Friday, December 21, 2012

Christmas Caroling...awkward

I was recently thinking about caroling and I believe it has to be one of the most awkward activities ever. I would rate it right up there with being approached by panhandlers.  Before you label me as an Ebenezer Scrooge, let me explain myself. I enjoy Christmas time and carols, but successful caroling is not as easy as it looks. I'm sure there are those who love visits from carolers and are touched by the experience, but I'll bet most people, like myself, feel kind of uncomfortable.

How it is supposed to work:
A group of cheerful, attractive, and vocally talented people approach a home while singing Christmas carols. As they arrive at the porch, someone opens the door with a smile and the occupants of home quickly come to see their visitors and begin to soak in the Christmas spirit. When the singing is done the listeners are touched thank them for sharing their talents. If the recipient is an older or lonely person they may even shed a tear during the performance or offer some sort of treat to the carolers. This is the ideal way you would probably see it happening in the movies.

How it happens in real life:
You hear people singing outside your home but you can't turn off your lights quick enough so you reluctantly open the door and you are immediately reminded how freaking cold it is. You obviously can't invite the big group in so you stand there shivering with a fake smile on your face. As you listen to their singing, you ask yourself "Are they doing this for me because they think I like it?". There is nothing more awkward than staring at a group of strangers who have showed up at your home to sing to you with no warning.

What it's supposed to be like:

How it feels for me:

I'm sorry if I come across as a party pooper. I appreciate people who enthusiastically serve others by sharing their vocal talents, but I'm just saying it sometimes gets kind of weird. Merry Christmas.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The Best Band Names

Recently I was thinking about what I considered to be the best music group names and I realized this was yet another topic that needs to be analyzed and categorized. Thinking of starting up a band? Here are some things to consider before deciding on a name.

Normal Names-One of the most common practices is sticking with your name and keeping it simple. Elton John, Rod Stewart, Peter Gabriel, David Bowie, and Celine Dion are examples, although many of these artists have modified their birth names. The only disadvantage is there are bound to be thousands of people with the same name who could cash your royalty checks if they ever fell into their hands.

The Bands-They feature the lead singer's name and do little more than acknowledge the band as is the case with the Greg Kihn Band, Steve Miller Band, or Dave Matthews Band. Another variation of this is to name the band after some sort of entity. I suppose it is a step up from being known as "band", but I wonder if The News , The Heart breakers, or the Pips ever get jealous. I hope Huey Lewis, Tom Petty, and Gladys Knight can sleep well at night knowing they've hogged more than their their fair share of the fame.

The one word names-These are also popular. U2, Devo, Prince, Moby, Cher, Madonna, Muse, Queen, Yes, etc. You can't argue with success these guys have had with keeping their names simple. Seal was actually named Seal Henry Olusegun Olumide Adeola Samuel. I think abbreviating his name was a wise business move.

The Abbreviations-No need for an explanation here. Some of these groups are better known by their initials than they are by their full name. A few that come to mind are ELO, CCR, BOC, OMD, TLC, REM, and RATM.

The long creative names-These guys try hard to come up with a unique name. Dexy's Midnight Runners, Bullet for My Valentine, The Stone Temple Pilots, Toad the Wet Sprocket, Panic at the Disco, Fine Young Cannibals, The Goo Goo Dolls, Hootie and the Blowfish, etc. I think it is ironic that there are now so many groups with crazy complicated names that they no longer sound unique. It's kind of like getting perfume overload. After a while you just want to say " I get it, you have a unique and random name-who doesn't?"

If Congress passed some legislation enforcing limits to band names it would save the musicians a lot of time and they would be able to use their creative energies on making music instead of trying to think up with unique and catchy names. I'm sure it would also alleviate friction and break ups between band members. I think a numbering system would be most efficient. Each band would get a number and they would increase each time a new group came on the scene. If we went back to the beginning of time we could start with The Rolling Stones at #1 and just go from there.

That's my contributing idea to society for the day. Do what you will with it. If you are thinking of naming your band and need some help feel free to let me know. I'm sure I could help you think of some good ones.