When is a band 'THE' and when is it 'NOT THE'?

You might see this as an indication of my increasing anal-retentiveness but sometimes it gets to me when I see a band being referred to with the 'The' word put in front of when in fact their actual name contains no such word. Pluralisation of a word does not necessarily mean that a the pre-fix should be added. For instance: Rabbits. In sentence: Rabbits are all around us. Can also be used as: The Rabbits are all around us. Depending on the context entirely. So whether a band has a 'The' at their start of the name depends entirely on what context the band themselves want to present themselves in.

To wit I bring you a list of bands that aren't a 'The' band but that most people think are and a few bands that actually are 'The' bands but that you didn't know.
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'The' Ramones

Forerunners of US punk movement. Made same variation of song 100 million billion times. Members largely dead. Surviving members now selling condoms.

'The' or 'Not The':
'Not the'. Album covers figure largely in the evidence for this piece. If a band is not choosing to call themselves 'The' on the album then you can be damned sure that they don't want a 'The' in their name. Ramones had 14 albums. One featured 'The' on the cover. Not in the band name. In the title End of the Century.

'The' Red Hot Chili Peppers

Former funkmeisters who wore socks on their cocks. Currently stadium-filling, virtual soft-rock writing dullest band on the planet. I say dull because they were fucking awesome circa 1991 and now they're like watching paint dry. On your balls. Which is uncomfortable as well as boring.

'The' or 'Not The':
'Not the'. They ARE Red Hot Chili Peppers. They're not THE Red Hot Chili Peppersm for one can only assume that there are many red-hot chili peppers.

'The' Smashing Pumpkins

Grungers turned psychedelic rockers turned double-album-writing-art-rock wannabee's turned gothic-industrial types turned broken up turned reformed who-knows-what types.

'The' or 'Not the':

'The'. They are THE Smashing Pumpkins. Smashing in this case is used the way that the Brits use it, as in 'Amazing' or 'Wonderful'. No Pumpkins are being harmed in the making of this band.

'The' Pixies

Punky grungey whatevery Nirvana-inspiring tunesters, once defunct now-reformed (supposedly). Frontman plays spontaneous performances in Dublin city parks before being moved on by GardaĆ­ like common busker.

'The' or 'Not THe':

'Not The'. It actually sounds cooler if you say it as 'Pixies' rather than 'The Pixies'.

'The' Sonic Youth

New York avant-garde noiseniks turned New York avant-garde noiseniks turned...well...New York avant-garde noiseniks.

'The' or 'Not The':

'Not The'. Never been much debate over this except with the release of their arguably greatest (in my opinion) album Sister which included the 'The' on the front cover. All albums before and since have not.

'The' Pink Floyd

60's psychedlic masters turned 70's and 80's Prog-rock masters turned band that people want to see reformed the most.

'The' or 'Not the':

Both. The band started life as 'The Pink Floyd Sound' before dropping the 'Sound' but retaining the definite article. The 'The' didn't just go with the Syd Barrett era either as two albums in the new 'Gilmour' era (More and Ummagumma) also included the word on their original releases. By the time of Atom Heart Mother in 1970, however, the word was gone.

'The' Beastie Boys

1980's comedy rappers turned 90's and 00's serious musicians/rappers. Currently trying to excise their rap sound by playing Jazz oddysseys on stage which, as anyone who has seen This is Spinal Tap can attest to, can result in playing second fiddle to a puppet show.

'The' or 'Not The':
'Not The'. They are Beastie Boys and are never THE Beastie Boys. Presumably to escape from the ire of all the other beastie boys that are out there.

'The' Eels

Late 90's alternative type band who...ah fuck it can't think of a description really. They make music and its good (except when they play at Oxegen).

'The' or 'Not The':

'Not The'. Album cover evidence aside, the one second ad for the superbowl should be evidence enough.

'The' Verve

Early 90's Brit Rock, turned broke up, turned reformed, late 90's Brit Oasisalikes, turned broken up, turned biggest prick in the world, turned reformed Brit Oasisalikes.

'The' or 'Not The':

'Both'. Started life as just plain and simple Verve, named after the hangover cure. Added the definite article just in time for their last album before they broke up for the first time: A Northern Soul.

Other ones that I thought of but couldn't be bothered with are Wu-Tang Clan, Editors, Manic Street Preachers, Mc5, Kings of Leon, Queens of the Stone Age, Kaiser Chiefs, Deftones, The KLF.

Cases of people adding 'The' when there shouldn't be one are more common than people taking away a 'The' when there should be one. Let me know if you notice any glaring omissions of either case.

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February 20, 2008 at 4:26 PM Clockwork Rob said...

This one's been bugging me: Kings of Leon- 'the' or 'not the'?

February 20, 2008 at 4:29 PM Evil Bob said...

'Not the'. I'll add it to my list of also-rans along with Kaiser Chiefs which I have just noticed I omitted.

February 21, 2008 at 7:47 PM Chrisnostanding said...

Actually smashing pumpkins is a case of both. Except the majority is 'not the' only mellon collie and possibly adore have the smashing pumpkins as best I can recall. I've never heard anyone mistake queens of the stone age and I hope that trend continues the names long enough as it is!

February 21, 2008 at 10:45 PM Evil Bob said...

Its the other way around for Smashing Pumpkins actually. All releases prior to Bullet With Butterfly Wings (So Siamese Dream and Gish et al) did not feature the definite articled. Everything they did after that had the 'The'. The name was originally conceived to feature the word and the meaning of Smashing was what I said it was as opposed to the other Smashing meaning destroy or whatever.

Unfortunately I have heard people call them The Queens of the Stone Age but not enough to warrant an actual entry on the list.

February 23, 2008 at 11:36 AM Egg said...

Well to be honest who gives a fuck (except Bob, who bithces about anything).

February 23, 2008 at 12:53 PM Evil Bob said...

I made that "I hate you egg" comment earlier before I read this one. I would just like to reiterate. I hate you Egg.