Why’d You Name Your Band That?: Hercules folk/R&B band 19diamonds

19diamonds' music displays Herculean effort ... because they're from Hercules. (via Faceook)

All The City Lights is proud to introduce a new feature, Why’d You Name Your Band That? As you can perhaps predict, this feature involves conversations with Bay Area bands about the origins of their names.

The band 19diamonds graciously agreed to be the guinea pig for this little experiment. Consisting of five fairly recent graduates of Hercules High School, the group has been playing together long enough to stockpile about 30 original songs, taking cues from melodic, romantic R&B with a hint of laid-back, West Coast folk and blues.

So far, the group’s performances have been talent shows and open-mic appearances. Lead singer Jay Burget is a regular at the Tuesday open-mic night at The Starry Plough in Berkeley, where you might catch him lending his solid, impassioned vocals to a Spice Girls cover without a hint of irony.

19diamonds – “Apple’s Core”


ATCL: So … why’d you name your band that?

James Speros, bass: We sort of played around with jazz a little bit in middle school … with my friend Ed. Ed’s idea was 19diamonds. He said that was a gang in San Francisco during the ’60s that had dissipated. [Editor’s note: Several minutes of Internet research could not verify the existence of a gang by this name, including a search of this extensive list of Gangs in the United States by the Internet Accuracy Project, but for the purposes of this feature, we’ll defer to Ed.]

Jay Burget, vocals and guitar: It seemed more mature than any of the other names we came up with. We never thought we’d remember it. We didn’t have a lead singer at first. We just played Jimi Hendrix songs.

ATCL: Can you remember any alternate names you considered?

Burget: The first name was like, fucking, Bisexual Camel. I don’t know why. The other name was Third Stone. We didn’t really like them.

ATCL: Do people ever get your name wrong?

Burget: We hear, like, 18diamonds sometimes. They get the number wrong all the time. I mean, it’s not that hard to remember.

ATCL: How attached to it are you at this point?

Burget: It’s our identity right now. We made our own logo. If you see it around, it looks like the Superman symbol with the Bay Bridge in it and the number 19.

We messed around with other names. One of our aliases—

Speros: Wolf Pussy.

Burget: Wolf Pussy is our rock name.

We’re pretty attached to (19diamonds) now because we’ve had it for so long.

ATCL: Any advice for all the young bands out there searching for names?

Burget: I would just say don’t think of something too different. You don’t want them to forget the name. It should be something really distinct.

Speros: Don’t over-think it. We just ran with that name.


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