Bar band success: it's all in the name

Bar bands have very few opportunities to win your attention: a brief mention in an alt-weekly, a PhotoShopped poster in a campus bar, even a tiny supporting role on another band's playbill. Often, because of limited funds, bar bands can only hope to build word of mouth buzz. At this point, the band's name and playlist are their only assets, and they better prompt interest. If that interest results in minor controversy and subsequent media coverage, all the better. In 1992, the BareNaked Ladies played the novelty of their name to national notoriety after a brouhaha when the then-mayor of Toronto refused to let them play a concert on City Hall property.

Relic's Jetboat is another Canadian band winning attention. They've penned "Do it for the game," a hockey protest song that takes Gary Bettman and the NHLPA to task for leading Canadian hockey fans to the brink of a lockout.

This band has two hooks in their pitch: the timeliness of the hockey crisis, and their cunning reference to a common Canadian cultural experience: The Beachcombers.

For the non-Canadians out there, The Beachcombers aired on CBC television throughout the 1970s and 1980s. It featured a crew of crusty West Coast characters, including Relic, a beachcomber, and Nick Adonidas, a salvage company owner. Relic drove a funky beat-up logging jet boat - whose name continues to be the source of debate. (It looked something like this.)

A bunch of local musicians from Chilliwack, B.C. (yes, that Chilliwack), Relic's Jetboat posted a (piss-poor) video of the song on their label's site. It's worth a gander.

In the world of ridiculous band names, McSweeneys has looked at different possiblities here, here and here.

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