What’s Up With Guy Bands Who Call Themselves ‘Girls’?
Weird Trend Alert: Is it just me, or is it wildly unlikely that there are suddenly all these guy bands with the word “Girls” as part of their name? So who are these “Girls”? And where do they get off playing this devious gender trick? We investigate:
YEARS ACTIVE: 7
OUTPUT: 2 LPs
SOUNDS LIKE: A 12-hour dance party hosted by Ric Ocasek
According to the Girls’ guitarist Vas, a friend suggested the name to singer Shannon Brown in 2001, and the discussion ended there. “None of us are girls, but we sure at times act like them,” Vas explains. “After being in our van for 18 hours, we tend to come onstage wearing women’s panties. We’re definitely in touch with our feminine sides.” But doesn’t it ever get you into trouble? “We were in LA in 2003, and this sports newscaster, a pretty serious guy, came up to us and said, ‘So where is this band the Girls?’ and we were like, ‘We are the Girls.’ And he was like, ‘What? There’s no girls in the band! You know how many guys probably show up looking for action and you guys show up and you’re dudes?'” Exactly.
HOMETOWN: San Francisco
YEARS ACTIVE: 1
OUTPUT: 1 7-inch single, full-length forthcoming
SOUNDS LIKE: Sweetly openhearted life affirmations sung in yo-yo-ing vocals over bouncy, surf-tinged pop
Despite the female subjects of his songs, the twirling muses in the band’s “Morning Light” video, and the portraits of smiling girls on either side of the band’s “Lust for Life” 7-inch, Girls’ waifish, long-haired singer, Christopher Owens, insists that the choice of name was little more than an accident. “We spun the name of my band which had just broken up, called Curls, to Girls. It was the first thing we thought of, and we liked it, and there was no further discussion.” No further discussion? Very ungirl-like!
HOMETOWN: New York
YEARS ACTIVE: 3
OUTPUT: 1 album forthcoming
SOUNDS LIKE: New Order developing Stockholm syndrome after being abducted by Bauhaus
Johnny LeValley, half of New York’s Girls (with Mikey Jones), explains: “I was talking to my friend about it, and he was like, ‘Well, why don’t you just name your band LeValley Girls?’ and I was like, ‘That’s brilliant!'” So why does the duo go by just Girls? “I think it would be interesting if millions of bands all over the world named themselves Girls and attached geographic location, like cities, states, or maybe even areas of town. Like some yuppies in an office could start a band and they’d all collaborate over the internet. So instead of looking at porn during the day when they’re supposed to be working, they’re making music and they’re called ‘Girls Cubicle 10 West Coast, collaboration with Girls Cubicle 14 East Coast Times Square’ and maybe involve another collaborator in Portugal….There are so many options.” Girls like options.
HOMETOWN: Originally of Chicago, formerly of Portland, recently of New York, currently staying in Toronto, possibly headed to an Airstream trailer in Texas
YEARS ACTIVE: 1 1/2
OUTPUT: 2 releases
SOUNDS LIKE: Fuzzy bedroom psych-scapes framing echoing, doo-wop vocals
Strangely, Megan Remy (a girl!) is the sole member of U.S. Girls. “I liked the idea of people assuming it was a group of girls,” she says, “but they’ve also assumed it was a group of guys.” So what does Megan think of the Girls-as-guys trend? “I mean, it’s just a really cheap way of being clever. It’s like you’re in the eighth grade and you’re trying to shock or confuse your family or something. U.S. Girls was just a phrase that stuck in my mind, and I felt, y’know, entitled to use it. Not that a guy shouldn’t use it. But I think people should start using U.S. more. I think that’s hilarious. From now on, every band has to start with the country it came from.”I think I see a new trend coming on….