How did you name your band?
The Eagle did, so we asked a slew of groups that are based or regularly play in the Berkshires to describe how they came up with their names. The responses ranged from the unexpected to the unfortunately predictable.
WHAT IS IT ABOUT WHISKEY?
Let's get this one out of the way.
The Whiskey Treaty Roadshow and Whiskey City are two of the more popular bands that frequently book gigs in Berkshire County. Beyond that and the whole "whiskey" thing, they don't share much in common, though.
"There's really no connection [between the groups]," Whiskey Treaty singer-songwriter Billy Keane said during a recent telephone interview.
For Whiskey Treaty, a group consisting of five singer-songwriters who blend rock with roots music, the name stemmed from a decision made by Susie Hanna, the wife of band member Tory Hanna. In 2012, she started an annual music festival in Greenfield. When she noticed that the musicians participating seemed to have a mutual interest in singing about whiskey, she opted to call it the Whiskey Treaty Music Festival, Keane said. Eventually, many of the participants decided to play together in a group. An homage to their festival roots seemed fitting, and they decided to take their show on the road, Keane said.
For country-rockers Whiskey City, the band's founder and frontman, Randy Cormier, kept saying "Bourbon Town" initially, according to vocalist and tambourine player Beth Maturevich. Cormier's significant other, Heidi, suggested "city."
"[T]hat was how the magic all started," Maturevich wrote in an email, noting that the group typically plays once per month in the Berkshires at venues such as Pittsfield's Tavern at the A, East Otis' Knox Trail Inn and Great Barrington's James A. Modolo VFW Post 8348.
Now that we have that settled ...
ONLY ONE MEAT REFERENCE
Chops and Sauerkraut, a rockabilly and honky-tonk outfit, derives its moniker from two of its band members' nicknames.
"Sauerkraut Seth is my nickname simply because I have been making organic sauerkraut professionally for 15 plus years both for Hawthorne Valley Farm and under my own label, Sauerkraut Seth's," Seth Travins wrote in an email. "Michael 'Chops' LaConte got his nickname Chops from the large sideburns he sports. He was playing the upright bass and was in the NYC rockabilly scene [when] he was dubbed Chops by a fellow musician. When Chops joined the New York Mets clubhouse crew in the [mid-1980s], everyone who worked for the Mets went by nicknames, and that's when Chops as a name started to stick."
The two musicians met at the Old Egremont Club in the early 2000s, but are currently based in Hudson, N.Y., with drummer/singer Jim "Krewtons" Krewson, "who likes to say he's the carbs in the band," Travins wrote.
Chops and Sauerkraut has performed at The Barn at the Egremont Village Inn in South Egremont, as well as the Taconic Wayside Inn in Copake Falls, N.Y.
NOT ABOUT WALL STREET?
Barons of Becket, a rock power trio, aren't alluding to any magnates with their name. One night, the group was practicing when drummer Derrick Rodgers' dog, Baron, came and joined them. Someone called their four-legged friend, "Baron of Becket," and a band name was soon born, according to member Patrick Prendergast. The two-legged Barons can often be found at Papa Bob's Entertainment Hall in Becket. They recently played at the Knox Trail Inn.
NOD TO TRADITION, LITERATURE
Jazz group The Lucky 5, which performs every Sunday night from 6:30 to 9 p.m. at Prairie Whale in Great Barrington, draws from history for its name.
"Traditional 'hot jazz' bands back in the day would typically be named for the number of players in the band, most notably Louis Armstrong's Hot Five and Hot Seven bands, so we wanted to go with that type of name, and 'Lucky' seemed to fit our style, thus The Lucky 5 was born!" band member Kip Beacco wrote in an email.
The Cannibal Ramblers look to literature. Guitarist and vocalist Mark Milloff is a "Moby Dick" enthusiast, creating visual art inspired by the novel. The duo was originally called the Kokovoko Cannibal Ramblers.
"'Queequeg was a native of Kokovoko, an island far away to the West and South. It is not down in any map; true places never are,'" Milloff wrote in an email, quoting Herman Melville's famous work.
The Cannibal Ramblers will perform at one of their haunts, The Brick House Pub in Housatonic on Saturday.
After Ours, a husband-wife duo from Cheshire, is a promoter and spell-checker's nightmare, but Mark and Bonnie Parsons weren't afraid to use a pun to convey their affectionate performances.
"The name 'After Ours' hinted toward our flirty nature on stage," Bonnie Parsons wrote in an email. "My husband likes to describe it as 'Ours, as in third person, possessive plural!'"
After Ours plays on the first Friday of every month at North Adams' Freight Yard Restaurant & Pub, covering Top 40 and classic rock tunes and mixing in originals.
Rock and soul duo SIRSY doesn't perform as much in the Berkshires — two or three times per year, according to Capital Region-based members Melanie (Mel) Krahmer and Rich Libutti — but its name is also informed by a close tie. "'SIRSY' is a nickname that [my] sister Michelle gave me when we were kids. She called me 'SIRSY' instead of 'SISTER' or 'SISSY,'" Krahmer wrote in an email. "We spelled it phonetically because, well, we were kids. Contrary to popular opinion, we are not named after the character on 'Game of Thrones.' "
GREEN MOUNTAIN INFLUENCES
The Hale Mountain Pickers play bluegrass throughout Berkshire County, southern Vermont, and New York's Capital Region, but only the Green Mountain State can take credit for the group's name.
"[The] name comes from a small mountain located in Shaftsbury, Vermont, where the band leader grew up," group member and Adams native Joni Charbonneau wrote in an email, alluding to guitarist and vocalist Ed Ransom.
Pinedrop members Charlie Peckar and Derek Sensale were scrambling for a band name in 2015 when the Brattleboro, Vt., group was saved by an organism in need of saving.
"We somehow stumbled upon a list of endangered plants in Vermont and came [across] Pinedrops," Peckar wrote in an email.
The folk/bluegrass band has played at the Freshgrass festival twice and will perform at Hotel on North on Friday.
The Band of Introverts features David Reed's homemade instruments. It might be tough to get any of the band's members to talk about them, though.
"We chose the name 'Introverts' because, well, all three of us are introverts," Reed wrote in an email. "We really like other people (just not gregarious!), can be pretty funny at times, but tend to be shy, quiet and really, really like our alone time. On stage, there's not a lot of hale-fellow-well-met banter and idle chit-chat. We have a job to do and prefer to let the music be the messenger."
The Band of Introverts will try to accomplish just that on Thursday night at The Barn at the Egremont Village Inn.
ABOUT THE SOUND
Band member Eric Thomas came up with the name for Berkshire County road warriors Shyne, according to bandmate Brad Licht. "He wanted something that would grab people's attention," Licht said by phone.
Misty Blues Band lead vocalist Gina Coleman founded the Williamstown-based group that plays about 60 percent of its 150 shows per year Berkshire County, she estimated in an email. Settling on a name for the band wasn't so time-consuming, though.
"I came up with Misty Blues off the top of my head," Coleman wrote.
Meggie Baker contributed to this story.
Benjamin Cassidy can be reached at email@example.com, at @bybencassidy on Twitter and 413-496-6251.
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