Sweet Sunny North of Port Townsend plays a contra dance at the Alaska Folk Festival at the Juneau Arts and Culture Center on Thursday, April 11, 2019. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Sweet Sunny North of Port Townsend plays a contra dance at the Alaska Folk Festival at the Juneau Arts and Culture Center on Thursday, April 11, 2019. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Jizzle Fizzle, Garbage Bear, Buffleheads: The stories of Folk Fest’s weird band names

Find out where the inspiration for these band names came from

Jizzle Fizzle’s name has nothing to do with how Snoop Dogg talks.

The Juneau garage-rock outfit with jam band tendencies settled on the silly, rhyming name because members felt it described the way an improvised song could start strong before just sort of ending. Plus, the name didn’t take itself too seriously.

“The jizzle part would be kind of like, ‘Oh wow, everything’s awesome,” said Rob Weber, vocalist and rhythm guitar-player for the band in a phone interview with the Capital City Weekly. “The endings weren’t as tight or rocky, so it basically fizzled. That was the name we came up with, and it just kind of stuck. We never got rid of it.”

Three years after the band formed, the Jizzle Fizzle name is one that stands out on the Alaska Folk Festival schedule as particularly out there.

[Flustered Cluckers talk about their name and answer other questions]

Although, it has some competition from the 2019 folk fest lineup.

There’s foreign-language-influenced names like Rubato (from the Latin), Sérge le Magnifique avec M. Nate and Eight days on the Playa.

Puns such as Georgia O’Keith and The Young, the Old and the Restless abound.

More than a few bands, like the Buffleheads, Musk Ox Ramblers and Garbage Bear turned to nature for inspiration.

Regarding that last name, Wes Adkins, guitarist, vocalist and pianist for the Juneau band Garbage Bear, said it simply seemed Juneau needed a band by that very name.

“I have to give credit to my partner Charlie Kidd, he came up with it,” Adkins said in a phone interview with the Capital City Weekly. “We thought about it, then one day, I don’t remember where we were, maybe a social gathering, but he turned to me and said, ‘Hey, Wes, how about Garbage Bear.’”

That was about two months ago, and he said the duo knew right away they’d hit on something good, and people seem to be keen on the name, Adkins said.

“It’s been overwhelmingly positive,” Adkins said. “In fact we led sort of a Twitter campaign leading up to our show with the Garbage and Bear emojis.”

One of the most unusual band names found on the Alaska Folk Fest schedule is also one of the most entrenched and convoluted.

[How Stroller White led to Fire on McGinnis, Juneau’s Celtic rock band]

Johnny Negotiable and the Concessions draws its name from Jim Hale’s all-purpose stage name Johnny Negotiable.

“I always think it’s kind of an open secret,” Hale said, of his alter-ego often heard as a radio host on KRNN.

The concessions part of the band name comes from the sort that might be made during bargaining, not the “let’s all go to the lobby,” variety.

The Negotiable surname comes from a line Hale recalls from a review for a Johnny Paycheck album — something to the effect of not another Johnny with a negotiable sound. It’s since been mutated to apply to his wife, Michelle Bonnet Hale.

“I started referring to her as June Carter Negotiable,” Hale said, which is a reference to June Carter Cash, wife of Johnny Cash. That’s led to sometimes calling the band June Carter and Her Concessions.

The oblique reference upon which the rest of the names are stacked is sometimes lost on people.

“I introduced myself on stage as Johnny Negotiable, and someone said, ‘Is that your real name?’” Hale said. “I said, ‘Yeah, you wouldn’t make up a name like that.”


• Contact arts and culture reporter Ben Hohenstatt at (907)523-2243 or bhohenstatt@juneauempire.com. Follow him on Twitter at @BenHohenstatt.


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