What’s In a Name?

How five local bands chose their monikers.

bliss & alice

“At the onset, [bliss & alice] acted as more of a category than this static title…a way to say, ‘happiness and the voice in your head.’” – Brandon Thomas, rapper

Brat Sounds

“I heard these young women talking
in shrill, Valley girl voices. They were too far away to make out words, but their voices cut through all the sounds of [Glorioso’s Italian Market] and I thought, ‘These girls are making brat sounds.’”  – Scott Cary, guitar/vocals

King Courteen

“The name comes from a 1913 warehouse in the Fifth Ward that housed the Courteen Seed Company. The name represents my love for Milwaukee, its history and a homage to the building owner who preserved its history.”  – Michael Gerlach, guitar/vocals

Midwest Death Rattle

“I am shy by nature, so there was a conscious effort to find a name that felt equal parts sword and shield. Midwest Death Rattle has always allowed me to channel what gets buried beneath too much Midwest-brand nice.” – Nick Perow, guitar/vocals

No No Yeah Okay

“No No Yeah Okay represents the internal thought process of every local publication that’s debating if they should cover our music. Most haven’t gotten past the first or second ‘No.’”
– Mark Gage, producer


‘What’s In a Name?’ appears in the August issue of Milwaukee Magazine.

Find the August issue on newsstands beginning August 1, or buy a copy at milwaukeemag.com/shop.

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Kevin is a freelance writer residing in Milwaukee. He’s contributed to The Shepherd Express, Third Coast Daily, Pop Matters and the sadly now-defunct A.V. Club Milwaukee. He looks forward to forging a deeper connection with the city’s impressive music scene during his gig as a Music Notes blogger. His talents include music criticism, riding a bicycle, drinking tasty beers and a crafty croquet swing. His weaknesses comprise Jean-Claude Van Damme movies, professional wrestling and his ever-growing record collection. He’s in desperate need to find more physical (and hard drive) space for the exceptional albums Milwaukee musicians keep churning out.