Excellent Spanish band Deers have had to change their name to Hinds for legal reasons. "We received an email from a Canadian lawyer saying that our name created confusion with his band’s name. And that name is not even Deers (LOL). We tried our best, really, but we have no choice. So.. OK! Let’s take this with a smile :) !" they wrote. Here's 16 other changes to show they're in good company.
Suede, for instance, were made to trade under the London Suede in the US due to there being another Suede, and one wonders if sounding like a dodgy outfitters off the Goldhawk Road hampered success stateside.
The first rule of band naming is not to go with a trademark. Corporations have money, and they will sue you for misappropriating their name. Xerox Teens were forced to become XX Teens, which let’s face it, wasn’t as good.
Death From Above angered record label DFA by inadvertently borrowing the words the initials stand for when they named their rather marvellous dance-punk duo. To allay any confusion they added 1979 at the end of their name, chosen because Sebastien Grainger of the band has it tattooed on his arm. Death From Above 1979. Strong.
When John Garcia decided to take Kyuss on the road again, he was forced to change the name to Kyuss Lives! due to antipathy from Josh Homme. Homme wasn’t done either; following a federal lawsuit by the Queens of the Stone Age man, they’re now not allowed to be called that either! Kyuss Lives! now play out as Vista Chino.
The Chemical Brothers started out as the Dust Brothers, but there was another Dust Brothers in America, so they became the Chemical Brothers. Which is probably the better nomenclature if we’re honest. Well done, Ed and Tom.
What’s in a name? Make that ‘what’s in a vowel sound’? Santogold changed her name to Santigold and issued a press release saying “She’s not telling you why, that’s how it is”. The reason why was a lawsuit from jeweller and sometime filmmaker Santo Gold, director of the 1985 sci-fi wrestling B-flick Santo Gold’s Blood Circus. No, we’ve not seen it either.
Richard Ashcroft seemed to spend more time fighting litigation than actually playing in his band back in the 90’s. Famously the Verve were taken to the cleaners by Andrew Loog Oldham for the use of a sample on ‘Bittersweet Symphony’, and another time Verve were forced to change their name. Imaginatively they went with 'The Verve.'
Jimmy Page was only lead guitarist in the Yardbirds for a year, and while Eric Clapton and Jeff Beck were difficult acts to follow, he’s said to have OWNED the band. He didn’t own the name however, and past members sued when he tried to call his new outfit The New Yardbirds. Page then remembered an offhand comment by Keith Moon, and Led Zeppelin became a thing.
Oh Brother, Brother got into a right pickle when they were forced to change their name by another Brother, purveyors of didgeridoo rock and celtic beardiness. They were certainly not brothers from another mother. Brother became Viva Brother, and then after all that, only went and split up about a week later.
Here’s an interesting story. The Raconteurs remained with the name The Raconteurs in all regions, except in Australia, where they were forced to change their name to The Saboteurs due to there being another Raconteurs in the home of the Wallabies. Which gave everybody something to talk about.
Peter Cetera’s Chicago originally went by the name Chicago Transit Authority, which was all fine and dandy until the actual Chicago Transit Authority got annoyed. A quick name change and Chicago was born.
Twin Sister went through a difficult change but came out the other side even stronger, as Mr Twin Sister. Legal reasons were cited, though perhaps their song ‘Out of the Dark’, with the lyrics “I am a woman, but inside I'm a man, and I want to be as gay as I can”, explains it far better than any boring legal jargon can.
The Charlatans were forced to become The Charlatans UK in the USA, to make them distinctive from the original Charlatans across the pond. Plonking a ‘UK’ at the end of your name is the email equivalent of Jenny78 isn’t it?
Westlife might have sounded a bit more street had they gone with their original name, Westside. Lawsuits were threatened, and a hip direction turned into insipid no.1 smashes on stools sung over the musical equivalent of bum gravy. Oh well.
When The Doors’ Jim Morrison died they had a problem. How do you go on when your singer IS The Doors? You hire Ian Astbury from the Cult to stand in. Doors drummer John Densmore didn’t like the arrangement of the band trading under the same name, and a judge eventually agreed. The Doors became The Doors of the 21st Century.
David Jones was trundling along getting nowhere in the 1960’s, and then along came the Monkees and confusion abounded pretty much nowhere but the South London Jones household at the fact there was another Davy Jones in showbiz. Our man Jones changed his name to David Bowie, a more starry name don’t you think? The public certainly thought so...