For a good two weeks we scoured poems, dictionaries, songs, road signs, plant books, and the messy terrain of our gray matter, hoping to find a name for the band. We wanted something like Iron and Wine that sounded both feminine and masculine. We sent each other text messages several times a day, like two high school kids trying to think of a name for their club. We gave each other total veto power. We bounced ideas off mothers and wives: WonderBlue, Opie’s Kitchen, Buffalo Alice. Moderately clever phrases popped up on our cell phones, only to be deleted.
“The good is the enemy of the great,” we told ourselves. “We don’t settle for anything we don’t love.”
I’d been listening to Gillian Welch’s album “The Harrow and the Harvest,” with its lead track “Scarlet Town.” Ari was reading Ginsberg. At some point in that calendar year I must have played the board game Clue with my daughter. How else to explain the text I sent to Ari? “Miss Scarlet in the Kitchen with a Fiddle,” to which she replied that she kind of, sort of loved it. But “kind of, sort of” wasn’t good enough. Too old-timey. Too hoedown for our music.
Then Ari came across the phrase “sunflower locomotive” in a Ginsberg poem, and one night before rehearsing she asked me what I thought.
“Damn,” I said. “That’s close. I like the word locomotive.”