Pull the chord

Dear Ace: Whatever happened to Sparky’s Flaw? Was it fixed?—Dylan Bobbit

Dylan: When a pop rock band incorporates a “flaw” into its name, it immediately becomes fodder for bad jokes like yours. Perhaps this is one of the reasons why the Flaw boys debuted their new name—Parachute VA—on New Year’s Eve in Times Square. As clever as Ace is, he can’t think of a single slanderous play on the word parachute. But Ace does have a feeling that young ladies will privately call the Parachute boys “para-cute”! Groan.

But back to business. Lots of bands changed their names and subsequently found rock stardom. Ace himself once played lead guitar in an obscure metal band called Detective Debris, but when he changed the name to Ace’s Ravens and started playing weddings and bar mitzvahs, the band finally took off (in elite circles). Sort of like Radiohead, which was at one point called On a Friday. Or Maroon 5, which was originally called Kara’s Flowers. Stone Temple Pilots was formerly Mighty Joe Young. And who can recall the entire range of Diddy’s and Prince’s historical appellations?

Considering that the gentlemen of Sparky’s Flaw chose their name when they were still in high school, when many of us were making far worse decisions (what is the Chinese lettering for “tramp stamp” again?), Ace thinks they deserve a little leeway on their name adjustment. People change exponentially between attending high school and signing big-time recording contracts with Island Records, and a new name should reflect that maturation. But at the same time, what a pain in the ass! Is a moniker change worthwhile after six years of establishing a name and selling t-shirts and printing posters and buying Internet domains and befriending people on MySpace? Won’t the college fangirls just be confused? And what about their permanent Sparky’s Flaw tattoos? As labor-intensive as it seems, however, the name change must be worth it because Red Light Management is run by music biz people who—dare he say it—know more than Ace Atkins about such matters. And that makes this discussion “para-moot.”

You can ask Ace yourself. Intrepid investigative reporter Ace Atkins has been chasing readers’ leads for 20 years. If you have a question for Ace, e-mail it to ace@c-ville.com.

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