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ACL Explains It All: !!!

I like !!!‘s name way more than I actually like !!!. I like !!! because it messes with every idea about how you name yourself (something easy to say, easy to set up websites with, easy to remember, easy to tell people about…!!! is none of these things). The name !!! is pronounced “chk chk chk” most often, although “uh uh uh” and “pow pow pow” are heard, and “any sound repeated three times” is how the band encourages pronounciation of their name. I can only imagine the type of guys who came up with that as a band name. I can also imagine the type of problems that guys would run into trying to get themselves booked early in their career. Even now, at this middling stage of their career, chk chk chk is still spelled out in parentheses behind their real name on a poster on their myspace.

Yes, !!! will always be at or near the top of the “gutsiest band names” list in my book. I love band names; you can hook me into listening to an album just by having a good band name. Band names that are just people’s names throw me off; Greg Laswell is freakin’ great, but I didn’t listen to him for a long time, because I have a negative mental image of single-person bands who don’t find themselves indie enough to name themselves (which is what my favorite mostly-one-person band, The Mountain Goats, did). But if you get up the gumption to call yourself “Writer,” I’m definitely going to listen to that. Cryptic names sometimes help; I still love saying The Felix Culpa. It just sounds good. The Appleseed Cast rolls off the tongue well too.

Sometimes I take names for granted; Death Cab for Cutie (which is not associated with violent morbidity, musically) is almost as violent a name as Death from Above 1979, but not often associated as such. The Flaming Lips have a name that conjures up a bizarre mental image that I’m pretty sure is rarely thought about after the first time a person hears them. Endless Mike and the Beagle Club makes little to no sense; Fountains of Wayne makes absolutely no sense until you research it and find out that it’s the name of a garden fountain shop in Wayne, New Jersey (shockingly clever and creative, those boys).

And then there are names I just love: I liked the Hold Steady’s name long before I ever heard them. The Envy Corps sounds cool and has a cool connotation. Right Away, Great Captain! stretches the boundaries of name length, but has an exclamation point, which makes me happy.

And yes, since one exclamation point makes me happy, three makes me thrice as happy. !!!, your name rocks.