I’m often asked why I named my “band” (that is, my musical project consisting of just myself) The Checkers Speech. First of all, everything else in the entire world is taken. But mostly, it’s because I’m a bit of a Nixon hobbyist — he was the President that came along just as I was gaining my political awareness — and because what I’m doing with my music is, politics aside, the same thing that Nixon was doing with this famous speech.
In 1952, young Senator Nixon had been chosen by General Eisenhower to be his running mate, but the opposition was were accusing him of improper financial dealings, and Ike and the GOP bigwigs were having second thoughts about his place on the ticket. Nixon took a look around and noticed this fresh new medium of television, realized that he could use it to take his message directly to the public, persuading them to convince the political powers that he be kept on the Republican ticket.
Not only did it work, but the speech, which takes its name from the cocker spaniel puppy mentioned toward the end, quite possibly won the election for the GOP.
When it came time to choose a band name, I realized that I’m doing conceptually the same thing: Using cutting edge technology (digital music creation and distribution) to end-run the powers that be (the music industry) and take my message (music) directly to the people.
It’s still an odd band name, but like I said, I can’t be picky.