The Punk Vault


There are few things I hate more than when some new band forms, and they use the name of a much better band that came before them. Case in point, a friend of mine is dancing at a show at Gunther Murphys this Thursday night and one of the bands who is playing is called The Sleepers.

What the fuck?! There already was a band called The Sleepers! They were from San Francisco and featured the late Ricky Williams on vocals. They were a really good band from the early punk days. A simple google search by these disrespectful humps would have easily shown them that name was previously taken! This is worse than when some crappy movie studio remakes some great and not really that old film (see Texas Chainsaw Massacre for an example) when there was nothing wrong with the original in the first place. They are just too lazy, or uninspired, or incapable of coming up with something original. The world does NOT need another Sleepers, the one we had was fine. Come up with your own name.

If some group of guys (or gals or some combination thereof) forms a band and can’t be bothered or are too stupid to check to see if the great idea they had for a band name was already used, do you really think they possess enough creativity to come up with music that doesn’t suck total ass? I think not. These guys aren’t even from San Francisco, they are from Chicago. My city is occupied by fucking blasphemers! I mean come on, in this day and age pretty much the entire universe up to and including my dog has access to a computer somewhere that is on the internet. It takes all of about 30 seconds to do a google search (or 7 minutes if you are still using archaic dialup access), put forth the effort for crying out loud! This new “Sleepers” has a website, so someone associated with the obviously has access to a computer, so why didn’t they bother to check to see if the name was used?!

Alright, end of rant. I hope they wise up and change their name. I’m sure the surviving members of The Sleepers (the REAL Sleepers) don’t appreciate their name being taken.


  • 1
  • 2
  • What about this new crappy UK band using the name Embrace? I smell a lawsuit!

  • You are so right! THere was one and only one “Sleepers” ever and “Painless Nights” remains one of the best albums ever by anyone in any genre. To think that we saw these guys doing things that were unheard of before or since, though much of their style was picked up in later years is really amazing. And let’s face it, Ricky WIlliams was one of the finest vocalists ever – “the poor man’s David Bowie” but with perhaps more to give and more original (some say pathological) talent than just about any since.
    Fortunately much “Sleepers” (the real ones) stuff is available on CD from I forget who but it’s a good comp with 7″ and demo cuts plus the Painless Nights tracks. It’s so great to listen to this and remember when (actually before) the punk scene in SF especially wasn’t a cookie-cutter hardcore band scene. Check out “Wave Goodbye” the album of the last night(s) at the Savoy Tivoli to hear the real diversity of the late-seventies SF scene. God what an old geezer, but you should have been there! The Vats too! Jak’s Rule OK!

  • Hey Douchebag, who gives a shit about what bands use what names. Isn’t it all just about the music. You say this “Sleepers” band from San Fran was so great…never heard of them. Their lead singer is dead, who are these guys the fucking Doors that they are all of a sudden good because someone in the band is dead. Go back to listening to Nirvana, and leave the rock-n-roll up to people who actually appreciatte the music, instead of worrying about some name. Slacker!

  • Other bands that have unoriginal names (meaning they’ve been used before)-

    -The Vines
    -The Hives
    -The Beatles
    -The Heartbreakers (you so-called ‘punks’ should be WAY more pissed about this- Johnny Thunders used that name first and Tom Petty stole it)
    -The Exploding Hearts (taken in the 60s)
    -The Hollies
    -The Blackhearts

    Please. The list can go on for a long time. There really isn’t much to do about it. My advice is to move on. Enjoy the original Sleepers music. Maybe this new band ain’t so bad, if you said your friend was ‘dancing at Gunther Murphys.’

    And also, I Googled “The Sleepers” and the only thing I came up with was the band from Chicago. I did find that band from San Fran many pages later, but they were around in the late 70s for a few years. There are also 3 other bands in the country called The Sleepers. If the original Sleepers were still making music, this would be a problem. My advice to you is this- find something else to complain about, or just choose not to support The Sleepers that you saw in Chicago. Did you say something to the band that night?

  • Douchebag? Listen fuckwad, if you weren’t still waiting for someone to come and change your diapers you might have heard of this band. You might also know that there was life before Nirvana. Wipe the shit off your face and show some respect for your elders before you get spanked.

  • I have to say that “respect for your elders” is the most ridiculous thing any “punk” could ever say. Considering punk music was founded on disrespect for your elders. What a hypocrite.

  • I didn’t see any band in Chicago — see the original post. Also, Mr Terricott makes perfect sense on his own; it’s the other guy who asked for a response.

  • I think that Steve Niece guy was calling the original poster a Douchebag. Which was a bit uncalled for as well. But it’s still a futile argument to make.

    And punkisdead is RIGHT ON. Punk was founed on disrespect for your elders. There was also life after the original Sleepers as well. Although I do like that band a lot. But, I must say, I checked out The Sleepers that are in Chicago, and they’re pretty damn good.

  • Obviously the guy who posted defending his half-assed attempt at a google search used as much effort as he did reading my post. I did NOT go see this bullshit fake Sleepers, and my friend was dancing for the headline band on stage, not in the crowd to whatever music, however bad or good, they may have been spewing.

    You can give me a list of names 1000 long and in every case none of those are right, no one should use a name that has already been used before. If you can’t come up with an original name, what makes me think you can come up with original music? And the excuse that someone is dead and that name was used a long time ago is weak, the fact remains that the name was still already used. Someone has done it already, so come up with something else.

    Punk being about “disrespecting yr elders” or not, bands like the Germs and Black Flag didnt’ pick names that some older bands used now did they? No, because they were ORIGINAL. And I’m quite sure this new “sleepers” is not a punk band, which further weakens the already lame excuses for hte lack of originality and the complete lack of effort to even see if that name had been used before.

    And Steve, I’m well past old enough to know (and have lived through) punk rock BEFORE Nirvana. In fact I don’t know if I have ever written about Nirvana on this site, and if I have it was very seldom. I thought they were pretty good, but I don’t even necessarily classify them as a punk rock band really.

  • And to think I hate posting on these things…But, I must reply to MXV. First of all, if you think The Germs was an original band name, you’re wrong. There was a band in the 50s called The Germs.

    Secondly, I also did some research on the other bands playing At Gunther Murphy’s on Thursdays around when the first post in this topic was posted. The Sleepers played 2 Thursday shows in a row, and it looks like they headlined both of them. So your friend was ‘dancing’ to them.

    And also, why would Pat Smear from The Germs play in a band called ‘Nirvana’ if there were already TWO bands prior with that name?

    ANSWER: He probably didn’t care. Or, maybe he figured it’s no big deal since his original band didn’t have an original name (and I love The Germs).

    Also, there were TWO bands called The Misfits. And they were both good.

  • Oh, yeah. And a band called The Vibraters recorded a single on Columbia in the early 50s as well.

  • Probably not…they’re typing. They’re all still dumb though. Aren’t there more important things to argue about? Like, say, that bands like Good Charlotte are considered punk rock?

  • Ok, so what about basing a band on Paul Bernardo then? Wouldn’t that be cool? I mean, hit singles like “French Kiss” about the ill-fated Kristin French date, you can’t go wrong! …but is there already a band called ‘The Bernardos’?

    When it all boils down, which is more offensive: having a band named the Bernardos OR having TWO bands named the Bernardos?

  • if you are in a band and record/copywright a record, do you also copywright the band name, too? i would really be interested in knowing this, as the name of my original punk rock band from 1977 is also being used now by another new band…

  • Jane, that is a good question. I would imagine if there is proof of someone using and recording under a band name, they could probably have a case to stop somone who came later from using the name.

    What band were you in???

  • Jane, I can help with this question. You cannot copyright a band name. What you can get is called a trademark and a servicemark. A trademark would protect an image or logo that you have for your band name. A servicemark actually protects the name with respect to performance. For example, if this other band plans to come to your town to play a show for their first time, but you’ve already played your town, you can rightfully tell the other band that they cannot perform in your town under their band name (which is the same as yours). Make sense? If you get a servicemark for your band, you will protect yourself and your band name for performance rights. The thing is, the other band that’s named the same as yours can pull a switch-eroo on you guys if you go play their town. But, if you have the servicemark before they do, you have good backing to win. Servicemarks are expensive, though. Probably around $500. But it’s worth it. If you servicemark your band name, you have a good chance of winning a case against a band that shares your band name, even if they were around before you (but don’t have a servicemark). Good luck.

  • thanks guys for your prompt response to my question… to answer your question, i was in a band called “the maggots” from san francisco, california formed way back in 1977, when i was still in high school! i have played with tons of bands here,including, dennis c. lee and the living daylights, v.s., the cosmetics, the conservatives, subsidized mess(pre-“crucifix”) the ricky williams experience,(with sleepers vocalist ricky williams) the hellations(with d.h. pelegro from the dead kennedys and bruno desmartass from flipper on guitars!) , bourbon deluxe, the ramonas, polkacide, society dog, and most recently, a wildly prolific punk thrash unit from verona, italy called the grabbies!!!… i also have the distinction of being courtney loves first drummer for her first band sugar baby doll(with kat bjelland of babes in toyland)…as well as countless others too numerous and crazy to list….but apparently there is a band now out calling itself the maggots…

  • yes the original maggots did put out an apparently highly collectable record in 1980 called “lets get, lets get, tammy wynette!!!” a song i wrote from the kidnappers point of view, after a bizarre “kidnapping” incident in the late 70s (later found to be an elaborate hoax concocted by tammy to cover up for her abusive husband kicking her ass…) no wonder she was pissed when this guy i knew asked her to sign a copy of it at an autograph session at marriots great america amusement park…she actually threw his record and started screaming, and they escorted him out, sans autograph….it is now being re-issued by the portland based discourage rock & roll, who have made up quite a nice collectable package to go with it, a nice book, original demo versions, all on good old fashioned vynil just like granpa used to make em…

  • i wish!!! i could never even afford to buy one nowadays…which is why it will be cool to finally get a new, playable copy that i can actually have for posterity!!!… a couple of weeks ago, i did see a copy auctioned on e-bay for $299 dollars, which really made me wish i had a few stashed away!!!! it was also bootlegged on a punk compilation called “bloodstains across california” (only one song)…i bet alot of old punks wish they still had copies of the old stuff they did…

  • So jane, how do you feel about a few local bands across the country calling themselves The Sleepers? Do you think it’s really a big deal? I’m curious, since you said you played with Ricky Williams.

  • the aspect of it that i dont like is the possible confusion it could potentially cause, when nowadays there is really no excuse for not checking into a band name, what with all the internet stuff at everyones fingertips, especially if you are going to record…it would really suck if some kid spent his hard earned dough on a record through the mail, and it turn out to be the wrong band…ricky williams probably wouldnt have dug another band using the name “the sleepers” very much, either, unless it was a sleepers tribute band!!!

  • Just stumbled on to this as I am a san fran Sleepers fan. I was in a Boston band called Pretty Flowers in the 1990’s, and attempted to file a cease and desist to the Brooklyn band of current. However, I was told by one lawyer I had no case. That band is dead, and very few remember us. There is no cut and dried answer to all of this, especially when I found out there was a Bay Area band in the late 1960’s called Big Black! Check it out:
    Long live Ricky Williams the singer, and I don’t mean the football player. 😉 Cheers-Nick Blakey

  • No one cares. Start an original band with an original name, like the Negro Ninjas, the Flibberty-Jibbets, or the Insane Pwn Posse.

  • I know that I just randomly jumped into the conversation, but I just think that there really is no reason why people have to use another band’s name. There is also no excuse for them not doing VERY intense research, if it were my band, I would make sure that I would be remembered and unique, not confused with some band on the two links below me on google. There are too many words and too many combinations of two, three or four of these words, in any language to have to pick the two or three that people have already chosen. I mean, if you randomly chose three words from a dictionary, I could almost guarantee you that there isnt a band name that matches the three words you chose. AND WHY MUST ‘THE’ BE IN FRONT OF EVERY FUCKING BAND NAME EVER?!?!?!?

    Pretend Health Steam

  • I got that band name from a children’s dictionary.

    I know its a fruity band name, but check and tell me if there is a band with that name…..

  • pretend health stream?…what was the definition for that in your childrens dictionary? i wonder…i think that it sounds cool, and i personally have never heard that term before…

  • I just heard that Traci Lords is putting together some kinda all chick Pop-Punk band. Anyone know anything about this?

  • Only ONE “SLEEPERS” People need to wake the Fuck up. Ricky was brilliant and youre a bunch of maggots for having no sense of your own being. Piss OFF.

  • I once broke up a fight between Ricky Williams and Tommy Savage – Ricky ludded and Tommy drunk. It’s not that I didn’t want them beating the shit out of each other, it’s that it was my kitchen and I knew they wouldn’t fucking clean up the mess they made.

    Good times, though. Miss them both. Hey Jane, is Tommy still alive?

  • according to “earache” eric forsman, tommy savage is indeed still alive & living in switzerland for years…

  • i hear you : “copyright”, “collectible”, “respect du”… you must be feeling very old. or maybe this whole punk thing was just as meaningful as the hula-hoop after all. you know… for kids. anyone of you yankees into techno? i guess not. that’s not marketable. go on, hate me. i’m french. kss! kss!

  • hey mxv! if i did have some goodies for you to review, where would i send them? lemme know…Insane Jane

  • howcome tommy lees new band “supernova” has been sued by another band from costa mesa, calif. also named “supernova?” & why can’t punk rockers sue these people nowadays who steal a band name?

  • I knew Ricky very, very well and just realised that he had passed away. I think he would be so pleased that everyone is remembering him so well and call him a “genius”. It’s a shame he’s gone now, because now he probably find the reconition at he always craved.

  • you all who knew the s.f. Sleepers…is there any live tapes around of ANYTHING besides the “sister little”song on “s.f.l.”video? I always have heard their live shows were amazing improvised pieces/jams.Does anyone have any of this stuff? I have all the studio stuff(as far as I know)please help…need to hear more sleepers! great band.

  • once again….any live Sleepers…demo/rehearsal tapes…jams…Ricky Williams sorcery..belfer phase psych chorus guitar underwater sounds…please respond.

  • hey mario!…i know a friend who may soon release some new unheard ricky williams stuff coming up soon, if he
    doesn’t flake out!…if you are a fan of ricky & his spacy singing, check out a group called “the toiling midgets” that ricky recorded with on many occasions…they do alot of that spacey, sleepers style jamming…it’s pretty similar in style….i had a big halloween party once, years ago, & all the sleepers showed up separatly…they picked up the guitars & ricky turned on a microphone, the drummer got behind my drums, & they started to play for the first time since they broke up!!!
    every one was trippin’ checkin’ out this spontainious awesome event, when my dear old dad came down and said “hey, you kids!…it’s time to be quiet, & go home now!!!” bless his old heart, for he knew not what he was interrupting!!!!damn!…….

  • In the same vein, there’s now a Manchester, UK punk band called The Nuns. Another band that didn’t do a simple Google search before choosing a name.

    Somebody even had the nerve to erase the Wikipedia page on the San Francisco Nuns and rewrite it about these Manchester wannabes.

  • Unfortunately, guys …
    This is a battle nobody on earth can win.

    People copy names.
    Some of these people know who’ve they copied and just don’t give a shit.
    You can argue it for a lifetime, but the damage has already taken place, so why bitch until the day you die?

    It’s definately not worthy enough to stress over it.

    It’s like arguing what came first; the chicken or the egg. Baha! You guys are nuts.

    Also, I agree in some aspects from both sides of the argument. So don’t give me shit like “Fuck you! You’re crazy!” … fuck, I already know. I’m a crazy bastard. Fuck me! (Heh)

    But anyway,

    Some bands from different countries clearly didn’t have internet access back in the 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s (whether it didn’t exist, or they were so poor the drummer played with pots, pans, and his grandfather’s old marching snare drum, or they were scared of radiation or some shit. Heh.) so it’s hard to search your shit when you don’t have the right tool.

    New bands don’t have an excuse though. Lack of effort. Clearly.

    Although they still do it anyway, and some do it on purpose. Whether they didn’t search, searched but missed it anyway, or they just dig generic band names and simply don’t give a fuck.

    So all in all, ladies and gents, punkers and punkettes, it all comes down to opinion, and mine is fuck it. Nobody ever wins or loses.

    … and I know that if some of us met each other in person, we’d probably dig one another, so fuck the argument, cuz we’re all the same breed. Old or new generation.

    So cheers to all of you
    I’m off work, and it’s fucking booze time, baby!

    … and special cheers to insane jane, and the Nuns trooper a couple of replies above.

  • Hi Jane, just to let you know, I actually have an original copy of the Maggots 7″ right here in Singapore, that’s half the world away from S.F.!

    Long live the Maggots, the Sleepers and other great punk bands of the 70’s!

  • Too many “tatood grannys” (ask Jane)and “wanna be” types if you ask me.

    I say we re-name The Maggots to “The Sleepers”.
    Then get 10 other bands to do the same.

    Then every time somebody names a punk band after an old punk band, 10 other bands do the same.
    True anarchy!

  • It has also happened to “the bags” yet there are to
    “subhumans” who don’t seem to give a shit

  • Just to follow up – Discourage records (I included their link) put out the Maggots single in a limited edition of 1100, with alot of insane jane’s artwork and unique humor. She sent me a copy because I gave them all a ride to the studio. thanx jane.

    Dennis C. Lee


Subscribe to The Punk Vault

Enter your email address to subscribe to this site and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 35 other subscribers