What’s in a name (part II)


Brian Golden

Due to the fact that my last blog, “What’s in a name?,” ran much longer than anticipated, I promised to finish it off with part two. I’ll pick up my chronological tale of the bands I’ve performed with right where I left off, sometime in late February or early March of 2003, I believe.

Badweather Blues Band
This Southern-Tier-based blues/rock, funk and soul ensemble’s offer to become its lead guitarist caught me completely by surprise in early 2003. Fools at Play remained in limbo at the time and it was an offer I couldn’t turn down. I’d been a fan of the band since its first appearance at the Music Shop Pub years before and, little did I know, this would eventually mark my longest tenure in any single group. I’m not certain where the original leader of the band, K.B., came up with the name, but in time a permanent roster of musicians settled in, including myself, Hop, Sonny Boy, the Ringer, the Hurricane and the Reverend (official members of the band were assigned nicknames, somehow I ended up with Goldmember). Over the years this band became a kind of extended family to me, until, that is, my dismissal via e-mail in December of 2009 (similar to the way the Allman Brothers got rid of Dickey Betts, so at least I’m in good company). I still consider several members of the band my close friends, others, not so much.

The Pub Crawlers/The Voodoo Mystics
Both of these bands were made up of the same musicians, so I figured I might as well kill two birds with one stone. Mike O. (keyboards), Jimmy John (bass), Bobby T. (drums) and I formed this group as the “house band” at the Music Shop Pub during my time with Badweather. More recently, we reformed as The Voodoo Mystics, and still perform on occasion when we can find time in each of our busy schedules. The Pub Crawler’s name was one of approximately 25 entries submitted in a Name the Band contest we held at our first show. The winner received a Yuengling golf umbrella, among other prizes, if I remember correctly.

Plainman Brown
Another band featuring best friend Tozer and myself, in addition to Mike Davis, Anthony Dorian and Jes Sheldon. One of my favorite band names due primarily to the way in which it was “discovered.” While working with my father and a mutual friend, hired for a particularly difficult carpet job in a 150-year-old cabin, our helper (who knew I was in search of a band name) found the words plainman brown painted on the sub-floor beneath an ancient carpet, probably the first ever installed in the structure. I’m guessing it was probably the paint color originally used in that room. Something about it stuck in my head and when I passed the information on to the rest of the group the decision was unanimous to adopt it as our name. A great band that could have gone somewhere if circumstances had turned out differently (Davis and I as a songwriting team and guitar tandem were particularly fun to listen to).

Master Thieves
My current, Syracuse-based ensemble, which finds me partnered once again with Tozer (I’m sensing a pattern here) and one I’m enjoying immensely. In addition to my best friend and I, the band features the Chuckster, also on guitar, Denise on vocals and fiddle and Mark on bass. I fell into this band completely by accident and it’s transformed from a classic rock/jam band into an original outfit that still performs covers of the two genres. We’re preparing to enter the studio for an all-original album in November (something I’m extremely excited for) and things are running pretty smoothly. The name, if I’m not mistaken, is taken from a Bob Dylan song that I’m not sure I’ve ever even heard. What’s really interesting is we’ve only just begun to perform some of my originals. The majority are Chuck’s, which is quite a different experience for me.

Rippleton
A short-lived band that brought Tozer, Vischi (still on bass) and I together once again. This began as a way to rehearse and record the original Lunar Stew tunes (from part one of “What’s in a name?”) and developed into a fun-filled jam spree for three old friends. We had big plans for this group but I guess it just wasn’t meant to be at this time. The name is in reference to a fictional character who makes repeat appearances in a number of songs I’ve composed, most of them from the Lunar Stew days. Another band like Plainman Brown that had great potential yet, ultimately, fell short of expectations.

And that’s it I suppose. I’m not sure if anyone really got anything out of this, but I must admit I enjoyed running through my history of bands anyway. About the only thing I find more fun than putting a new band together is performance itself (in addition to writing setlists, I love writing setlists). Keep an eye out for my next blog where I’ll run through ten movies that make it far too easy for Melissa Stagnaro to poke fun at my complete and utter geekiness.