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WJW – BIO Intro

What Jean Wants is a box of odd chocolates that got together and it just works. Our journey was a journey of discovery with four people on a quest for musical bliss.

What Jean Wants is a mantra. It’s our mantra for the world and for us. It’s grounds to speak up for what you want. It’s about getting together for a common purpose that is based on friendship, love, and mutual appreciation.

What Jean Wants is also about a woman coming into the man cave, where the guys in the band will always give her patient space to allow her to find her voice and to voice it. It can be difficult for a woman to have her own voice in the company of men. What Jean Wants is about being accepted and welcome, and allows for “you” to come out of your shell and be free with a group of people you feel comfortable with, that want to hear what you want to sing, hear what want you play, and hear what you want to say.

How we came up with our band name.

In the summer of 2012, our then unnamed band had been getting together for a few months jamming and learning some cover songs while getting a feel for how our four different musical styles were coming together. We were at a point where we had developed a cohesive musical bond and everyone had a feeling that what we were doing should be continued and in an official and representative way. We were feeling like a real band, and not just a bunch of musicians getting together for random jam sessions. It was time to come up with a band name if we were to consider taking the next step forward together.

My experience of when musicians decide it’s time to come up with their band name is that it often comes in the form of three different flavors of direction, from obvious band name suggestions, to thoughtful ones, and then to the quirky and provocative band name ideas. At the end of our discovery process involving all these directions we ended up lucky in that the band name we agreed upon is just perfect for us.

Here’s how it unfolded for us.

During one of our early rehearsals we took a break from working on some cover songs and went to go hang out in the drummer’s garage. It’s always good to give your ears, hands, and voice a break during rehearsal sessions. It’s also a good time to talk about how things are going for everyone musically. I don’t recall who, but one of us said, “So have y’all thought about coming up with a band name yet?” We were all in agreement that it was time to tackle this challenge. We felt like there was something unique and authentic about our sound and we liked how our personalities fit together.

Immediately, silly band name ideas started flowing out of our mouths. This is actually a fun time to be playful and test the patience of your fellow musicians. But this is also a serious task, so we tried to stay on course with making worthwhile suggestions during our excited band name barrage upon each other.

If you haven’t guessed already, Jean is our singer and one of our guitar players. Tim is our drummer; James is the other guitarist and confessed guitar nerd, and myself, the bass player. So, after some time of having fun coming up with bad and ill-fitting band names, the garage went silent. We pondered. We looked out onto Tim’s driveway. We looked blankly into the air for answers. We were literally looking for the name to appear to us. Then, Tim softly said, “how ‘bout, What Jean Wants?” We all looked at each other with a seriousness and joy in our eyes. You could see each of our minds chewing on this name idea with ultimate scrutiny and consideration. There was nothing wrong with it! Actually, it was perfect in every way. In hindsight, I realize that we didn’t truly appreciate the perfection of the name until we had time to digest it and reflect upon its full meaning. We all agreed on the name. We are now What Jean Wants. This is our band name and we are going to make it something that people will remember and affectionately identify with.

I will go into more detail behind what our band name represents in our bio update and future posts. Until then, thanks for listening and thanks for experiencing this wonderful thing with us!

What’s in a band name?

Well, everything. It’s who you will be known as to the world. It’s something you will have around you for as long as you represent your art and your music. And it’s something you better like because if you change it, you’re likely to confuse or lose your fan base, not always but it can happen some times.

How do bands and artists come up with the right name?

Band and artist names are found in every way possible, ranging from deliberately mindful thought, tongue-in-cheek explorations, and or accidental mindless discoveries that uniquely resound with you and your band.

So how do you know when you’ve found the right name?

When you have found just the right band name or artist name, it will be an “Aha” moment that stops you in your tracks and makes you feel physically, mentally, and spiritually good about it and how it represents you. The right name will portray the realities of who you are as well as show you the possibilities of whom you can and will become.

What if you feel you have compromised on a band name or artist name, and you’re still not sure about it? How do you confront those doubts?

You never really know whether a band name is right or wrong for you until you try it on for size and try to give the name meaning by just being who you are musically and letting the name become defined by your sound and your art.  The right band name identifies the band or artist at an artistic and personal level to both the band and their fans.

When is it the right time to find your band name?

Choosing a band name usually occurs at some point after the group has developed a cohesive musical bond and everyone has a feeling that what they’re doing should be continued at some sort of official representative level. Thus a band name is usually needed to start gigging or branding the band.

Band names have come from every unpredictable source and obvious place that you can think of. Band names are usually very original or obvious. Sometimes an unconventional band name choice really sticks and for some reason it ends up truly representing the band really well, like the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Blondie, or Led Zeppelin. Sometimes a band name choice is very evident and self-explanatory like The Allman Brothers Band, Simon & Garfunkel, or Billie Eilish. These latter band names work perfectly because they literally describe who they are. Going the more creative route to finding a band name can take time or just require a moment of brilliance and awareness. Once you find it, believe in it and move forward.

Ultimately it’s the sound of the band that defines the band and the band name. And when the music is comfortable in its own skin the name becomes truly meaningful.

40 years ago I became a bass player!

It was a cold and gloomy Illinois January afternoon in 1980. I was 14 years old, a freshman in high school, in a new town, sitting in the locker-room changing into my street clothes when someone the row over had their boom-box playing. The music I heard gave me goose bumps. I was dumbfounded, shaken. What is this amazing music I’m hearing? It was unlike anything I had heard before. It was massive, complex, and overwhelming. I had to know, so I shouted out over the gym lockers, “What band is that?” The reply was, “It’s RUSH!” Rush? That’s a strange name I thought. But it did give me a rush as I listened. I then announced, “Wow, must be 10 people in that band!” The unknown boom-box owner replied, “Nah man, there’s just three guys in that band.”  I was shocked and dismayed. How can this be? I was hearing things I’d never heard before. It defied everything I understood about music. I then asked, “What are the instruments being played?” He replied, “Guitar, bass guitar, and drums!” I said, “What’s a bass guitar?” There were no replies. The locker room went silent and I left in awe. What had just happened?

The song was “The Spirit of Radio” by Rush.

On the bus ride home that day, I told one of my best friends Jerry about a band I’d heard that day. Jerry said, “Oh yeah, RUSH rocks!  Do you wanna come over to my house and check out the new bass guitar I just got for Christmas?” What?! I get to find out what a bass guitar is on the first day I’d ever heard such a thing existed? I was overcome with anticipation and got off at his bus stop. We went inside his house and Jerry pulls out this amazing instrument. It was a brand new Gibson EB-3 four-string bass guitar. He played it for a bit then handed it to me. The bass felt alien to me, yet at the same time mysteriously familiar. Jerry showed me how to press down on the strings to make a note and then how to pluck the strings to make the note make a sound. I was hooked, and time seemed to slip away. Jerry started getting this strange look on his face while watching me play his new bass guitar, and then he exclaimed out of excitement, “Lenny, you’re a bass player, and you didn’t even know it!” 

I used all my lawn cutting money to immediately buy a JC Penney EB-3 copy bass guitar and then I found a little bass amplifier at a local flea market. Nine months later I was in a band, called Prysm, playing to over a thousand people for my high school’s annual talent show and I haven’t stopped playing bass since then.


Hi! I’m Len, and I’m the bass player in our lovely band called What Jean Wants. However, before I tell you about our band and our music, I’d first like to start off by proclaiming my love for the band Rush. Rush is the reason I’m a bass player. I’m still in shock over the recent loss of Neil Peart, the drummer and main lyricist of Rush. He was your favorite drummer’s favorite drummer, and a monumental wordsmith and story teller. He touched so many lives. My deepest sympathy and heartfelt condolences go out to Neil’s family and friends. Thank you Neil, for everything you gave us and shared with us, and thanks for always being true to yourself and never compromising. We will always be better because of your art, inspiration and conviction. Music can bring us together regardless of our social status, political leanings, or ethnic backgrounds. And I’m ever thankful to Rush for bringing me into their world and the world of being a musician.