Hello My Names Is: Desolation Wilderness, The Gay Blades, Summer Cats

So, the other day I was thinking about the movie Fight Club… specifically about how members of Project Mayhem apparently had no names. What kind of policy is that? Did they just refer to each other as Dude and Other Dude? Was Project Mayhem basically an anti-capitalist frat house?

Well, regardless, it’s pretty clear that names make everything a whole lot easier. And the same goes for band names. We need them. They complete us, Jerry Maguire-style. But names aren’t always easy to decipher… and that’s why you have the trusty scholars at BreakThru Radio to help you out. This week we’ve got band name explanations from Desolation Wilderness, The Gay Blades, and Summer Cats!

Desolation Wilderness

Quick, what’s the capital of Washington State? If you answered “Seattle,” you just might get beaten up by Desolation Wilderness. This four-piece hails from Olympia, the true capital of Washington, and I bet they don’t appreciate you mixing them up with that latte-sipping, rain-soaked, totally fake capital wannabe. GOD.

But let’s get to the point: you know how the light above the asphalt shimmers when it gets really hot? That’s basically what Desolation Wilderness sounds like, if you substitute jangly guitar pop for the asphalt. RIYL: Lotus Plaza, the month of August, humidity.

So what does their name mean? Well, apparently the Desolation Wilderness is a forest in Northern California, near Lake Tahoe. According to band member Nick Zwart, the group “just liked the way it sounded when the name was chosen… there’s no other reason we picked it, really.”

Good enough for me!

The Gay Blades

According to their bio on RCRDLBL.com, the Gay Blades specialize in “trash pop.” Can’t argue with that… after listening to their debut album Ghosts, I’m pretty sure this NYC duo would like nothing more than to kick the thinking cap off your head and rock the party all night. But don’t worry, you’re all invited; from the brash guitars of opener “O Shot” to the tender balladry of “Why Can’t I Grow a Beard?”, Ghosts has something for every type of listener. But what’s with the bizarre name?

“Our name came from a Lou Reed song called “Vicious,” says lead singer/guitarist Clark Westfield. “It kind of supplanted it’s meaning inside our frontal cortex, and then one night I came home very drunk and disgruntled from an indie rock show, and I was commenting about all the little indie rock bands that were very fey, and without an edge. And I said they’re like these little femme butter knives, yeah, and Puppy Mills (drummer/singer) goes “Gay Blades?” At the time we were choosing a name for this side project, and it seemed appropriate. C’est la vie.”

Summer Cats

I love the summer. I also love cats. I’ve never actually owned a pet, but one day I’m going to go out and adopt a kitten and name it Mr. Snax (because he’ll love snacks!). Then I’m going to sit and watch him play with a ball of yarn while running around and shouting “WHO’S A SILLY KITTY?” for hours on end. This is basically my ideal life, minus a few helicopters.

All of this points to the simple fact that Summer Cats picked a perfect band name. These five Australians craft sunny guitar pop that feels like the musical equivalent of a day at the beach: sometimes upbeat, sometimes lazy, always bright. But what’s the real story behind the name? Band member Scott S explains:

“For a week or so we had been calling ourselves Super Computer, but it wasn’t a unanimous agreement, so that became a song. We then went through that kinda thing where five people at rehearsal sit there and just keep on firing off name after name. From what I recall, names had been bouncing around at a ridiculous rate for about two weeks prior, and as each one of us has a veto, it just kept on going… some of the names were ludicrous and some were just plain rude! Finally one of us blurted out ‘Summer Cats’ and weirdly we all immediately agreed! Ta-Da! Band democracy and consensus in action!”

He adds: “We did later find out that Summer Cats has a darker meaning in Europe, but at the time we thought it suited the crash pop we make and the fact that we all like summer and cats… deep, huh?”

Link to this article:

– Matt Diamond


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