cades ago Myles Goodwyn thought it might be fun to include a song by American songwriter David Freeland on April Wine's Power Play album and release it as a single. Well, guess what? "If You See Kay" was a complete bust. Broadcasters but fast read between the lines and decided not to piss of the broadcast regulators and lose their jobs because April Wine wanted to semantically play a fast one at their expense.
Welcome to the real world!
The most money I ever earned from a writing gig was knocking out 250 words for Hustler magazine. Yup, the hardcore skin mag that made Larry Claxton Flynt, Jr. a mint, and almost cost him his life. He paid me a buck American for every word published, and likely as much for photographer Rodney Bowes, to cover an uproar taking place outside the O'Keefe Centre (now the Sony Centre). That was back in '08 when a devilishly good Toronto punk band calling themselves Battered Wives opened for a youthful punk hipster by the name of Elvis Costello.
My copy smartly stated the Toronto band was "battered but not beaten" by a horde of outraged women and a few good men who paraded outside the civic centre. I was kind; in fact the band was beaten down and called out for promoting themself with an entirely offensive name. When the brouhaha died down, band manager John Hughes stood in front of a media scrum and announced henceforth his band was calling itself The Wives, keeping what dignity was left and salvaging the balance of a 13 city tour for (guitarist/singer) Toby Swann, Larry "Jasper" Klassen (bass and vocals), John Gibb (guitar) and Cleave Anderson (drums),.
Stupidity, offensiveness and lewdness have been part and parcel of rock 'n' roll since Elvis steamed middle America's living rooms when he appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show with a performance that attracted 60 million (yes, 60M) viewers during the Eisenhower era. Since then the white man's version of the blues has become slicker and sometimes sicker and lost its gender status to benders and a runway of femme fatales.
The latest controversy (see separate story) to make headlines is a Canadian quartet calling themselves Viet Cong, ignorant of the wrath and enmity the name could earn and "naive about the history of a war in a country we knew very little about”.
Of course this is all coming to the fore with the Calgary band's Short List Polaris Music Prize nomination. Sadly, the inflammatory name was chosen because it sounded cool and now, despite their public protestation, the band is determinedly brazen enough to release a new video single this month called "Bunker Buster."
Viet Cong joins a long list of bands with nasty, stupid or just plain ignorant names. Among others that have earned a moment of fame, a blast of infamy and then spun uncontrollably into an abyss reserved for bands with bad names:
Adolf Hitler's Nipples
Gaye Bikers On Acid
Jesus Fucking Christ
Nazis From Mars
The Broken Penis Orchestra
and The Clits