Viet Cong Officially Change Name

The band formerly known as Viet Cong have finally changed their name after months of criticism an controversy. They will now be called Preoccupations.

Controversy arose last year when critics of the Calgary post-punk band’s old name was deemed racist, insensitive and appropriative by many within the industry. Last September, the band announced that they would be changing their name, but continued to tour, promote music and announce shows under the name Viet Cong, which included an Australian tour earlier this year.

The band have released a statement explaining their name change and apologising for those who were offended:

After finishing our latest record and taking some time off, we are excited to announce that we will be performing and recording as “Preoccupations” going forward. We will be previewing new material from a forthcoming record in a series of festivals and shows in North America and Europe in the coming months. We apologize to those who were adversely affected by our former band name. This was never anticipated nor our intent. We are artists and not politicians, we understand that the name reflected pain to some individuals and we are happy to change it and move on and focus on our music. Thanks to all our friends and fans. See you all soon.

For some, the name change isn’t enough, and indeed some are already criticising the new name, saying it’s a slight again those who were preoccupied with the old name.

While I agree it’s almost certainly in response to the criticism, I have no problem with this. If you’re going to get forced to change it (and it WAS a bloody stupid name), there’s no reason why it should not be addressed in this way.

While there are lessons to be learned from the band formerly known as Viet Cong, they certainly wouldn’t be the first to pick out a poorly chosen name just because it sounded cool. Though not their intent, calling the band Viet Cong did spark a conversation, and ultimately that was a good thing. As far as the band is concerned, if they’re content to stay out of these murky political and cultural waters and focus on their music, this will no doubt be a great step forward for those who fundamentally had a problem with the band due to its name. A rose by any other name, right?

Along with the name change the band has announced new material coming soon and a series of tour dates for this spring and summer, so keep an eye out in the coming months.

Image: Chart Attack

Co-written with Torben Berhard, originally for Indie News