Naming Things ( like bands)

One of the pleasures of starting musical groups has been coming up with names.  It is a chance to define one’s identity, to give shape to a thing, and get a sense of control.  These are the bands that I have been in: formed the name.     The Full Moon Jazz Collective. Toads and Frogs.  Crocodo strut, The Intuitive Bikers. The smoked oyster trio. The Seekers of  Beauty.  Har/ Har.  King Kiwi.  The hanging trio ( later called the Unsound trio)   Combo Mocha. Full Moon Rabbit.  Keys Please ( not really a band)Scrawny Johnny and the ska heads.   The bitonal curry boyz.  Topical birds.  And recentlty, “ the Pirates of Possibilities”

It is great pleasure to drink verbal tea  with your buddies, eating chips and naming things, even yourself.  But it is also kind of exhausting.  If the name is too clever, too cute, too whimsical, then it detracts from the music.

And face it.  I am  not planning on breaking open the popular music market.   An acquaintance ( our daughters were friends) tried to convince  me to write “ just one popular song…. Then you can go back to  doing what you want)    I don’t think it is that easy.   I already make compromises when I work. It’s necessary.

The purpose of music ( for me)  is not to get rich from it.  I want to be enriched.   That’s the difference.   If  my music starts to pay for itself, that is a good start!

So names.  I love the idea of being “ the Pirates of Possibilities”  It is a name that  my friend Juliann, ( the school social worker/belly dancer) gave me years ago, to defend my randomness.   It worked for a while.. But my guys, were a bit restless with it.  I thought about it too.  My music is not just whimsical- it is not dirge music, but perhaps a different kind of name would be better.

“ let’s think of another name!  “ I thought.

They had suggested “ the Todd Harper trio”….. but hey!  I am not Bill Evans. Nor so many others.

It couldn’t be “ my” trio.  They are completely original,  independent musicians themselves.

I generated a bunch of ideas…. Todd  Harper & the…. Tip ups: March Wind: Hope: Randoms: catch & release; geometric poets: sharp hooks; Anglers: Kinickinic: wild trout: troustongs: wind: birdwalk: and on and on.  A look on line saw many of these names already taken: there is at least one site devoted as a “ random band name generator”.   I balked at that.

So we decided on the simplest:    the HARPER, LEGGETT,FOREMAN  trio.

We are going to name the  recording “ the Pirates of  Possibilities”.  I am proud to have my name with these very good, pure-hearted friends.  Peter Leggett and Andrew Foreman are the poster boys for an ideal rhythm section:  they like my tunes, have ear chops as well as technical chops.  Their lives are not clouded by darkness and bitterness, and they know how to use tools.  I am so fortunate to be playing with them

It is a big sense of relief not to have to live up to a name: we can  just focus on the music, and catching people’s attention so they can hear it.  But most of all, enjoying the music as many moments as possible, which really means enjoying our lives.    Have a great week, and catch the Harper, Leggett, Foreman trio at the Black Dog, this Friday, and  the next ( March 1) , at 5:30-7:15.  We will record in August!Imagec,


  1. It’s a good name. If you don’t get bookings, at least you can scare the pant off of club owners when they see your name on the envelope. Sounds like a big law firm! LOL!


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