Loch Ness Radio: The Wind Cries Nessie

It's a well-known fact that band names are essentially gobbledygook, but here at Rocks Off we're trying to find meaning in the oddest monikers.

Well friends and enemies, your faithful name-gamer is back after spending some time locked in a windowless room being questioned by three guys with Swiss Army knives. Believe us, if you knew what a corkscrew and that thing that gets stones out of horse's shoes could do to the human body you'd never question the battle ability of the Swiss Army again. Luckily, our captors died of scurvy and we escaped.

Back at our secret, name decoding lair we did what we usually do and pulled up the Super Happy Fun Land concert schedule to see what the Internet held for us in terms of fuel for the fire. The gods must be kind because the very first band name that appeared blurry in the monitor, was that of Loch Ness Radio.

The band is fun to judge from the recordings that are online. They make their home on the spectrum somewhere between the thunder of The Cult and the absolute no-fucks-to-give-ness of Houston's own Giant Princess. It's raw, but like on a Stooges album, the talent shines out through the red.

Rocks Off is particularly pleased with the drumming of Paul Ford, who sounds like some kind of organized avalanche that singer Kevin Hogan is always running just ahead of. It matches the excitement of the music.

But that name... Loch Ness Radio. It haunts us, you see?

When you grow up with no religion, you tend to latch onto what is mysterious to fill the void other people fill with God's teachings. Well, we didn't have that. We had the Loch Ness Monster, and frankly it was a very hard Thursday two years ago when we sighed and admitted that we no longer believed in the creature's existence. Loch Ness Radio brought back that horrible, empty day, and we had to know why the used our fractured faith to sell concert tickets.

Rather than sending me out to an exotic locale, the Houston Press kindly allowed us to use the satellite hookup to speak to the band all the way on the other side town. Our still-healing psychic wounds make long-distance travel like that difficult.

"Well, Loch Ness is a mysterious place that is very difficult to explore due to the murky Guinness-stout-like water, so Loch Ness comes from that," said Hogan, his voice tinny on the ancient World War II-era equipment.

"The imagery of classic vintage radios floating to the top of the murky loch waters popped into my mind one day," he explained. "To me, I guess the name means four guys with different tastes in music, coming to together to let the cards fall where they may."

Right there you can see through the mists of faith exactly why we used to hold onto our Time-Life book series like it was the Dead Sea Scrolls. The mysterious, the uncanny, the Fortean world of the unexplainable. Apparently it wasn't just us. Hogan had felt it, too, and when it came time to guild his group with a shield he chose the queen of modern dragons for the band's heraldry.

But other monsters peer in at us through the lens of the History Channel. As our old religion washed back over us, we wondered who else Loch Ness Radio would recruit to their cause.

"The bastard child of Bigfoot and chupacabra," replied guitarist Dru Watkins.

And just like that, the bubble burst again.

There hasn't been a single good bit of evidence for Bigfoot put forth yet, and some of the stories really are truly ridiculous. Furthermore, the Bigfoot phenomenon has seen even more hoaxers come forward than Nessie has. As for the chupacabra, they're coyotes with mange. Nothing more. Nothing less.

The most famous photo of Nessie, the Surgeon's Photo (pictured above), was eventually revealed to be a hoax submitted by a gynecologist named Robert Wilson as part of a plot to help big-game hunter Marmaduke Wetherell get back at the Daily Mail, which had publicly mocked Wetherell. The iconic image was just a monster head sculpted on top of a toy submarine.

"How do we know you're not just a hoax," we muttered into the transmitter.

"We would never call a gynecologist a liar," replied Hogan. The feed abruptly switched off, and we were unable to raise the band again. Maybe we never had in the first place. The search for Loch Ness Radio continues.


Loch Ness Radio (n): 1. Punky rocky yelly not baddy; 2. The mysterious and little-seen word; 3. A loss of faith.

Loch Ness Radio plays with Downtown Brown and Muzak tomorrow at Super Happy Fun Land.

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