Sharkmuffin, Coke Weed + More: How Bands Playing CMJ Chose Their Name


Swarms of bands are currently taking over the most hipster corners of our city. From the Lower East Side to Williamsburg, a variety of acts are in town for 2013's CMJ Music Marathon performing from morning until deep in the evening at a variety of cool parties and showcases and are hoping you'll take notice.

The schedule is jam-packed and a little overwhelming with a multitude of shows scheduled almost every hour of this week until Saturday's sad, sad end. Chances are, you've probably noticed some funky names peppered throughout the hefty list of artists that may have either piqued your interest or made you tilt your head in confusion. Either way, they captured your attention and hopefully, for them, your ears. We love a ridiculous band name and have asked several of our favorite peculiarly titled artists to tell us the story behind their mysterious monikers.

See also: CMJ Is Way More Fun When You're Badgeless, Broke, and Young

I'll Be John Brown "My grandmother Gladys was a very Southern woman in a very small south Mississippi town called Summerland that you'd be hard pressed to find on any map. We called her Mama Gambrell. She had many memorable sayings, but one of her favorites was "I'll Be John Brown!" It was an exclamation of surprise, wonder, or disbelief, and it stuck in my head from a very early age. I associated it with long family trips to the country where things were a little different, slower, and my cousins and I had to come up with simpler ways to occupy ourselves. Mama Gambrell passed away in January of 2005, and around that time I began playing Country music with some friends in NYC. When the subject of a band name came up, this phrase came to mind, and thankfully my band mates agreed. As for who John Brown was historically, I'll let you do your own research if you don't already know. That story would take much longer to tell than we have here, but trust me it's a good one." -- Jason Gambrell (Singer/Rhythm Guitar) I'll Be John Brown are playing the L-Rock Entertainment Showcase at the Bitter End, Thurs., Oct. 17th at 8:30pm.

Sharkmuffin "We try not to take ourselves too seriously. In college I was in two bands--one called Slutmuffin, an all-female 'slutwave' parody band, and a surf punk band called Pool Sharks. When the bands' songwriting material joined forces it only seemed fitting for it to be called Sharkmuffin. These days, I've been thinking about what a Sharkmuffin could be slang for in a social context. It could be a sassy & smart lady who is very good at playing billiards at bars, or it could be a relatively young woman who gravitates towards relationships with older men without any malicious financial intent. Audrey Horne of Twin Peaks - total Sharkmuffin. As is Scully from The X-Files. We're still working on what a Sharkmuffin cocktail would taste like, but it would most likely contain champagne, orange juice, and scotch." -- Tarra Thiessen Sharkmuffin will be playing the following shows: 10/15, 10:45PM @ Legion Bar; 10/17, 10:00PM @ Muchmore's; 10/18, 11PM @ ShorewavesHaus (1107 Irving); 10/19, 5:00PM @ PassengerBar; 10/19, 9PM @ 94 Evergreen (backyard); 10/20, 3:00PM @ Spike Hill.

Eagulls "Picture this, I was around 14 and I was on holiday at a caravan site in Scarborough England with my family. One evening me and my sister Bec were watching a shit singer and he sang the song "Angel" by Shaggy but it sounded like he was singing "girl you're my eagle," and we imagined him serenading this eagle perched on his forearm. We thought it was hilarious.


Cut to 6 years later before we had even played a note together... me, Henry and George were at Primavera Festival in Barcelona. We were in high spirits waiting for Neil Young to come on and Shaggy's "Angel" came over the sound system. I started singing the Blue Dolphin Caravan Holiday Park version and we were all in creases. It became a running joke throughout the duration of the trip and in a drunken state we decided we would one day start a band called Eagles. Upon returning, me and Henry wrote "Council Flat Blues" and decided we were gunna follow through on starting up the band. In the end we decided to put an English slant on it and spell it Eagulls..... And we have regretted it ever since." -- Mark "Goldy" Goldsworthy Eagulls will be playing the Kanine/Sesac Party at Pianos, 10/16, 5:45pm; the NME Party at Glasslands, 10/16, 10pm; the Brooklyn Vegan Party, 10/18, TBA; the Paradigm Party at Mercury Lounge, TBA; the Bowery Presents Day Show at Pianos, 10/19, time TBA.

See also: How To Maximize Your CMJ Experience


TOP LESS - Danger Love from Top Less Gay Love Tekno Party on Vimeo.

Top Less Gay Love Tekno Party "I was spending a bunch of the summer some years ago in Berlin with my German BFF, Robin. According to Robin, the song of the summer in Berlin was a Kid Alex song called "Top Less, Gay Love." We would head out all night together bouncing from one club to the next freaking out on a spastic rolodex of class A's waiting for this song to play on the sweaty dance floor, flapping our arms around whenever it would come on. Further to the point, we had named all the weird back yard parties, the warehouse clubs, and the milieu of other messed up happenings "Tekno Parties" -- mainly because we were uneducated about musical genres and everything was considered techno to us. Also there's a really happy ring to the phrase 'Tekno Party.' At some point, our mantra just became screaming "Top Less ... Gay Love ... Tekno Party!!" to each other across the dance floor. And it stuck. Years later, hoping to relive these moments, I tried to find the song on the interwebs only to realize that my bb's grasp of English prohibited him from figuring out the words to the song properly, and that the song is actually "Young Love, Topless" - but I like our version better." -- Mike Shindler (Vocals/Guitar) Top Less Gay Love Tekno Party plays the Left Field at 11:30PM on October 17th.

The Cloak Ox "The name The Cloak Ox has three possible origins: 1) A reference to the primary ceremonial figure of early Indonesian Halloween celebrations, whereupon all the children of a village would gather around The Cloak Ox (an elder covered in cloth and wooden horns) and whip it with long branches. 2) A Norwegian weaving implement. 3) An homage to obscure 60's garage R&B outfit The Cloaksmen, whose gimmick was anonymity. " -- Andrew Broder The Cloak Ox will be playing Thursday, October 17th at The Knitting Factory, 11pm.

Fishdoctor "Before music I was working a dead-end corporate job at Bloomberg. During a break, an Indian coworker and I were standing around one of the many fish tanks that decorate most of the office walls. One adorable little guppy caught my eye and I blurted, "That fish is sick." The kind woman then replied in a deep Indian accent, "How do you know the fish is sick? What are you a fish doctor or something?" Her reply became an inside joke amongst friends during the summer of 2010. We leave a spot open for her on all of our guest lists." -- Mike Panico Fishdoctor is playing at Tammany Hall on Saturday at midnight

Coke Weed "Nina and I were settled on another name, which I'm keeping secret because it's a good one. I know all the readers are like "the guy from Coke Weed came up with a better band name, as if." We get a lot of flak for the name mostly because it seems so stupid and it's confusing when people see us because we don't look like dirtbags. Anyway, the day before our first ever practice as the full quintet, I had been thinking about heavy partying and how goofy it was to roll a weed joint with cocaine sprinkled in it. But I also thought it was kind of badass, like a Cheech and Chong kind of vibe. So at this first practice I blurted it out as a joke and to show off my cleverness. The boys settled on it immediately. Nina wasn't so sure, but she came around pretty quickly. We're stuck with it now. One reviewer said it wasn't exactly the most clever name, and I teared up a little because it was the nicest thing anything had ever said about it. Also, we were featured on World Café and I was psyched David Dye didn't tease us about the name. He's a class act." -- Milan Coke Weed will be playing Cake Shop on 10/16 at 3:30pm; Union Pool on 10/17 at 9pm; and Silent Barn Courtyard on 10/18.

Brothertiger "Back when I was a kid, I was absolutely obsessed with the live action version of The Jungle Book. I probably watched it about 1000 times. The "bad guy" of the film was Shere Khan, a intense-looking tiger. Having had two friendly cats in our house back then, I had always wished he [were] more of a good guy, but I get it. Tigers are hungry pretty much all the time. We all have to eat, I guess. So I made my name Brothertiger as a sort of tribute to that. I like to think I make pretty positive-sounding music. I'm also a sucker for tiger stripes. They're definitely one of the coolest natural patterns on Earth." -- John Jagos Brothertiger will be playing the Deli Showcase at the Delancey, 10/15, 10:20pm; Holy Undergound at Tammany Hall, 10/16, 9:45pm and Pianos, 10/17, 10:45pm; Goodbye Blue Monday, 10/18, 10:15pm; Parkside Lounge, 10/19, 1am.

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Related Locations

The Bitter End

147 Bleecker St.
New York, NY 10012



2 Havemeyer St.
New York, NY 11211


Spike Hill - Closed

184-6 Bedford Ave.
Brooklyn, NY 11211



158 Ludlow St.
New York, NY 10002


The Glasslands Gallery

289 Kent Ave.
Brooklyn, NY 11211


Mercury Lounge

217 E. Houston St.
New York, NY 10002


Knitting Factory Brooklyn

361 Metropolitan Ave.
Brooklyn, NY 11211


Cake Shop

152 Ludlow St.
New York, NY 10002


Union Pool

484 Union Ave.
Brooklyn, NY 11211


Silent Barn

603 Bushwick Ave.
Brooklyn, NY 11206

The Delancey

168 Delancey St.
New York, NY 10002


Goodbye Blue Monday
Parkside Lounge

317 E. Houston St.
New York, NY 10002


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