The Summer of Love aka The Name Game

Available now from Main Street Rag

As the story goes, Jorma Kaukonen, before he plugged in as lead guitarist in Jefferson Airplane, was nicknamed Blind Lemon Jefferson Airplane by a folkie friend—a term that referenced the great country blues figure of the1920s and updated it with a surreal twist. Like the best names for the folk rock and psychedelic groups of the later 1960s, “Jefferson Airplane” offered a doubled sense of esoteric reference and (often ironic) absurdity.  If Shirley Ellis scored a hit with “The Name Game,” the San Francisco bands played the Game of the Name.  Big Brother & The Holding Company spliced the dystopian fantasy of George Orwell’s 1984 with the dystopian reality of what Eisenhower had termed the “military-industrial (aka corporate) complex.”  And Tongue & Groove torqued a carpentry term (wink wink) into a several-dimensioned metaphor—a pun for fun?

There were, of course, names (often the ones coined by record company execs imitating what they didn’t understand trying to pass for “with it” to capture market share and move some product) that are, let’s face it, pretty dumb.  While Iron Butterfly isn’t as rich a text as Big Brother & The Holding Company, at least it juxtaposes contrasting qualities.  The same can’t be said of The Strawberry Alarm Clock, though their single was catchy, and perhaps that group and The Peanut Butter Conspiracy (more of an actual band and a better name) might be put between toast for breakfast. 

So, what about “The Name Game”?  First, to the best of my knowledge, there was never a band named Derridean Debris, and I can, unequivocally, state that I never played or sang in such a band (even though a note at the back of Reimagining Textuality: Textual Studies in the Late Age of Print claims otherwise).  That said, if one were looking for “deconstructive” rock, I think that would be more The Troggs and “Wild Thing” than some post mods riffing Grammatology.  And while Led Zeppelin did record a song titled “Moby Dick,” I don’t think anyone posing as Moby Dick ever fronted a band dubbed The Seamen (though what great opportunities for costuming and staging! Would have put Paul Revere and The Raiders, with their Revolutionary War tricorn hats and frilly jackets, truly to shame). 

So, if you’ve drifted over here from your avidly read copy of Ticket Stubs & Liner Notes and really do care to know which bands in “The Name Game” are real and which flat out faux, in the text below the actual bands are in bold, the fakes in italics.

(And lastly for the younger set, a bit of “history” that’s perhaps worth noting.  In that once upon a time of the Sixties, oregano was often peddled to naïve young customers who thought they were paying for what has since become legal in a few states but wasn’t then.  One evening in Napa, 1967? 1968?, some eager teens were happily toking away when the police arrived and took them off to jail.  I’ve often wondered whether the police were more embarrassed that they’d seized a lid of oregano or whether the kids were more embarrassed at the groovy high they thought they were enjoying.  Ah, yes, Oregano Doobie.)

The Summer of Love aka The Name Game

Moby Dick and the Seamen
Tongue & Groove
Hatch & the Boobies
Student Deferment
The Trite, Tired & Clichéd Blues & Boogie Band
Eloi & The Time Machine
Derridean Debris
Homegrown & The ZigZags
The Leaves of Grass
Kiss My Ass
This Too Shall Pass
Salvation Army Banned

Janus and The Ambivalence
Green Lantern & The Underwater Light Show
The Fly By Night
Moby Dick and the See-Men
Eight Ball & the Cue Sticks
The Generation Gap
The Incensed Incense
DaDa & the DooDahs
Diddle & the Squats
Uncle Zeke’s Uptown Downtown Barbershop Kazoo Quartet
Joy of Cooking

Late for Dinner
Military & The Industrial Complex
The Party Line
Uncle John’s Backporch Extraordinaires
Corn Pone & The Johnnycakes
Draft & The Corn Dodgers
The Random Order
Count Verb & His Nine Nouns of Renown
The Rumble Seat
The Four Fs
Oberon & The Moonshine
Your Name Here
Nuclear Cucumber
The Insighters
After the Summer the Fall
Moby Dick and the ¢-Men
The Dangling Modifiers
Nixon & The Tricky Dicks
The Inciters
Father Grumble

Moby Dick & The Semen
Gertrude & The Steins
For Whatever Ales Ya
Gertrude & The There Theres
Put It In Writing
The Shall Remain Nameless

Moby Grape
Jungle Jim & The Recess
Rumble Stilt’s Kin
The Electric Flag

The Red Wheelbarrow
The Great Society

U.F. & The Ohs
Chemical Inducement
The Space Cadets
The Iron Curtain
Extraterrestrial Entanglement
Serpent Power

Catfish & the Lemon Squeezers
The Stone Balloon
Dopie & the Mayberrys
Dan Hicks & His Hot Licks

Acid Rain
Gateway Drug
Roach & The Clips
The Domino Effect
Spiral Agnew
The Moving Sidewalk
Hot Rod & The Tricycle
Wheelchair Satori
Sen-Sen Zen
The Oregano Doobie
John Phillip Sousa Groove Machine

And, yes, the list could go on.  And on.  And on.

A few addenda:

  • Salvation Army Banned was originally named Salvation Army Band.  The Salvation Army sued, and thus “Band” morphed to “Banned.” The Salvation Army sued again, and so the band was merely Salvation by the time the first of its two albums hit the stores. 

  • Joy of Cooking’s three delectable albums on Capitol should not be forgotten. Thank you Toni Brown and Terry Garthwaite for a joyous evening when my buddy and I wandered by chance into the Jabberwocky that night in Berkeley.

  • Father Grumble was led by my high school classmate Patrick Flynn.  You can find Patrick’s albums streaming on Tidal and for sale as downloads and physical media on CD Baby.

  • Sanpaku opened the bill the night I saw Blind Faith, the short-lived group featuring Eric Clapton, Ginger Baker, and Steve Winwood.  Sanpaku was a highlight of the show, along with the iteration of Delaney and Bonnie with Leon Russell leading the band.  To the best of my knowledge, Sanpaku never recorded.  Wish they had.

  • Moby Grape: ever to be remembered for that first awesome album.  And if you weren’t “there” then and need to know, the answer to the question “What’s purple and lives at the bottom of the sea?” Mentioned because not every thing deserves to be remembered, but that first album and various tracks strewn across the later albums should be.

  • Serpent Power: led by poet David Meltzer and propelled by poet Clark Coolidge on the drum set.  But not, alas, to be found in The Norton Anthology of Poetry.

  • Dan Hicks & His Hot Licks: one of my high school classmates, I later heard, was invited to join Dan as one of the“Lickettes,” but demurred when she realized she was expected to more than sing licks.

  • The Moving Sidewalk: Billy Gibbons, he later of Z.Z. Top fame, early on played in the group Moving Sidewalks.  The Moving Sidewalk would, I’m guessing, have been a different kind of collective.

Special Added Attractions:

  • 1967 documentary (aired on KPIX in San Francisco) that features the poet/playwright Michael McLure along with footage of the band Salvation, a brief encounter with Richard Brautigan (of used-to-be-and-still-should-be fame for Trout Fishing in America etc.), and other Haight-ish sights, sounds, and scenes
  • youTube of Salvation’s first album, Salvation, in something less than stellar fidelity, but, hey, if you’ve still got a turntable and do the used record store dumpster dive and a copy comes to hand…

Ticket Stubs & Liner Notes is available from Main Street Rag Publishing

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