Kathryn, Rosie, Lisa and I are starting a band and since we’re going to play a gig next week, we have to find a name. For the past four days, we’ve been texting names back and forth. At first, little bubbles of text didn’t seem like a good way to brainstorm. If we were able to meet and shoot the bull, it might have taken less than four days to come up with a name. Also, it’s easy to misunderstand the mood or subtext behind another person’s words if you can’t see their face.
But since Kathryn lives in Portland and the rest of us are in Seattle, texting became an extended way of brainstorming. We had lulls, breaks for work, sleep, or life, and bursts of inspiration.
Do you know how hard it is to come up with a band name? All the good ones we came up with seem to be taken. Maybe it was hard for me because we haven’t played together that much, and we’re still putting songs together.
At first, I was just hoping we wouldn’t have a stupid name. I figured since Rosie and Kathryn started the band, they had more say in the final name. Also, since I’m a writer first, and a fiddle player second, my mind went to movies and books when searching for a cool band name. Genet (not just a great playwright, but also the name of a cute little South American and South African cat). Ripley: the name of one of my favorite movie heroines. Here are some other names I came up with: The Ghost Chiles, Rain City Runaways, My Past Life, Coming Soon, The Heart Is a Lonely Drummer, Hellacatz, Thunder Bliss, Surreal Housewives, Cheeky Angels, Rosie and the Metros.
Flinging names out like pasta on a kitchen wall. None of them stuck. Kathryn had ideas, Lisa offered a couple. They didn’t stick either. Then Rosie went to her creative well and started throwing out all these names, some of them great. We googled them and most of them were already taken by other bands.
Except for one. Somewhere in the recesses of her brain, Rosie found the name Mystic Oven. I admit, the name didn’t grab me at first. But Kathryn thought it was subtle, cool, something Frank Zappa would have come up with.
We’ll see. We’re Mystic Oven, kind of by default. I’m not crazy about the name, and I don’t know if Lisa is, either. That’s okay. Maybe it’ll grow on us. Or, maybe we’ll change it. One of the cool things about being in the band is I don’t have to control every aspect. Writing a novel is ten thousand times harder than playing fiddle in the Mystic Oven.