As a band, it must be one of the most irritating things to find out that another band already got to your name. It's difficult enough finding a name that is both creative and original, and once you think you have a brilliant one, you don't want to have to change it. In the case of London-based band, The Moths!, they've been operating for a couple of years now with their excited insect moniker. A week ago, they began sending out bulletins via MySpace telling friends of the band to visit a new profile under the name Me My Head - there was no explanation, just an exhortation to trust them and add Me My Head as a friend. I initially thought it was a teaser campaign for a side project, so I ignored them. Then today there are more bulletins entitled The Moths Metamorphosis and The Moths Migrate - I take a look and they finally reveal that they had to change their name due to another band having it already.
I've been following The Moths! for nearly a year now since I first became aware of them via music blogs - their glammy, new wave sound and bubbly melodies attracted me to them. They've only released singles thus far, some as free downloads, some on vinyl, but nonetheless, they had built up a substantial amount of work as The Moths!. I also had the opportunity to see them live when they opened for Good Shoes at Clwb Ifor Bach in Cardiff last summer. They were really the main reason I went to that show (I had heard the odd Good Shoes song by that point, but wasn't particularly excited by them) and they were the highlight of the gig for me. Although the audience seemed pretty indifferent to The Moths!, while they went ballistic for Good Shoes, I realized that the audience type was probably the problem - The Moths! are the eyeliner-wearing, pointy shoe-wearing flamboyant type while the crowd was more into hypermasculine moshing and throwing pints of lager around. I was the only one singing along with The Moths! to the song Wild Birds...and I was from Canada.
If I were The Moths!, who had won an unsigned band competition last year, I would be really disappointed that I had to find a new name, and with it, a new identity. It's almost like starting at ground-zero again - any coverage and hype they got in the last couple of years needs to be recovered under a new name. Unfortunately, their new name, Me My Head, just doesn't resonate with me, and right now, it seems like an unwieldy, boring name.
I've taken a look at the original The Moths, apparently another London-based band in operation since 1982. Their Web site doesn't seem to elaborate on what type of music they actually play, but I have a feeling it's not bright, shiny new-wave synthpop. There have been numerous name issues in the past, including the ridiculous problems several UK bands have had when trying to release material in the US. Suede and The Charlatans come to mind - because some obscure American bands already had their band names, they became known as The London Suede and The Charlatans UK in North America. Ridiculous and annoying in my mind. Yes, it may irk you that your little crappy, obscure psychedelic-jazz-fusion-lounge-singing band, which will likely never get famous, had its name before some successful act from another country stole it and actually earned loads of fame and recognition with it. However, it starts to get a bit petty for the band on the other end, who will never have the same fan base as the original band and will never lead to any major confusion over who's who. For whom is it easier to change their name? I rest my case.
I reckon the lesson in all this is to research your band's name extensively before you choose it and to think as originally as humanly possible. It's going to take awhile before I associate The Moths! music with Me My Head's music (strange that, how a band's name is so intrinsic), but I've already added Me My Head as a friend on MySpace (www.myspace.com/memyhead), and I can only hope that their original 5000 friends follow.
Wild Birds - The Moths!
Watch the Sun - Me My Head