The mild-mannered Morning Benders seem like one of the last bands that could cause an international dust-up, but the charming Berkeley, California quartet recently discovered their name was causing static in the U.K. and Europe, where “bender” means something totally different from the “binge drinking sesh” definition we use stateside — that is, a derogatory slur for “gay.” As a result, the band has decided to officially rename themselves. Behold and welcome, the newest member of the all-caps family, POP ETC!
According to a statement they’ve posted on their website, the band’s original name attracted a lot of smack-talk and bad vibes in their fan community, where they “were told [their] band name was the equivalent of ‘The Morning Fags’ in America.” Naturally, having met at one of the most liberal schools in America (UC Berkeley), the quartet was horrified. “We simply cannot go on using a name that is demeaning to the gay community,” they wrote. “The reason we are making music is to reach and unite as many different kinds of people as possible, and the idea that our name may be hateful towards anyone makes us sick.” The band will use their new POP ETC name for their third studio album, which they say is nearly finished.
Unfortunately, there’s another awkward twist to the story: The name POP ETC has already been taken, by a small, Winnipeg-based music festival who felt weird about the former-Benders’ news. It’s unclear whether this will become a problem for POP ETC the band, but for now, maybe the quartet can offer a performance to the DIY fest, as penance? The band has already dropped a mixtape on their new POP ETC website.