What’s in a (band) name? | VailDaily.com

What’s in a (band) name?

Special to the DailyDaniel Zott and Joshua Epstein make up Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. The duo combine an indie-pop style with strong vocals.

One look at the SnowBall lineup will tell you that you can’t judge a band by its name. In fact, that’s the point.

“Having a unique name is one attempt to break away from compartmentalizing your music into a specific genre,” said Joshua Epstein, band member of Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr.

Epstein said that in a world where advertising often takes over people’s own senses of personal taste, some bands are trying to not be so predictable. You’ll certainly see some new names at SnowBall, and here’s a chance to read a little into the story behind some of them.

Detroit, Michigan

Story: After ruling out the Counting Crows, Part 2, this band needed a name. It was a friend of the band’s who suggested Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr., and, without rhyme or reason, it simply stuck.

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Style: Daniel Zott and Joshua Epstein make up this popular duo, who combine an indie-pop style with strong vocals.

“We are such a mix of genres that there doesn’t really seem like there is a place for our band in a genre,” Epstein said. “We just put in a little bit of everything: folk, hip-hop, drums.”

Showtime: Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. will be performing on Saturday from 8:15 to 9:15 p.m. on the Ballroom stage.


Story: Dango Rose saw a pair of elephants together at the Salt Lake City Zoo. Shortly after, he learned that after one was transferred to the Lincoln Zoo in Chicago, both elephants died in the separate states. He contacted the band members who now make up Elephant Revival and simply said it was a sign that their talents should not be dispersed across the country but should come together and revive their music.

Style: This small-town local quintet is embracing the emerging genres known as neo-acoustic and transcendental folk.

The compilation of Bonnie May Paine (vocals, washboard, djembe, musical saw), Sage Cook (electric banjo/guitar, acoustic guitar, mandolin, viola, vocals), Rose (double-bass, mandolin, banjo, vocals), Daniel Rodriguez (acoustic guitar, electric banjo/guitar, vocals) and Bridget Law (fiddle and vocals) brings a Rocky Mountain flavor to a variety of genres.

Paine said their music is hard to describe but is a mixture of Celtic, gypsy and folk music.

“There’s definitely an electric side, even though we play acoustic instruments,” Paine said.

Showtime: Elephant Revival will perform Friday from 4 to 5 p.m. on the Main stage.

Providence, R.I.

Story: Sometimes, the things that get under your skin are those that you remember most – or at least make you want to tell a tale.

“I got bit by one when I was hiking and the name Deer Tick sounded kind of cool, and kind of gross,” said John McCauley, lead singer for the band. “The name bothers people sometimes, but we have a name that sticks with you.”

Style: “We play a variety of music without sounding like a band that ‘plays a variety of music,” McCauley said. “We play everything from rock and roll, blues, punk and country. It’s all about having fun.”

The band’s roots come from all around the country, with McCauley (guitar, vocals), from Nashville, Tenn., Ian O’Neil (guitar, vocals), from Brooklyn, New York, Chris Ryan (bass, vocals), from Philadelphia, Penn., Rob Crowell (keys, saxophone, vocals), from Halifax, Nova Scotia, and Dennis Ryan (drums, vocals), from Pawtucket, Rhode Island.

Showtime: Deer Tick will perform Friday from 9 to 10 p.m. on the Ballroom stage.


Story: It may be just be convenient that Aaron Thomas Collins is a lead singer and pianist for a Denver band, since the name of the band is as easy to recite as a simple drink order.

“I written poems and pieces for online literary magazines and I have always used A. Thomas Collins as a pen name,” Collins said. “Then for a band name I thought it was funny cause it sounds like you’re ordering a drink.”

Style: The horn, piano, upright bass and saxophone sounds from this band bring a fresh spin to the music of nostalgic Americana. Think of old-style jazz paired with a punk-rock edge and you can slightly imagine what you’ll be hearing from this local band.

Showtime: A. Tom Collins will be performing on Saturday from 3 to 3:50 p.m. on the Ballroom stage.


Story: Alex Anderson of ManCub said that he was called the name by an ex, and he was too young and naïve to realize why.

“When she broke up with me, it hurt,” Anderson said. “I decided to try and make tunes that make people want to get down. The name was purely out of spite and meant to cause jealousy. It didn’t work.”

Style: Anderson said he creates electro noise pop with analog synths, old drum machines and a bunch of guitar pedals.

“It’s dance music with a raw quality,” Anderson said. “The show has been described as that of a noisy rock band.”

During SnowBall, Ethan Converse of Flashlights will accompany Anderson on-stage. Anderson is a Colorado native, and said he is looking forward to three days in the mountains – his favorite place.

Showtime: ManCub will perform Sunday from 2:15 to 2:45 p.m. on the Ballroom stage.

Visit http://www.snowballmusicfestival.com for more information and a schedule of the festival.

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