N.W.A. may have been threatened by the U.S. government, but Public Enemy can safely lay claim to rap's most dangerous group.
"The United States Constitution once considered black people to be three-fifths of a human being," Chuck D says. "If this is a public document, obviously we must be the enemy, so that's where the name Public Enemy came from."
Yes, they were part of the wave of rap's mainstream invasion along with RUN DMC, NWA and LL Cool J. And yes, they were part of rap's social conscience trinity along with NWA and Boogie Down Productions. But what made Public Enemy stand out from everyone else is their melding of political commentary with classic showmanship, best demonstrated by their leads:
Chuck D is the angry intellectual poet, inspiring his listeners to come together and fight for whatever cause he believed in. Flavor Flav is the crazed, mercurial clown prince who reels you in with his wacked-out charisma and keeps you with the profound lyrics he spits out. They are the classic push-and pull combination that makes every legendary group exactly that - legendary. They are rap's Jagger/Richards, Cash/Carter, or even early Axl/Slash.
That, combined with their stage show complete with Black Panther-esque shock troops and earworm beats supplied by Tha Bomb Squad, album titles like Fear Of A Black Planet and their provocative target logo, Public Enemy is the true rap conscience.
And it doesn't hurt that they have an affinity for metal either...
When a great name is also the name of one of your favourite bands, it's about as big win-win as you can get.
Foo Fighters rose from the ashes of Nirvana after the death of Kurt Cobain. Chief Foo Dave Grohl combined his love of aliens/UFOs, super-catchy pop music, punk and heavy metal to create one of the biggest bands in the world.
The group got its name from the UFOs and various aerial phenomena that were reported by Allied aircraft pilots in World War II, which were known collectively as "foo fighters".
"Around the time that I recorded the first FF tape (that became the first record), I was reading a lot of books on UFO's. Not only is it a fascinating subject, but there's a treasure trove of band names in those UFO books!" Dave Grohl said. Although he played all of the instruments himself on the first album, Dave stated that "I wanted people to think that it was a group, I figured that FOO FIGHTERS might lead people to believe that it was more than just one guy. Silly, huh?
Had I actually considered this to be a career, I probably would have called it something else, because it's the stupidest fucking band name in the world."
Dave Letterman professed his love for them time and time again, culminating in the Foos closing out Dave's final show with his favourite song, Everlong.
And let's not forget Dave's other projects: Queens Of The Stone Age, Them Crooked Vultures (with QOTSA's Josh Homme and Led Zeppelin bassist John Paul Jones), the "PROBOT" heavy metal album he conceived featuring all of his fave metal vocalists, producing country megastars The Zac Brown Band's latest album, and bringing down the house at the Country Music Awards in 2013...
Oh yeah - guesting on Drunk History and being a substitute Chelsea Handler on her 'Chelsea Lately' latenight show. Here's an almost-complete (though somewhat anti-non-metal/rock) list.
But we shouldn't gloss over the fact that the band are some of the nicest guys in music. Almost to the point that the only bad things said about them are that Mr. Grohl is way too overexposed, or that he is sometime a dictator instead of a bandleader (er... why do people thing Springteen is called "The Boss"?)
To sum up, stupid name or not, the Foo Fighters will be in the Rock N' Roll Hall Of Fame someday, if not first-ballot-worthy in 4 years. And when it happens, the stage won't be big enough for the people wanting to pay tribute.
Speaking of tribute, this one might beat em' all...
Ever felt ripped off? Like that time when someone said that you were going to get something then you were left standing there, looking like an idiot when nothing happened? Man, that sucks. Don't worry - We Were Promised Jetpacks from Edinburgh, Scotland has your back.
Beyond embracing that time you didn't get that experimental propulsion device from the military, the Jetpacks make some sweet, sweet alt-pop music.
There's no eccentric or epically fun story behind the name, and maybe that adds to the allure of the band.
Either way, they may have turned me off picnics for a long time...
What is a Zef Ninja Rap Rave Crew? Can a duo from Cape Town become internationally revered with a name that means "The Answer" in Afrikaans? All will be revealed in this wee little profile on Die Antwoord, quite possibly the most perfect balance between mainstream and bat-guano crazy.
Formed in 2008, Ninja and ¥O-LANDI VI$$ER combine elements of rap and rave with a South African counterculture movement called 'Zef'.
According to Ninja, "Zef is South African underdog kind of style. Zef has been an insult for long in South Africa. It's seen as an embarrassment. The thing is, the word kind of started transforming about 10 years ago. It's kind of abstract. For me, this is what zef was born out of: Rap overtook country music. Everything became super too-fast-too-furious, WWF information overload. And you're sitting in this little fishing village in the bottom of the world, and it feels like almost like an apocalyptic wasteland. It's like, kind of bad, but kind of like this apocalyptic debris that we've stuck together. People say trashy; it's not really trashy. It's not having money, but still fokken having style. So we kind of embraced that."
The great jam bands in rock history have had names that are quirky, to say the least (Phish, The Grateful Dead, Gov't Mule...). Crested Butte, Colorado's The Cheese String Incident is no different.
You'd be forgiven to think that they're named after a third-rate political thriller movie about dairy products, or a cover band based on Guns N' Roses' cover album The Spaghetti Incident, but you'd be very, very wrong. There are a few stories out there about where the name came from, which has made it into quite the solid rock myth:
1) A Spinal Tap-esque event happening on stage at a 1996 Cheese String Incident show involving a broken mandolin string.
2) Being stopped by the police while possessing a Tupperware-esque container of weed marked "String Cheese".
3) A bar food fight with jack cheese, beans and salsa ending becoming so epic the members decided to call themselves The String Cheese Incident to never forget that experience.
All solid options, but even more fun is trying to identify the multitude of musical styles in every song. So sit back, grab a tasty beverage or three (heck, order a pizza while you're at it) and enjoy this close-to-2-hour jam session.
The officially unofficial blog of Faux Rawk. Everything you read is true, although some of what you read is 100% false. Whoa... trippy, man.