All Week: Snake Beards


“We weren’t the kind of band that trashed hotel rooms. Partly because we wanted repeat gigs, but also because we were tidy to the point of compulsion. At least as rock bands go.

“Besides, mindless vandalism was just boring. Pour beer into a TV set? Some other bands, maybe. With us it had to be creative vandalism. Plausible deniability was a plus, too.

“So we wrote each letter of the band’s name on a slip of paper, and shuffled the letters to see what else they could spell. ‘Bad Sneakers’ became ‘Ask Red Beans,’ ‘Snake Beards,’ or ‘Ass Reek Band.’

“After the gig, we’d climb up on the roof of the club and rearrange the letters on the marquee. A couple of drinks made this more fun than it sounds.

“We weren’t above cheap shots, either. In Reading, Pa., we played next door to a buffet restaurant with a sign that boasted ‘All the Good Food You Can Eat.’ The switch took seconds: ‘All the Dog Food You Can Eat.’ And I think I still have the leftover ‘O’ somewhere.

“Of course, nowadays there’s a Web site for this sort of thing. We never knew what we were missing. Turns out the letters in ‘Bad Sneakers’ yield even more combinations, many of which would have made good band names.”

Naked Sabers
Ken’s Bad Ears
Baked Snares
A Darkness Be
Sedan Brakes
Ken Bared Ass
Ed’s Snake Bra
Drab As Knees
See Sand Bark
Bears’ Ska Den
Saber Sank Ed
Bass Kneader

Audio technician Greg Mack, Beach Haven, N.J., 1982