For years now I have made a personal study of delving into the murky and sometimes macabre monikers our local bands have chosen. Now we shall have them compete for our pleasure.
Here are the ten best band names in the city.
10. Holy Fiction Evan Lecker's spiraling, philosophical explanation behind the meaning of Holy Fiction is simply too much trouble to repeat. The gist of it is that holy fictions are basically stories cultures make up to illustrate the basic framework of their moral code and society. It's just the sort of sardonic, mocking thing Lecker does best.
9. Featherface At first glance I was pretty sure that Featherface was just another group of chumps pulling the '90s trick of sewing two unrelated words together to make a name. Actually, Steve Wells and Kenny Hopkins spent hours interpreting a dream of ornate feathered fans in a swanky and glamorous party. It called to mind The Great Gatsby, and the Hollywood perception that they have of the '20s seemed perfect to wear as an onstage mask of their own.
8. The Manichean One thing that comes up again and again in our What's in a Name? column is that bands, well, they don't really think too much about their names. That's why we delve into dream interpretation and such. The Manichean is not among those bands. The band takes its title from an obscure and heavily persecuted religion that died out in the 14th century.
The basic tenets involved recognizing the separation of good and evil. As The Manichean seems dedicated to blending the two concepts in song lyrics constantly, the name is really just an anthropological trolling session.
7. P.L.X.T.X. Bradley Munoz wanted to name a band Pluto. Trouble is, lots of bands are already named Pluto. So in order to make it stand out in Google searches, he just punched the vowels in the dick and replaced them with Xs. There's something so amazingly pragmatic and completely backwards about that logic that is just beautiful.
6. Hoffle Stoff Awaffogus If you think that Hoffle Stoff Awaffogus is the sort of thing someone would only come up with after smoking a whole lot of weed... well, you're right.
5. Small Dog Syndrome Small Dog Syndrome is a real condition that occurs when people don't discipline their tiny, ankle-biter dogs the way they would a larger breed, and thus their little doggy brains think that they're much more intimidating and higher in the pack than they are.
The condition was the perfect title for a song singer Nortnii Rose was penning about misplaced dominance, and was so good the band made it their name.
4. Loch Ness Radio One day singer Kevin Hogan had a vision of vintage radios floating to the top of the murky waters of Loch Ness, and felt that it was a symbol for his bandmates and him all coming together from different backgrounds to form a cohesive whole. On that day, the wind cried, "Nessie."
3. Black Leather Jesus Richard Ramirez is a titan of Houston noise music, capable of eradicating the very souls of every sound wave he gutter-balls into an audience's ear canal.
Here, he was inspired to name his act Black Leather Jesus after reading about the bizarre kidnapping and sexual enslavement of Colleen Stan. Truly it's one of the most horrifying things you'll ever read, and Ramirez wears it like kicky beret. That should sum up his music nicely for you.
2. Skeleton Dick Skeleton Dick is Houston's top non-Hates punk band, and you can't deny that they've got a catchy name. It's the perfect punk combination of offensive and ridiculous. The interview I conducted with them about it remains the single most ridiculous thing that I have ever done in the course of this job, and I cashed a checked for talking about video-game farts.
1. Knights of the Fire Kingdom Former Roky Moon & BOLT drummer Jeoaf Johnson knew that he had hit gold when his daughter told him of a fantasy story she was writing featuring a group of ruffians called the Knights of the Fire Kingdom. Thus was the greatest name in Houston music forged by the imagination of a child.
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"I think fire is awesome because... I dunno why fire is awesome," he told us when we quizzed him on the choice. "I think it's just kind of this mysterious thing. There's a reason that when there's a campfire, everyone stops and stares at it for a while. Nobody really knows why."