r&r diary – “What’s in a Name?” – 04.28.16

Unbearable Whiteness

As Morrissey once sang… “It’s time the tale were told…”

People often ask: “What’s with the name?” Yes, well, it would be great if it came from a vision-quest fueled by peyote buttons and psilocybin mushrooms, and a visitation from the ghost of Syd Barrett – “…then Syd appeared out of the foggy mist, he was floating above the shimmering beach, humming a lyrical little nursery rhyme; and with shells, star-fish, and a few shiny black stones, he spelled out the name of our band in the holy, glowing, sand: whitewolfsonicprincess…”

That would be cool. But instead it was an inside joke from a Black Forest  performance piece called “The Unbearable Whiteness of Being White.” We wrote some goofy songs, and dressed up as a sort of arty, inept, white-trash, Hip-Hop duo. Not so hip and not so hop. We had a little boombox with backing tracks, some improbable scenes, and “raps” like “Funky Spermatozoa” – “once they get going it’s all about dividing and multiplying and turning into other things – they go through all the stages of evolution, they get a tail, gill-slits, they start looking like something, like a pterodactyl, they no longer exist as separate entities they can’t explain it, they are one, yeah, that’s right, they are one…”

We came up with the name, figured no-one in the world would ever come up with anything close to it, then it sort of stuck, and then it morphed! It was no longer two things, two identities, but one thing – whitewolfsonicprincess – one word, one thing, all lowercase. And then we were no longer a duo, we were a band, a full band – an amazing group of co-conspirators.

The songs started to flow, and they were decidedly not goofy, they were about life and loss, about being lost, and being found, and the mysteries underlying everything. Our name became a symbol – a wolf in a princess hat, high-heels, a peace symbol arm-band, clutching a few wildflowers. “Wolfie” embodies a series of dichotomies: male/female, animal/spiritual, body/soul, low-born/high aspiration, aggressive/peace-loving, darkness/light.

Still, too many syllables.

Think: U2, The Beatles, The Stones, The Who, Dylan, Sting, Cher. One, two or three syllables are perfect. Easy to remember. Easy to say. The less syllables the better. We join the list of bands with names with way too many syllables: Strawberry Alarm Clock, The Airborne Toxic Event, Buffalo Springfield, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Jefferson Airplane.

Oh well. Resistance is futile. We must embrace it all. This is our band, our music, our name. 6 syllables. Some people seem to love it, some can’t even say it. “You’re that girl from White…er… Snake… or something… right?!”

Anyway, let it rock, let it roll… off the tongue… trippingly… – Jammer

wwsp logo




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