Now another band in the UK has changed their name as well, but rather than being forced to, they did it because they thought they should.
The U.K. math rock band This Town Needs Guns has decided to rebrand themselves as simply TNNG, and their reasoning is something they feel is a matter of taste.
A statement on their site reads in part:
Over the years, many of you have asked where the band name comes from. As a band originating in Oxford, UK, 'This Town Needs Guns' was simply a name chosen by a group of friends wanting to make music together. At the time, this name was not considerd particularly offensive and indeed was an ironic statement given the setting of such a historic and cultural city as Oxford.
Context plays a big part in the way a band name such as 'This Town Needs Guns' may be perceived. In the UK, guns are not present. Ordinarily, our police force do not even carry guns. Within this context, an idea such as a town needing guns seems too absurd to be taken seriously.
However, eight years on, things have changed. With our music now finding new cultures, the irony of the name is no longer implicit. Also, in light of the controversy over gun ownership in the US as well as tragic shootings there and elsewhere in the world, we want to distance ourselves from a band name which we are now uncomfortable with.
Is it a matter of integrity, or a lack of it based on a desire to sell more records as they gain a larger following? Are they truly uncomfortable with the name, or are they uncomfortable with the idea that somewhere, a suburban mom may decide the band's name is in poor taste and opt not to purchase it? Is this an artistic decision, or a business one?
Over the years, there have been many band names that pushed the boundaries of good taste much further than This Town Needs Guns, and reached varying levels of success regardless.
The Detroit punk band Death saw themselves dissolve into obscurity because they refused to change their name, but bands like the Dead Kennedys thrived on pushing boundaries of good taste, both with their names and in their music. And Fucked Up has become one of the best known Canadian punk bands, despite having a name that many outlets won't even print.
Punk music, and music in general, has long been at least partially about pushing boundaries. Questioning authority and an outlet for protest have been a key part of music since its inception. It was until much more recently that music has evolved into a marketing machine, a product intent on creating celebrity and selling records rather than a pure artistic outlet.
What rests in the future for TTNG will largely rely on the content of their releases, and not their name. But slight missteps will always be marred by a band that has changed their name simply because they didn't want to upset anyone.