Thursday May 17, 2012

PITTSFIELD -- After signing his first record contract, rocker George Thorogood was asked the name of his band by a company executive.

There was only one problem, as Thorogood acknowledged to an interviewer years later.

He didn't have one.

"The Destroyers," he blurted out that day in 1976.

When singer Marvin Aday was looking for a new stage name early in his career, he decided on the moniker his former football coach used when he teased him about his weight.

"Meat Loaf."

The English band UB40, meanwhile, took its name from the paperwork that band members had to fill out while they were on the dole in London: Un employment Bureau: (Form) 40.

There are as many stories about how bands acquired their names as there are bands in the world. And the four bands that will perform in Guitar Jam IV at the Colonial Theatre on Sat urday night have their own tales.

Although the Arthur Holmes Blues Band has an obvious name -- the band's founder indeed is Arthur Holmes -- Holmes said recently that he pondered several other names.

"But in the end, it's my band," he said. "So my name is on it."

Regarding the other blues band in Saturday's concert, "T-Bone" was the college nickname of T-Bone Daddy found er Tyler Fairbank.

"My college buddies called me T-Bone, among other things, mostly not suitable for print," Fairbank said. "So when we were contemplating a band name, my daughter threw out T-Bone Daddy.

"We laughed and thought it was great," Fairbank said. "It definitely smacked of the blues, but a bit, quirky, too. Any band that would call themselves T-Bone Daddy couldn't take themselves too seriously."

The band name for The Spurs USA, based in South County, apparently was born of sheer stubbornness.

"We were kicking around a bunch of names when we started out," recalled band co-founder Dwight O'Neil. "And [co-founder] John [Barrett] came up with ‘The Spurs USA.'

"We kicked around a bunch of other names, but John kept insisting our name had to be Spurs USA [because of the band's country/western theme]. And you know John. He's pretty stubborn. So we finally
gave in."

The name of the final Guitar Jam band also is the title of The Who's 1979 album, the last one on which late drummer Keith Moon played. It also is the album's title cut, a raucous tale written by Pete Townsend about a drunken evening in London's Soho section with members of the Sex Pistols.

As the story goes, Townsend later woke up drunk in a doorway. A policeman told him he either could go home or sleep it off in a cell. Townsend pondered the situation and opted for home, but wasn't sure if he knew the policeman in
question.

"Who are you?" he asked the officer.

Garrett Lechowski, founder of the Berkshires band that carries that name, said he believed a Who tribute band needed a strong identification to The Who. He liked Who Are You, "but first, I had to check the Internet to see if there were any other bands with that name."

There were: One in England and one in Germany. But none in the United States, so Lechowski adopted the name.

"The interesting thing is, I've been in contact with the lead singer of the England ‘Who Are You,' " he said. "He's a pretty nice guy. I haven't contacted the singer for the German Who Are You, but I hope to."

To reach Derek Gentile:
dgentile@berkshireeagle.com,
or (413) 496-6251.
On Twitter: @DerekGentile




Guitar Jam IV

When: Saturday, 8 p.m.

Where: Colonial Theatre, 111 South St., Pittsfield.

The bands: Who Are You, The Spurs USA, T-Bone Daddy, Arthur Holmes Blues Band.

Presented by: The Berkshire Eagle.

Tickets: $17 and $27. Available at the Colonial box office or via (413) 997-4444 or www.BerkshireTheatreGroup.org.

Before the show: Lenox folk trio Mountain Breeze will perform in the lobby from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Free admission.