartet as big as ever. Sold-out stadiums, the music industry falling at their feet to have the honour of collaborating with them...
...see - I said I was biased. Duran Duran were originally part of the New Romantic music movement (hence the Valentine's Day date of this post), but are now firmly pop/rock legends. Can't wait to see what's next.
Alex Trebek: "King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard" for Final Jeopardy... [Final Jeopardy music...]
Contestant #1: What is a 1983-86 cult children's TV show from Albuquerque, New Mexico starring a portly weatherman wearing what seems to be discarded Burger King mascot costumes and a wisecracking marionette Gila Monster?
Contestant #2: Who is that guy I always see on the subway wearing a tiara and robes with an iguana on his shoulder?
Alex: Nice try, but you're dead wrong as well.
Contestant #3: What is the name of a band from Melbourne, Australia that mixes surf, garage and psychedelic rock with themes of reptilian conspiracy theories?
Alex: Judges? We would've also accepted "Who is an Australian stoner band whose lead singer said, 'We just did whatever we wanted and we hardly ever played. We just had fun with it so we had a silly name that we never thought would stick, and now the joke's on us.' ", but you are the winner. Plus, I'd like to hang out with you after the show.
Happy Belated Robbie Burns Day! Ach! I canna believe I missed it by exactly one week! So to make up for it, I present to you, the reader, one the most Scottish of bands out there, Biffy Clyro. And although their name is nae Scottish in origin, it's an impressively eccentric story nonetheless.
The Biffy boys come from Kilmarnock, East Ayrshire, and grew up on a steady diet of Metallica, Rush, Pixies and Fugazi.
The band name could only perceivably come from a small-town Scottish upbringing (which may or may not have included haggis). Courtesy of an interview with lead singer Simon Neil in Digital Spy...
"There's a famous British musician called Cliff Richard, and when me and [drummer] Ben [Johnston] were 13 and bored in our little Scottish town of Ayr, we'd think up imaginary Cliff Richard merch products.
"We thought of things like Cliff Richard coat hangers and Cliff Richard Jesus dolls - he's a big Christian singer. In the UK there's a cheap kind of pen called a Biro pen and we thought about making Cliff Richard Biro pens.
"We'd call them Cliffy Biros. Somehow that turned into Biffy Clyro. Bizarrely, we weren't high at the time. There's just not a lot to do in Ayr. The weather is terrible."
But even with that amazingly strange-yet-fascinating name, the band has become one of Europe's biggest, due in large part to their incendiary live act.
They haven't hit it big in North America yet, but with the new - and very very good - album, Ellipsis, and their love of touring, it'd be no surprise if if by the end of the year "Mon The Biff!" is reverberating in arenas and stadiums worldwide.
The officially unofficial blog of Faux Rawk. Everything you read is true, although some of what you read is 100% false. Whoa... trippy, man.