Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Band names - when the band isn't the band you expect

Technically this isn't a music post, but it certainly applies to music.

If you know me, you know that I love to scrobble things in In fact, at one point I was bugging Josh Haley because a ffundercats podcast didn't have proper ID3 tags, which meant that I couldn't scrobble it. The podcasts now have ID3 tags, so can record whenever you listen to a ffundercats podcast.

I was doing some non-musical work-related research, and I ran across a page on the Oracle website that included a two-year old podcast recorded by one of my co-workers. (This podcast was recorded back when we were still employees of Motorola.) I first clicked on the link for the podcast, which opened a QuickTime tab in my browser.

Well, that didn't suit me, so I downloaded the mp3 file and played it in Windows Media Player to match with my scrobbling configuration. So I scrobbled the track, which is listed in as follows:

Note that the listed "artist" for this track is Oracle. So I went to see what had to say about the company, and this is what I found:

Oracle is the name of several artists including a well-respected progressive/power metal band formed in the 1980’s.

1.) ‘’‘Oracle’‘’ was notable as a collaborative musical venture between Minimal Compact’s Malka Spigel & Samy Birnbach and Wire’s Colin Newman. The project spanned the years 1988-1993 and mostly took place in Brussels. Ony one album ‘’‘Tree’‘’ was released retrospectively (in 1994) on Colin & Malka’s Swim ~ label. The majority of the work remains unreleased.

There was another Florida band called Oracle who managed to release one album in the early nineties, solidly rooted in 80’s American power metal in mold of Liege Lord or early Queensryche. Hardly a popular style of music at the time, particularly in the US (hence the release on a European label), As Darkness Reigns is a fine album for the genre.
Brothers Kent and Brent Smedley have recently resurrected Oracle and are playing again, now under the name Odyssey. Brent also plays for a band called Tempest Reign.

2.) Drum and Bass DJ / Murder in America (M.I.A)

And it goes on and on like this, with (as I type this) five different bands, none of which include any band members named Larry Ellison, Charles Phillips, or Safra Catz.

Now this is not the only case in which a band name in refers to more than one band. And there are famous examples of bands who had to change their original names in certain markets - take the so-called English Beat, which had to add "English" to its name for North American releases to reduce confusion with the American band the Beat (now known as Paul Collins' Beat).

Confused yet?

And these are the instances in which two bands used the same name by accident. The whole issue of a band appropriating another band's name on purpose is an entirely different issue.

P.S. In the band Oracle, you know that Larry would be the lead vocalist, but who would get the guitar solos - Charles or Safra?
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