One sunny morning when I was in high school, lying in bed, I thought of a band name.
I don’t know why. I did not have a band to name. “My next band name” jokes were not a thing thirty years ago. It just came to me.
I started with “Pope Pius XII.” Regardlesss of one’s opinion of ol’ Pacelli, you have admit it’s an extremely impressive moniker. Then I added “The Dead Methodists,” because you have the Dead Kennedys and the Dead Milkmen and because Methodists don’t get thought of much unless you are one.
Pope Pius XII & The Dead Methodists. A name that needed something done with it.
So from that day I used at in various projects. When I was writing funny letters to my cousin at summer camp. When I needed to carry out assignments in Computer class, like writing up a “word processing document” and printing on the dot-matrix printer.
But I haven’t thought of it recently, until a dear friend of mine sent me a picture he’d drawn of the band back in the old days. I had forgotten about this picture. I hate forgetting thing.
The classic lineup of PPXII&TDM (the acronym is not all that much shorter than the actual name) was as follows:
- Me, on drums (I cannot actually play the drums): In this picture I am the one strung up on cables in the upper left. I don’t know why I’m strung up on cable, but I like it.
- Anthraxus M. Jones, lead vocals: A interstellar rogue fleeing charges of fraud, wire fraud, medical fraud, insurance fraud, securities fraud, perjury, barratry, vexatious litigation, police impersonation, and over three thousand separate jaywalking tickets, Anthraxus crash landed on Earth and joined the band as a way of laying low until the heat was off.
- Gar “Gar the Barbarian” Dwyer, bass: In addition to being a monster bass player, Gar also channeled (channeling was a very big thing in the late 80s) the spirit of a 10000-year-old barbarian warrior. Fans loved his habit of going into a mid-set berserker range and chopping the head off the nearest roadie.
- Ronald Reagan, keyboards: Bored to tears in his post-1988 retirement, Ronnie joined the band to get the hell out of the house. Nancy would come backstage and scream at us, horrified at all the mass snorting of Kool-aid.
PPXII&TDM soon garnered a massive following. Our first album, Pope Pius XII & The Dead Methodists’ Greatest Hits, produced a Top 10 hit single: “Inhale,Exhale,Inhale,Exhale,” with guest vocalist Darth Vader.
There was more PPXII&TDM lore, quite a bit more. It’s all in boxes up in the attic, and I don’t know where. I just wanted to share the picture, and the name.
Y’know, it wasn’t until I was in my mid-thirties that it occurred to me that, should the name ever enter the general consciousness, some people would find it offensive.