Sunday, January 24, 2010

Rock stars

Pick any common male name: Peter, John, Robert, Joe, Matt, etc., anything that you wouldn't blink at, that you had a few of in your classes at school. Then try to think of some rock stars with that name. Odds are you will be able to think of a few right away, just tapping on the most famous ones, without even straining. Then if you start going over the names of all those bass players and members of less-famous bands you will be able to fill the list out generously.

I'm sure that if you really tried you could do the same even for the name Frank, but it'll probably prove a lot harder than for other names of comparable popularity, or so it seems. Perhaps if I knew more modern bands I would find the rock scene is now replete with Franks, but when I think of classic rock, there's almost no one. The drummer from ZZ Top is named Frank Beard. You can't neglect Frank Zappa, of course, the only real star with that name, but at the same time, Frank Zappa defies categorization so thoroughly he seems to own his own genre. (And surprisingly many people, even rock fans, barely know of him.) And after that... there's just not much. Or if there is, they don't leap to my mind.

I admit I'm being far from scientific, and if this happens to be one of those rare blog posts to get a response, I imagine it'll be people listing rock stars named Frank, most of whom I've never even heard of, with the implied conclusion that there's just as many of them as any other name. Which is probably true. And maybe there's lots of other common names that seem disproportionately uncommon on the rock stage, and I only noticed this one for the obvious reason that it's my name. Do other people even think about questions like this?

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