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.
When we first began our quest to beat some sense out of various band names it was simple. We just looked up who was playing at Super Happy Fun Land, because you are not allowed to play there unless your name is some kind of outlandish connection of unrelated words. Seriously, we've played that and that stipulation is part of the contract we signed along with prohibitions against riding tricycles or hurting the unicorns.
As we became more and more famous across the world for our nomenclature studies, we sort of moved away from SHFL, but one band has brought us back: Minneapolis' Sleeping in the Aviary. They have earned our eternal allegiance with the most brilliant marketing technique we have ever seen for their album You and Me, Ghost.
Some make music videos, some give away prizes, Sleeping in the Aviary made a freakin' infomercial. Watch this, and don't you dare turn it off before the end.
Everything that needs to be said about this band and their music has already been said better than we could ever hope to say it by Fancy Ray McCloney, but that name...
Sleeping in the Aviary? What the hell does that mean? Why would you sleep in the aviary? Birds live there. They're going to poop on your possessions and possibly pluck out your peepers like jujubes. Luckily, the infomercial offered a toll free number with operators standing by so we dialed 1-832-30-GHOST to speak to front man Elliot Kozel and ask him where the name comes from.
"It's cologne for men in Australia," said Kozel. "I got it as a Christmas present in my stocking one year from my crazy uncle from Sydney. It means family, good times, good meals and good friends. It means half off drinks from 3-7 p.m. It means 'a mixture of fragrant essential oils and/or aroma compounds, fixatives, and solvents, used to give the human body, animals, objects, and living spaces "a pleasant scent"'."
So... the band was named after stinkum from down under. We guess that makes some sort of sense for a band that just spent almost 10 minutes having a drunken man with no shirt tell us that Sleeping in the Aviary was a No. 1 love-song producer. How else are you going to get the ladies except by smelling like Paul Hogan?
We thought there might be more to it than that. A band name can follow you for years. It's a sigil that you flash into the sky in order to strike fear into the cowardly, superstitious lot.
It just didn't seem right that a group brilliant enough to conceive that video was just going to walk around sharing space with a bottle of questionable liquid gifted from a strange uncle.
"What's your favorite bird?" we asked, stalling for time.
"Larry Byrd," said Kozel. "The greatest bird of all time. Byrd knocked out Sherman Bergman in 33 seconds of the first round in the 147-pound Open Division at the South Florida Regional Golden Gloves Boxing Tournament at the Elizabeth Virrick Gym in Coconut Grove, Florida in February 1981.
"Byrd reportedly compiled a 50-7 (35 knockouts) amateur record."
"Wasn't he the welterweight who had nine straight knock out victories in a row?" we asked, but just then the call was cut off. The time limit had expired on the limited time offer of a free bottle of car wax with purchase of You and Me, Ghost. An attempt to redial brought only frustration as we met the impudent beeping of the busy signal.
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Sleeping in the Aviary (n): 1. A limited time offer. 2. The smell of Paul Hogan. 3. A boxing weight class.
Sleeping in the Aviary plays Thursday, October 20, at Super Happy Fun Land with Grace in Folly and This Time I Brought Bombs.