It's a well-known fact that most band names are essentially gobbledygook, but here at Rocks Off we're trying hard to find meaning in the oddest monikers.
I was sitting in my office about to begin the night's drinking when Roky Moon and BOLT's Aaron Echegaray came in without knocking. He looked fair the devil, all wild-eyed and needing a shave. He took a seat at my desk and whispered just five words to me.
Knights of the Fire Kingdom.
Then he dropped an address written on the back of a lottery ticket into my empty glass and headed back out into the night to do whatever evil things musicians like him do. I knew that a band of such powerful nameology required explanation and hardcore sleuthing.
The Internet proved a most vexing wench as the band appears to be quite new. One song alone appeared on their Bandcamp page, a headfirst rock tune called "Off Guard." The song is a powerful bit of bang, full of the vigor of Courtney Love's solo work. It's utterly without pretentions, but does manage some rather clever guitar riffs that get stuck in your head. Intrigued, I donned my hat and headed to the address Echegaray gave me.
It was a McDonald's...fucking musicians.
Luckily I had an ace up my sleeve. The guitarist's name was Jeoaf, and the odd spelling of his name resonated in the Jeff Force, allowing me to track him. I found him waiting for a bus on Westheimer, idly fingering a braided lock of blond hair.
"It was my daughter's idea," says Jeoaf. "She is a very creative child and was writing a story kinda along the lines of The Hunger Games or Harry Potter and all that, y'know, fantasy stuff. Some of the side characters were a group of ruffians called Knights of the Fire Kingdom and when she told me about all of it, I thought it was pretty badass.
"Right after we formed the band, we decided that we needed a name," he goes on. "That is simultaneously the most and least important decision a band ever makes. It seemed like a good house for what we were trying to do. It's funny, but it's not. It's funny, but it's badass and it's not funny. And it's weird enough to make people pay attention."
I sat back and thought about that. I have a daughter myself, and children do seem to have a knack for throwing out the odd line that can spark brilliant art. "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds" was written like that, when John Lennon was inspired by his son's drawing of a school chum.
But a kingdom of fire...what would such a place be like? Fire's a mysterious and powerful thing. You don't see many fire gods out there, almost as if humanity fears empowering such a force with a name.
There is at least one, Zhu Rong, the Chinese god of fire. Appropriately enough, he is usually depicted as a knight in black armor riding into battle. He had to fight his own son, a water demon, when the latter attempted to take over heaven. Gamers might be familiar with the pistol in Fallout 3 that bears his name. It fires incendiary rounds.
The bus Jeoaf was waiting for arrived and he slipped the lock of hair into his book. Fumbling for money, I heard him mumble.
"I think fire is awesome because...I dunno why fire is awesome," he admits. "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."
One last look, and he was gone off dual on behalf of strange gods that burn.
Knights of the Fire Kingdom. (n) 1. A Chinese god. 2. A rock band. 3. Funny, but badass and not funny.
Knights of the Fire Kingdom plays at 8 p.m. tonight at Fitzgerald's with Poor Pilate, We Were Wolves and Co-Pilot
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