IN THE BEGINNING
The year 2010 begat a fiercely hot summer of nerds: every night you would find them thrashing, crowdsurfing furniture, and throwing frozen chicken wings at each other during house shows, and then tripping the light fantastic to Italo and drinking more Early Times than they could ever sweat out. Yes, in the summer of 2010 nerds owned New York; but loftiness got the best of a flock of brainiacs (at the intersection of Silent Barn and Babycastles) who laid what would come to be the most toxic of all Gmail eggs: Band Name Thread.
Band Name Thread is the digitally-preserved follow up to the expression: “Haha, that would make a good band name.” Or a bad one, or a stupid one. Somebody somewhere would have that brief conversation, and then an email would pop into your box titled, “re: band names,” and in it would be a spare list of imagined band names. It was a place where artists could commiserate about the fact that there are So Many Bands. You'd meet a new person for a creative collaborative meeting, and casually bring up that you were in a jokey band-naming union; soon after, they would find that they were in it, too. Before the summer ended there were a hundred people on Band Name Thread.
Submissions ranged from puns (“Blood Bath And Beyond”) to lunacy (“Facebook of Crime”) to proper nouns in one's life (“Krasdale“) to weird sentence bands (“Ants Running from a Charred Catfish”) to a thematic series of bands within a band name email (“President of Sex, Sex President”). N00bs would add suffixes of parenthetical genres “(surf band from probably Little Rock)” but they could never keep it up and nobody really liked all that extra information.
Nerds had hopes for the Thread. Some wanted to hone them down into some kind of Urban Outfitters stocking stuffer (or “art book”) while others wanted to write a program that would count all of the band names that had ever been…
THEN CAME THE FEBRUARY FLOOD (bLiZrT 0f 2011)
(Photos courtesy of G Lucas Crane but technically owned by Facebook.)
The puns and weird sentences and lunacy were drowning inboxes. Users riffed on each other's submissions to keep the output high (I sent in, “Wife Coach,” and Sandy Gordon immediately sent in “Wife Dumpsters”) and then flocked to Facebook for emotional support.
Band Name Threads began striking up on people's Facebook walls. Strangers expressed interest and were quickly added in.
It was such an e-gridlock Kunal Gupta was blocked from Gmail.
(Photo courtesy of Kunal Gupta but technically owned by Facebook.)
When it was all over we met up for “Internet success brunch.”
iPhone users started to send emails begging to be removed from the thread, which only brought them ridicule in the form of band names (“The Bye Bye Jesses,” “Suck My Truck”) and a reluctance to actually remove them, as there are various ways to filter unwanted emails that involve minimal effort.
One morning in the fall of 2011 while I was taking a shower I thought of “Maury Hallelujah,” for the thread but before I sent it in I searched it in my Gmail history: I had already sent it in during the February Flood (along with, “Nypd jews, Nerdbath, Knob mentality”)!!!!
THE BEGINNING OF THE END
Nothing was ever like the bLiZrT 0f 2011 again. Over the past two years nearly all of the core contributors have stopped submitting band names. New people are added and they excitedly email in, give it their all. But there isn't an overarching sportsmanship, nor competitive nature, and eventually the lack of direction deters namers from opening the mail.
“My vision was more like a shitty kind of diet coke that you don't really want but it's there and I guess it makes sense,” Kunal told me in a (private) email, which is sort of the wabi-sabi approach to latter-day Band Name Thread.
What happened to us? Did we get old? (Yes.) Are we not fun anymore? (We're still kinda fun.) Did we fall prey to a nonsexual version of cyber wanderlust?
(Photo courtesy of WordPress user “Secondlifebackpacker.”)
After a rash of senseless one-band band name emails I sent in: “shameful collaborative email thread full of nerds (reggae),” and that, was, apparently, that. It's been at least three days now and the thread is still silent. Time may have spoiled Band Name Thread, but I lit its nest on fire and watched it burn.
Also, I thought of a band name while writing this entry but now I have nowhere to put it: Weimaraner Republic.