Kick, Snare, Kick, Snare: On Choosing a Band Name

It’s been a while, Anteaters. I started writing this column sometime last year and haven’t written for it since the conclusion of last spring quarter. That being said, I think I should reintroduce myself and this column to you all.

My name is Zach, and I’m the editor for this section. In addition to that, I’m also a self-taught drummer who muddled in middle school band (I played French horn) once in my life and promptly forgot almost everything about the instrument. This column is meant to be a collection of thoughts that I have as someone that simply plays and enjoys music, not as someone who’s classically trained.

For this week, I would like to discuss some of the things that come along with being in a band that are probably things one might not think about otherwise. For example, thinking of a band name, or putting together a photo shoot (or a decent one, at least), and a couple other things.

To start, thinking of a band name. It quite literally took my friends and me over two years to come up with something that we could all agree was acceptable and at least decently marketable. We went back and forth between wanting a name that was three words, to one that was one word, to whether or not that one word should actually be a word or just a word that sounds cool.

But then I began to wonder how bands with names that don’t even really make that much sense, like Death Cab for Cutie and Jimmy Eat World getting away with their names. I’ve come to the conclusion that they get away with it because the moment you hear their names, there’s almost nothing else you can associate that name with. Unfortunately for bands like The Devil Wears Prada, people constantly mistake their name for the movie. With that in mind, we decided to modify one of our member’s last names (Heberle) into our band name, Eberly. We figured it was the closest we could come to a simple, one-word name that would be easily associated with our band, and probably not much else (save, perhaps, for a player on the Edmonton Oilers with the last name Eberle, but I digress).

Funny thing is though, I’m still not 100 percent sure we decided on the right name. I think a lot of bands feel this way though, but a name with the potential to be good is better than none at all. Bands like … And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead make it work, and if they can make THAT work then I’m pretty sure that we can make Eberly work.

Another thing is scheduling. As anyone that has spent any significant amount of time trying to get five people together for a common purpose will know, doing so can be a nearly impossible task. Factor in the fact that our members are scattered from Palmdale in LA County all the way down to Irvine, doing so becomes even more difficult. When that happens, sacrifices of time (and money for gas) becomes a harsh and costly reality of organizing practices, photo shoots and the like. I’ve spent many a Friday night and Saturday morning away from Irvine, where my friends were having their get-togethers and going out while I was in Palmdale for a weekend of band practice.

It is with this distance and difficulty that brings about a quick understanding of what it means to sacrifice for your craft. Sometimes it can make the process more painstaking and can make it feel more like a chore than it is fun (which is what it should be, ultimately). But nothing worth pursuing is ever that easy or a walk in the park like one might hope it to be; instead, sacrifice, sweat and blisters (in my case, as other drummers will surely attest to) precedes success, and the fun that comes with making music comes from doing it with the people who, in the end, are there struggling with you the whole way.