Today you’ll hear three stories from three bands who all hail from Detroit, Michigan, and are featured on the July edition of Spotlight on the City.
Slumber Party was started by Aliccia Berg in 1998 while she was a Ph.D. candidate at Michigan State. The band has recorded four full-length albums thus far, and were signed to Kill Rock Stars in 2000, a mere two years after forming. Only women have played in the band since its inception.
So, how did this all-girl group get the name Slumber Party? Aliccia explains:
“During a phone chat with Kim Fowley – record producer, songwriter, and founder of The Runaways – I described my ideas for a girl band, the songs, types and styles. He suggested Slumber Party for a name, it sounded right and I decided to use it.”
Johnny Headband is a trio that consists of brothers Chad and Keith Thompson and their buddy RGS. Their latest album is called Happiness is Underrated. Keith details the day that the name was created:
“One overcast, dreary, but warm, but kind of foggy green day not too long ago, Chad and Keith Thompson were eating shortbread sandwiches on the patio of Keith’s lavishly landscaped backyard. The question of what they would call themselves came up after they were finished putting the finishing touches on their super secret first batch of recordings. Chad said “How bout ‘The Geese and the Ghost'”? to which Keith replied “stupid, next,” and I said “Ok, Johnny Headband, put your clever thinking cap on and come up with something better than The Geese and the Ghost.” And they looked at each other simultaneously and knew right away. “Are you thinking what I’m thinking?” Chad asked. “Clever thinking caps is amazing!” It’s perfect, we will be huge! I mean like Genesis huge,” Keith yelled. And so they named their duo, soon to be trio, soon to be 5-O, soon to be 4-oh, Johnny Headband.”
The band name Mason Proper was not always what this 5 piece called themselves. After forming in 2003 they went by the name Honesty in The Auto Industry, and in 2004 they changed it to Patterns in Paris. The group moved from Alpena, Michigan to Ypsilanti, and then decided on Mason Proper right before their debut album There is A Moth in Your Chest was released. Singer Jonathan Visger explains the name:
“We have an unhealthy interest slash obsession with secret society lore, and mason proper is an obscure phrase that we found a few references to, pertaining to freemasonry. It turns out everyone just thinks we’re from a town called Mason though. They also think my name is Mason. I’ve gotten called that way too many times. “So, Mason, why did you name the band after yourself? Are you an enormous egomaniac?” We also liked that almost nobody would know what it meant, because then your band fills in the meaning behind the name, rather than your band being about the thing you named it after. But now I spilled the beans I guess!”