Friday, October 17, 2008

HISTORY OF THE DANGERS 2

PART TWO: NAME THAT BAND



Damn. So many great names sprang from the punk era. It felt like all the best were taken: The Clash, The Jam, The Damned, Christian Bubbly Death! We met the next day to practice again and settle on a name as Randy had found a new club that wanted bands for the next week. We just called out names in the kitchen, bad names like The Livers. There was a litany of bad names from Riverside bands at that time, URBAN SPRAWL, NOSTALGIC SANTA, DIRTY DIRT AND THE DIRTS… We did not want to live in shame! So we felt thrilled with the first choice, The Outsiders, like the novel, Bob reminded. It took two days to figure out that The Outsiders was taken. Chris found The Outsiders single in his 7th shoebox of 45's (“Time Won't Let Me”). A great song so it was quickly was added to the repertory. Johnny sang that, as he did most of the Dangers vocals early on. Still, no band name and a gig in 4 days.

Back at the practice living room, the night before the first gig at MY PLACE OR YOURS in San Bernardino, Bob came up with “The Dangers.” All agreed it was not as powerful as The Clash, but had a poppy ring. It rang true. Hemmingway might pick a simple name like The Dangers. He would never have come up with URBAN SPRAWL, telegraphing the whole story. And maybe we didn’t need a fighting name, just a warning.

This is an early key point about the band. Although emerging from the LA punk wave with grand punks like X leading the way, The Dangers always felt ties first to pop, to melody, and then to the energy beneath. Chris handed around a mix tape interlacing The Buzzcocks’ SINGLES GOING STEADY, and The Beach Boys PET SOUNDS, and early Dangers practices felt channeled through Lennon’s Plastic Ono Band album. Beauty and struggle. A sad story wrapped in strong melody. That was our dream. The Dangers never felt compelled to sound tough, and that made them stand out. They were plenty rough around the edges.

In Chris’ kitchen they became we. Facing a huge American flag hung over the stove to cover up hundreds of little nails Chris had hammered like a he-man through paneling and his paper-thin bedroom wall, THE DANGERS toasted the new band.

“Gentlemen,” Randy said, “I give you The Dangers.”

“Long Live The Dangers in the U.S.A” Bob said.

“And this wall,” Johnny chimed in.

2 comments:

Rebecca Hickman said...

I love that book. The characters have the best names--Ponyboy and Sodapop Curtis. I think the Dangers is a much better name, though. It's kind of silly and kind of tough at the same time.

Unknown said...

Hey Chris I thought it was the Intruders. I don't know, it's been a long time. - Dewane