Remembering The Arctic Monkeys, Madonna and Bruce Springsteen’s long-forgotten former band names

The 1975 appear to be teasing the return of their old project Drive Like I Do – but they're not the only mega-band with a reunion-worthy moniker

The 1975 have prompted mass speculation after appearing to tease the return of their old band Drive Like I Do. A bunch of glitzy emos, they formed way back in 2002 and then went through band names faster than they churned out Fall Out Boy covers.

Matty Healy and company were also called Me and You Versus Them, Talkhouse, The Slowdown, Bigsleep, and Forever Enjoying Sex (perhaps a good decision to retire that last one).

In 2017 Healy hinted that Drive Like I Do might finally release their incredibly overdue debut album in the “in the coming few years” and it seems that time is almost here. Which got us thinking about some other long-retired band names that are surely due a triumphant victory lap.…

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The Edmund Fitzgerald

Long before fronting Foals, a baby-faced Yannis Philippakis played in The Edmund Fitzgerald alongside his Foals bandmate Jack Bevan. The band borrowed their name from a freighter ship which used to sail America’s great lakes. The SS Edmund Fitzgerald earned a reputation for blasting music over the intercom, but sank in a storm in 1975.

A mathier, more angular prospect than Foals, there are early hints of live giants like ‘Cassius’ at the core of songs like ‘My Quiet Hearts Slight Of Hand’ – a largely instrumental monster spanning 11 minutes. ‘Horses’ remains an absolute ripper to this day. And ‘Eli Cash’ – named after a character from Wes Anderson’s Royal Tenenbaums – is an early glimpse of Jack Bevan smashing the shit out of a drum kit. If they ever bring this earlier project out of retirement, it’ll bring the place down.

MOR

Long before becoming a pop superstar with hits like ‘Lean On’ up her sleeves, Danish artist was in an electro-punk outfit, formed with friend Josefine Struckmann Pedersen when she was 18. “Our music was very trashy and we toured a lot in Europe and New York,” she told The Guardian. “Every week we’d turn up at a new squat in the middle of nowhere and play. We were both activists, campaigning about things such as racism, fascism and women’s rights.”

Like a much scrappier Fever Ray or Le Tigre, the feminist punk duo played blooping, 1980s-tinged hardcore with a chaotic streak: they once released a track called ‘Fisse I Dit Fjæs’ (‘Pussy In Your Face’), which is still a belter. In 2016, she told DIY that it was “one of my favourite songs I ever wrote!” In which case, what are you waiting for, MØ? Announce the reunion already!

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Emmy & the Emmy’s

From country twang to 1980s aerobics powerhouse, creative chameleon Madonna has tried her hand at most genres over the years – but unfortunately, she didn’t made much headway when it come to head-banging punk. Not even ‘Madame X’ dared go there. But a pre-fame Madge gave it a shot with her old band Emmy & the Emmy’s.

Influenced by new wave and the 2 tone scene, there’s also a distinct Blondie influence at the band’s heart. Anyone crossing their fingers for an 1980s punk-rock revival record from Madonna might be waiting a long time – so wouldn’t Emmy be the next best thing?

Cajun Dance Party

A fever dream of floppy-fringed sixth formers with a penchant for whimsical indie-pop, Cajun Dance Party formed back in 2005 and along with classmates, Bombay Bicycle Club (then called The Canals), one of their first gigs was at a school Battle of the Bands. Later, they signed to XL for a reportedly astronomical sum, and released one album before quietly disbanding in 2009.

Nowadays, their guitarist Max Bloom fronts grunge-tinged Yuck, while Daniel Blumberg (who sang in Cajun Dance Party) quit Yuck to release music as Hebronix instead. But looking back on CDP debut ‘The Colourful Life’, it possessed a precocious charm that’s worth revisiting. And to this day, ‘Amylase’ remains the catchiest song ever penned about digestive enzymes. Shout out to GCSE biology.

A full-blown reunion might be a distant dream, but before you chuck your sunflowers into the bin in despair, there’s hope yet. “After ‘The Colourful Life’ was released and before we broke up, there was some really interesting music being made,” Bloom once told DIY. “I would love for people to hear it. It was very different, and actually really good, I really liked it.”

The Castiles

If you’ve ever fancied the sound of Bruce Springsteen channelling a land-locked Beach Boys via a dingy New Jersey basement, look no further than The Castiles: named after a popular soap brand. Springsteen’s first ever group did a roaring trade in Rolling Stones and Beatles covers – but ‘Baby I’ is the first song the rock icon ever recorded. Springsteen and his then-bandmate George Theiss wrote it in the car on the way to a recording studio in a shopping mall. Bring them back, if just for old time’s sake!

The Death Ramps

Cooked up as a pseudonym for their various b-side collaborations, Arctic Monkeys’ bonus moniker appeared for the first time in 2007. To date, the mysterious Death Ramps have lent their name to five tracks, most of them Richard Hawley or Miles Kane link-ups, including ‘Black Treacle’ b-side ‘You and I’ – with Hawley on vocals. The Death Ramps have also appeared on b-sides to ‘Teddy Picker’ and ‘The Hellcat Spangled Shalalala’.

Since 2012, the side-hustle has taken a back seat, but wouldn’t it be ace if the Arctics brought it back – with a few new collaborators to boot. Tame Impala’s Kevin Parker has previously expressed interest in working with Alex Turner – so, lads, you know what to do.

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