It’s Juno weekend in Canada and we’re getting ready to honour and celebrate our country’s diverse and talented music community. Last week was Canadian Music Week and I had the chance to talk with two musical Dads. Chris Murphy, father of two boys, is from Toronto-based Sloan, who won Best Alternative Album in 1997 for One Chord To Another, and is nominated this year for Best Rock Album for Double Cross. Josh Zucker, father of one little girl, is from the Toronto-based hardcore punk band, F**cked Up, whose band’s very name is problematic. They are up for the Juno for Best Alternative Album this year, for David Comes To Life. I asked them about their kids’ names and, of course, I had to talk to them about the interesting choices for the names of their bands.
What are your children's names? What inspired their names? Did you honour a special person, place, thing, or memory?
Chris: Francisco and Santiago. My grandfather's name was Frank, and my wife Rebeccca's father is from Mexico City, so Francisco is the Spanish Frank. I felt we couldn't have a kid named Frank Murphy—it would be beyond boring—"Frank Murphy...CBCNews...Glace Bay." We were frankly relieved to have the Spanish option, as there seemed to be a reason to rule out every regular old name we could think of. Rebecca's father campaigned hard for Arturo. By the way, his name is Arturo.
Francisco was a compromise. It felt a little goofy having such an exotic sounding name attached to Murphy. Everyone who asked his name couldn't seem to believe it when I told them. By the time Santiago was born, I was used to Francisco's Spanish name, so it rolled off my tongue a little easier.
Josh: My daughter's name is Lior Isadora (paternal last name) (maternal last name).
Lior is Hebrew for "I have light." We thought the name had a nice ring to it and had some magnitude, while being obscure enough not to sound hippyish, like "Mountain" or "Eclipse." My grandfather's name was Isidore and her middle name comes from him. He had my mother and three other daughters who were all very close with him, and we knew they would play a big role in Lior's life, so we chose to honour him by naming her after him. Everyone remembers him as kind, humble, and generous—all values we want to instill in our kid.
Both our last names are in there too, with my partner's name getting the ever-important final position. I'm not a fan of the hyphenation thing, because it has no future to it—like two generations down the line, those names are going to start getting a bit monstrous - but I wanted her to carry both of her parents' names. In the end, we thought my partner's last name following "Lior" just sounded better, but I'm also in favour of just bringing back the matriarchy for last names as a rule, because it's simple and obviously makes way more sense.
Chris, why did you choose to name your band Sloan? Is there a story there?
Chris: Our friend worked in a factory, and his French boss called him 'the slow one,' and his nickname became Sloan and we stole his nickname. It's not a great story, but I will say that I am thankful that the name is maybe not cool, but at least inoffensive. Bands who think their name is hilarious—like Toad The Wet Sprocket, or Haulin' Oats, or JFKFC, to name but a few - might be awesome, but I will never know, because their band names are too dumb.
Josh, the obvious big question is for you, since we’re here talking about names. Fucked Up —how, why did you choose to name your band? Did you anticipate problems getting media using your name? What has the reaction been?
Josh: The band name was chosen ten years ago, way before we ever considered this a band that could get nominated for a Juno, and way before I ever could've conceived that I would be answering questions about how I chose my daughter's name, on a blog called the Yummy Mummy Club. That being said, we wanted to choose a name that millions of people a day would be inadvertently exclaiming, because back then, we believed in the power of repetition and magic and the collective consciousness. From the start, people either thought the name was pure idiocy or pure genius, or that they just heard wrong. We didn't anticipate much media commentary of any kind, but it has been fun to see the hemming and hawing and the contortions different media have resorted to over the years—from heavy use of the asterisk to the New York Times just calling us, "The band with the unprintable name."
It will be interesting to see how CTV announces them in their category. The Juno Awards, after all, is a nationally broadcast event.
THE 2012 JUNO AWARDS
Airing Sunday, April 1, and hosted by legendary Canadian William Shatner, the country’s preeminent awards broadcast airs from Scotiabank Place, in Ottawa, LIVE in Ontario, Québec and Atlantic Canada at 8 p.m. ET/9 p.m. AT, as well as 8 p.m. in British Columbia, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, and 9 p.m. in Alberta.
Official JUNO Awards website: www.junoawards.ca
CTV’s JUNO Awards website: www.junos.ctv.ca
CARAS website: www.carasonline.ca
CTV website: www.ctv.ca
For up-to-the-minute tweets from The JUNO Awards, follow my husband, Canada AM music correspondent, @ThatEricAlper on Twitter. He’ll be at the non-televised portion of the Juno Awards on Saturday night, and on Sunday he’ll be on the red carpet, backstage, and everywhere else at The JUNO Awards.
When we are faced with deciding what to eat from a restaurant menu that offers everything from all-day breakfast to chicken fingers and fries to filet mignon, some of us become virtually paralyzed. You’re at a table of 4 and your meal comes, the one that you put so much thought and consideration into and of course, you want what your friend is having instead. There is so much too choose from. I think that the same can be said for baby names, but you can’t always send it back or come back next week and try something different.
Today is one of those ‘holidays’ like “National Donut Day,” “National Bubblebath Day,” or ”National Handwriting Day.” There’s a ‘holiday’ for everything. Today’s ‘holiday’ caught my attention though. Today, March 27th, is “National Joe Day”—a day for those of you out there that don’t like your name.
When looking to choose the perfect name, the resources are endless. Baby name books and online baby-naming tools and resources are plentiful (a search for baby name books at Indigo.com yielded 478 choices and at 995 amazon.com). Then there is the desire to be different. Babies are also being given names that might have come from browsing a dictionary or map. I see names come across my desk that sometimes have me thinking “is that a person, place, or thing?” As I said, the resources, the choices are endless.
With choice, however, can also come regret.
“I love the name I chose and so did the parents of the five other Sophies or Sophias in my daughter’s class.”
“My son’s name is always mispronounced. So frustrating. I like the way it sounds when we say it.”
“In an effort to give our son a traditional name with a twist, we changed the spelling and added a (silent) H. I’m tired of spelling it for people and I think he will be too. This is the one time in my life that I’m wishing I had listened to my mother.”
Got regret? Here are some things that you can do without going on the record:
Use the middle name. You chose the middle name for a reason. Try it out.
How about initials? If I went with my initials, I’d be CJ. I kinda like that.
Choose a nickname that fits. Miley Cyrus was born “Destiny Hope” and was always called “Smiley” because she smiled so much. She shortened it to Miley. Voila.
How about a variation on the name? Alexandra, for example, could be Allie, Lexie, Alexa, Lex, Zandra. Jacob could be Coby, Jake or Jay.
Go with it. Remember why you chose it in the first place. Decorate your baby’s room with a few special pieces that are personalized.
Have you regretted the name that you chose for your baby? Do you regret the name that you were given by your parents? Please share your coping strategies and help out some other’s suffering from Naming Remorse.
I love names that are unique when they hold special meaning. I recently sought out Trista Sutter, of The Bachelor and The Bachelorette, to talk names. Trista was the runner-up on the first season of The Bachelor and was the first Bachelorette the following year. Ryan was the lucky guy to win her heart on the popular reality show and the two are happily married with two children, Maxwell and Blakesley, living in Vail, Colorado. While finding your spouse on a TV reality show is not the most conventional, you’ll find that Trista and Ryan honour tradition in building their family and life together.
Candace: Let's start with you…Trista is an unusual name. Tell me how your parents chose it for you and why. Did you love it or loathe it growing up? Did your feelings about it change or grow as you grew up?
Trista: They actually just saw it in a baby book and liked it…as unspecial as that sounds. :) I was okay with it. Of course I got lots of nicknames, and I never got to just buy a magnet or cup or preprinted name off those silly displays at gift stores. I was okay with it, but definitely learned to love its uniqueness more, the more I got older.
Candace: Maxwell Alston - what a great name. When I look it at it looks cool, powerful and serious all at the same time. Can you tell what went into choosing it for him. Is there special meaning or honor behind it?
Trista: Ryan and I both loved Maxwell from the get-go of name planning. Alston is Ryan's father's middle name as well as his great great (maybe another great) grandfather's name and we both wanted to honor our families through the kids names.
Candace: Blakesley Grace - you know I love this. Can you tell me the story and how it felt to give her your mother's name? Does Grace come from something special too?
Trista: Ever since I was little, I wanted to include the name "Rose" in one of my children's names. My mother's name is Roseanne and my grandmother's name is Rosemary. The only name that Ryan REALLY liked for a girl was Grace. We didn't think that Grace Rose or Rose Grace sounded that great together, so in the interest of letting Ryan have the name he absolutely loved, I put more thought into it. I really wanted to honor my side of the family, since we had honored Ryan's by naming our son, Maxwell Alston, and one day was just throwing around names and stuck on Blakesley Grace. We both thought it sounded perfect together. Many people love the name, especially when they learn that it was my mother's maiden name, but many were outspoken (and actually pretty cruel) about their dislike for it. No matter what any critics say, we think it's beautiful and I am thrilled to be able to honor my mom.
Candace: Did you and Ryan agree on the names? What was the process of choosing and deciding for you?
Trista: We did. We couldn't have gone about naming our children until we both truly loved the names, and luckily we did.
Candace: I've been having some great conversations with people about taking your husband's surname when you got married. A lively dialogue on Facebook earlier this week. You took Ryan's name. Was it an easy decision or did you debate it?
Trista: Even though I was married on television, I am very traditional in terms of that sort of thing and knew from my days as a little girl that I wanted to take on the name of the man that I married. I love the romance and honor of it and I actually like Trista Sutter better than Trista Rehn. (Sorry dad!).