It's a well-known fact that most band names are essentially gobbledygook, but here at Rocks Off were working hard t find meaning in the oddest monikers.
Your humble narrator does a lot of writing for the Houston Press, the editors of which are very keen to publish our work in return for us keeping certain facts relating to alcohol, horse theft, and trips to Lufkin from becoming generally known. Over the course of our career, we've learned which venue will provide the bands we seek to fill our columns.
If you want an up-and-coming band that is getting national attention but still easily accessible to do the 30 Seconds With... column, then you look up the House of Blues calendar. If you want an angry band willing to attack a mainstream act in the [Ed. Note: recently retired] Cage Match you visit Fitzgerald's or Mango's Web sites.
However, if it's batshit insane bands with equally batshit insane names for What's in a Name, then only Super Happy Fun Land can be called a reliable local provider.
Which brings us to Ruston, La., natives To Quote: The Scientist. Their music is a somewhat empty sounding but surprisingly infectious light indie rock. While the songs are generally an upbeat lot, there always seems to be a hole in the sound, as if they are waiting for you to join in but knowing you're too awkward ever to do so. Like a threesome, for example!
Easily our favorite song of theirs is "I'll Try to Save You, But You Won't Remember." The title alone, like a cross between the irony of the Smiths and the heartbreak of Spider-Man: Blue is enough to want it tattooed on our arm. It's a graveside dance, a Say Anything moment to someone who isn't there, and we really dig the way it makes us sadly happy.
That name, though... To Quote: The Scientist? What are you guys, a group of the know-it-all pricks who walk around making the rest of us feel dumb because we don't know which the stalagmites are and which are the stalactites? Or is there some really great scientist quote that serves as your motto. And if that's true why not just call yourselves the quote? The more we thought about ti the more we had to know what the hell was going on.
The only thing to do was borrow the Houston Press hovercraft and take off across the wasteland to meet with the band before they journey to our fair city. Guitarist/vocalist Cody Berry joined us in the craft's lounge while Katya served us screwdrivers made with our sadly low stock of Blavod - must remember to jet to England and pick up another case.
"I got the name To Quote: The Scientist from my school," remarked Berry. "I was in biology, when another student made a very... unintelligent... statement, and my overly sarcastic biology teacher said, 'And that's to quote the scientist right there.'
"I had been in the process of coming up with a name for my old hardcore project and since a lot of band names are being started with the first word being a preposition, that phrase 'to quote the scientist' stuck in my head.
"A few weeks later I was in my English III class and we began talking about punctuating quotes. When we got to colons I thought, 'Well I guess I should put one in my band name since it's about quoting.' Although it was a silly thought at first it actually caught on with the easier more light-rock indie band we have today."
Usually, Rocks Off is against random colons in any form, not to mention the horror of its perpendicular perverted pal the umlaut. Still, we get a kick out of TQ:TS, so we decided to let it slide. Quotig was the thing to tackle now. Obviously we wanted to hear whatever stupidity inspired berry's teacher to utter her life-altering sarcastic quipt, but Berry declined.
Instead, he shared with us his favorite quote. It's a line from Aaron Gillespie, the half-blind drummer of the metalcore band Underoath.
No one will ever see things the way I do. No one will try. - Aaron Gillespie
What Gillespie said resonates true for any artist. The curse of creativity is that you see the world not as it is, but as it could be. You hear random noise and conceive it as melody, harmony, poetry and rhythm. You listen to a teacher's lecture and grasp the implications of utilizing the knowledge. You hear stupidity and see a way to harness it into a vehicle for your vision.
It's a blessing and a curse, and we remarked so to Berry. He'd loosened up considerably, though he was a little skeptical of his drink. Black vodka tends to make screwdrivers look like a glass of iced diarrhea. Once he'd overcome his reticence, though he began to expound a bit.
"To Quote: The Scientist means years of trying again and again to get a solid foundation in music," he said. "It means finally getting a collection of songs together and getting into the studio to record our Tabula Rasa EP. It means breathing easy and feeling at home again."
With that Katya led him out of the hovercraft and we began piloting our way back Houston. All the way home through the hot night a quote from one of our greatest scientists kept us cool.
Imagination is more important than knowledge. -Albert Einstein
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To Quote: the Scientist (n): 1. A measure of ridicule; 2. Indie-rock for a rainy day; 3. A random colon.
To Quote: the Scientist plays tonight at Super Happy Fun Land