Local Band Name Breakdown: Where we ask Bay Area bands the story behind their names. Don't pretend you never wondered.
SF-based Battlehooch is a sextet of quirky dudes who play "shape-shifting orchestral rock n' roll," a kind of jazzy, psychedelic, progressive rock that's completely unique and unpredictable. Their "Desolation" song and video series–a slew of tunes performed in desolate, isolated areas like the Arizona desert or Floridian swamps–show their musical chops at their most fearless, and unfold like sonic stories. They've gained quite the cult following from the days when they would perform outdoors using a homemade generator, and headline at the Independent in July.
What inspired the name Battlehooch? Who thought it up?
There is no actual record of who decided to name the band Battlehooch. You'll need a time machine to figure out who first entertained the thought. I'd like to remember it as a unanimous decision. The origins of the word Battlehooch come from an artistic pilgrimage the drummer Ryan took at the age of thirteen. During his travels, he met a genie inside his brain that would grant him the ability to effortlessly create cunning and clever wordplay with remarkable catchy-ness and a subtle intellectual brilliance.
Your favorite names of bands from the Bay Area?
Bands we like based on their name, not necessarily music, but in most cases love their music too: Sly and the Family Stone (LOVE their music), Judgement Day (LOVE their music), the Rotten Kids (LOVE their music), Neckbeard (LOVE 'em), Sleep, High on Fire, Religious Girls (Love 'em), Cash Pony (love 'em), Grateful Dead (love 'em), NOFX, The Brian Jonestown Massacre, Hot Tuna
Local bands whose music we like: Deerhoof, Maus Haus, Lovely Public, Hey Three Eyes, Jefferson Airplane, Sun Hop Fat, Green Day, Social Studies, Snowboarder, Future Twin, Little Teeth, Antioqua, Thee Oh Sees, Girls, 7 Orange ABC, Man/Miracle
Were you named anything before Battlehooch? What were some rejected names?
Some of the members of Battlehooch have been in other groups before. Different combinations though. For example, during the formidable college years, the drummer, singer and guitarist stayed together while others joined and left in a variety of groups. Their bands were called: the Sex, Platypus Rex, Sex with Jon, the New Rectangle. The drummer was in a band in high school called Schnoooggllleeeerraainngg (or something to a similar effect)
"Battlehooch" is particularly perplexing, it's a very funny word. What's the weirdest question you've ever been asked about it?
What's so perplexing about Battlehooch? There honestly haven't been too many weird questions thrown our way. Most people try to figure out what's 'weird' about us, but hardly attempt to challenge us into proving it. It's usually us playing the conversational or social tricks on others. Sometimes people misprint our name, and those are usually pretty funny: Bottlehooch, Butterhooch, Battotch, BattlesHooch, Battlehootch, BrambleHooch.