Three little letters, and it was time to fight.
August 22, 2014 6:36 PM   Subscribe

The Loudest Word in Rock and Roll: "In a lot of ways it's really perfect and very cool, almost gang-like: 'We are The Stooges or The Kinks or The Sisters of Mercy.' The mind-set is, 'There is only one of us and we are it and we are gonna do it our way, no mercy.'"

Current opinion seems to disfavor the leading 'The'. Paste's 100 Best Band Names has 10 starting with 'The'; The Weekling's 50 Greatest Band Names has 6; SPIN's 40 Greatest Band Names [multipage, sorry] has 8. (There may be some methodological issues with this survey: SPIN omits the 'The' from 'The Brian Jonestown Massacre'.)
posted by We had a deal, Kyle (36 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

Although I suppose it is much of a muchness, I associate "The" as a defining part of a name less with the definite article or rock and roll in general and more with "a daytime TV chat show that is slowly starving you in a variety of ways." Viz. The View, The Talk, The Chew, The Social, The Doctors, The Nag, The Bleat, and The Appeal To Emotion.

Maybe those proud scions of daytime TV view themselves as a gang of roughs, some roaring beast righting societal wrongs and slinging careful tips about the best water bottle, but careful consideration has led me to believe they are just in it for the money.

Much of a muchness.
posted by angerbot at 6:49 PM on August 22, 2014 [4 favorites]

Tangential to the thrust of the article, I know, but this camcorder video of David Sandström playing The Deadly Rhythm is mindblowing. The Refused rule.

My band left "The" off our name, but half the time we would be referred to as The Sunrunners instead of just Sunrunners.
posted by Existential Dread at 6:52 PM on August 22, 2014 [2 favorites]

They missed their chance to use one of my favorite obscure words: anarthrous.
posted by benito.strauss at 6:58 PM on August 22, 2014 [4 favorites]

I'm surprised they got through that article without citing The The.
posted by AsYouKnow Bob at 7:02 PM on August 22, 2014 [13 favorites]

All I know is that from a technical standpoint working in the music business, "The" just adds needless confusion. My days are spent searching and sorting through various band names and "The ____" bands always leads to double entries, having to search twice because it's under the other version (without "The"), weeding out small indie bands that have the same name as a bigger band but lack the "The" at the beginning, etc.

Don't get me started on working with The The...
posted by downtohisturtles at 7:05 PM on August 22, 2014 [3 favorites]

The Caped Commander of The Aquabats has strong opinions on this matter.
posted by delfin at 7:09 PM on August 22, 2014

Just "pixies" right? Or are / were they not particular?
posted by grobstein at 7:10 PM on August 22, 2014 [1 favorite]

the overthought plate of beans
posted by pyramid termite at 7:25 PM on August 22, 2014 [2 favorites]

"The If"

"The And"

"The Butt"
posted by oceanjesse at 7:46 PM on August 22, 2014

"The" is hardly limited to day time TV. The Tonight Show, The Late Show, The Today Show, thr Merv Griffin Show, The Smother Brothers Comedy Hour, The Jackie Gleason Show, The Guiding Light, Thr Edge of Night....long before The View.
posted by Ideefixe at 7:47 PM on August 22, 2014 [2 favorites]

Count me as a "The" man. Although I could go "and The" for the right kind of band.
posted by ob1quixote at 8:04 PM on August 22, 2014 [2 favorites]

1957 Johnny and His Silver Beatles
1960 The Beatles
1967 The Amazing Psychedelic Beetles of Love
1970 Beatle
1973 Lennon, McCartney, Harrison & Starr
1977 The Beaten
1980 Beater
1984 The Beat
1988 Beat Me!
1993 Beeltejuice
2000 J-P Rhymes and & DJ Beetz, feat. Silent George
2010 A Flaming Pie He Said
2015 ??
posted by Herodios at 8:13 PM on August 22, 2014 [16 favorites]

Reminds me of that episode of The West Wing where Josh gets corrected for asking if the band is "The Foo Fighters". Later he's all awkward... "I love t... Foo Fighters...".

It sounds stupid.
posted by Justinian at 8:22 PM on August 22, 2014 [3 favorites]

The name of this band is Talking Heads
posted by chrchr at 8:34 PM on August 22, 2014

The Paste article omitted the "The" in its "Jesus Lizard" entry.

I'll get the thumbscrews.
posted by scatter gather at 8:47 PM on August 22, 2014 [1 favorite]

Pissed Jeans. Just so right for that band. It's perfect.
posted by Hoopo at 9:11 PM on August 22, 2014

Also death grips
posted by Hoopo at 9:12 PM on August 22, 2014

A quick survey of the bands I've been in in the last ten years or so came up at 6 with and 8 without.
posted by sourwookie at 9:13 PM on August 22, 2014

I've never heard 'Pixies' referred to without a 'the' in front of them, but afaik the band don't use it.
posted by Sebmojo at 10:20 PM on August 22, 2014

Last week I accidentally discovered The Savages while looking for Savages and was briefly very confused about their change in direction (but hey, both good).

Every band should have a The-less/The-ful doppelganger shadow version of themselves from an alternate dimension. I want to hear an album by cutesy science-folk group The T-Rex, the wonky piano jazz stylings of Black Keys, power cock rock from The Joan Baez and solo klezmer-skiffle from Mott Hoople.
posted by forgetful snow at 1:01 AM on August 23, 2014 [4 favorites]

Also kind of amusing how much of the music press in the 1960s and early 1970s assumed any band name starts with "The" by default, as in references to "The Pink Floyd" in write-ups. I think it inadvertently became a marker indicating whether the speaker really understood the music and culture, or whether they get the name of the band wrong and are instantly known to be on the outside.

It's like the recent wave of twee indie bands and their facial hair and overly rambling band names, which I can never remember, because I'm old now...
posted by krinklyfig at 3:00 AM on August 23, 2014 [1 favorite]

Metafilter: The Metafilter
posted by Segundus at 5:29 AM on August 23, 2014 [1 favorite]

Taken to its logical conclusion with The The.
posted by clvrmnky at 5:47 AM on August 23, 2014

Don't forget other languages, for example: Die Krupps or Los Lobos
posted by Renoroc at 6:08 AM on August 23, 2014 [1 favorite]

Came for a mention of The Ink Spots; was not disappointed #fallout4eva
posted by hanov3r at 8:27 AM on August 23, 2014

I'm fond of band names that were obviously crafted just to mess with the poster billing, e.g. Of Montreal.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 8:43 AM on August 23, 2014

I'm wondering if that magazine ever consider naming itself "Atlantic".
posted by MtDewd at 8:49 AM on August 23, 2014

The The: how is it pronounced, though? We have Thuh Thuh, Thuh Thee, Thee Thee, Thee Thuh, and "oh, that Matt Johnson thinks he's so clever". Even though he really is.
posted by Zack_Replica at 10:22 AM on August 23, 2014 [3 favorites]

Can apply to other things as well, like The Google.
posted by arcticseal at 11:31 AM on August 23, 2014

Critically missing from Paste's "The (Mostly) Complete Sentence" subsection:

The Birds are Spies, They Report to the Trees
posted by vibratory manner of working at 11:42 AM on August 23, 2014

I honestly have never figured out if Chrissie Hynde's band should be called "Pretenders" or "The Pretenders". Either seems good to me.
posted by enjoymoreradio at 2:06 PM on August 23, 2014

Also, The Band might be the best example of a necessary "The". Can you imagine saying you were listening to "Band"?
posted by enjoymoreradio at 2:08 PM on August 23, 2014 [2 favorites]

"The If"

"The And"

"The Butt"

I actually knew a guy in a band called The And, in Madison in the late 80's, and I just spent 10 minutes on google trying to prove it. Finally! Hi Matt!
posted by hap_hazard at 2:52 PM on August 23, 2014

My favorite anecdote pertains to "A Flock of Seagulls". That was their original name. But as time, fame, and money wore on (i.e. disappeared), the band had a bit of a split/disagreement/kerfuffle. One of the members (Score? can't remember) kept on touring as "THE Flock of Seagulls". The show was as pathetic as it sounds.
posted by readyfreddy at 9:24 PM on August 23, 2014

The Loudest Word in Rock and Roll

Interesting choice for a lead photo. That's three Beatles miming on Dutch television with Jimmy Nichol on drums. (On an absurdly high drum riser.) Nichols depped for Ringo on six gigs in the summer of 1964 when Ringo fell out with tonsillitis.

Out of all the thousands of available photos and movie stills of the Fabs in performance, they selected one that illustrates not The Beatles, but Some Beatles.
posted by Herodios at 7:10 PM on August 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

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