With Interpol’s grungey-voiced frontman Paul Banks planning to drop a solo album this summer under the odd-sounding pseudonym Julian Plenti, I got to thinking: What’s in a name? Nothing less than your entire identity, perhaps?
Musicians masquerading under pseudonyms of various egregiousness is nothing new. For example: Paul David Hewson is a fine name indeed, but it does conjure imagery of a bank teller or a TPS-report writer rather than the lead singer of U2. And Pink’s appeal has long been tethered to the vibrant spunk of her colorful name, not to mention the vague threat she could also kick your ass. The worst thing Alecia Beth Moore could probably do is meekly threaten to throw her Jamba Juice at you. (But you totally know she wouldn’t. Those are delicious and cost like five bucks.)
We can now stamp Banks’ membership into the illustrious pseudonym club, whose A-listers include Garth Brooks/Chris Gaines and Beyonce/Sasha Fierce. Even though Banks has been performing under the name for years, he will finally release a proper solo album, called Skyscraper, on Aug. 4. A snippet of the album’s title track can be hard on loop at JulianPlenti.com.
From just the quick preview, it sounds like Banks’ solo stuff retains Interpol’s haunting, almost visceral sound and married it with more of a chamber-pop vibe. I’m intrigued. But I’m not sure how I feel about the name Julian Plenti. Granted, at least you can pronounce it, which is more than I can say for Justin Vernon’s moniker Bon Iver. (I feel like a tool every time I say “bone eye-ver,” not “ee-vare”) What do you all think? Are you Plenti excited for Banks’ new project? Or did my “joke” just ruin it? And what are some other pseudonyms you like/love/loathe?
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