Origins Of Popular Band Names
Most people wouldn't think that medieval myths and modern music have much in common, however, certain names that popular bands assume originate from mythology. Two such examples are the band named Mephiskapholes, and the band called the Tantra Monsters. The name Mephiskapholes is a play on words for Mephistopholes, a mythological deity. To understand Mephistopholes and how he relates to the band in question, one must understand his role in German mythology. Mephistopholes is always an evil character, and represents the devil or Satan. The most popular reference to him was made in "Faust", which is widely considered one of the greatest works ever written. It is a medieval story about a philosopher, named Faust, who becomes very lonely and calls out to Satan. It is then that Mephistopheles first enters the myth, and offers Faust a beautiful young woman named Marguerite in exchange for his soul. After some hesitation, Faust accepts and, as one might expect, ends up regretting this bargain. The story comes to an end as Satan leads Faust to Hell. The Mephiskapoles name is appropriate for the group as they are known for their rendition of Ska music, known by some as "devil" music. It is horn-fueled dance music that has influences from reggae, jazz, big band and punk music. After further research of ska music, other band names whose specialty is this kind of music, also indicate linkages to classical mythology. An example is the name, "Tantra Monsters", a ska band from Hawaii. The words have an interesting and unique sound and their moniker is closely linked with Asian myths and religion. The name Tantra can be found in Vedic/Hindu religions; it was most common in Northern India, although it got mixed together with Southern Indian local religions such as the worship of Kali. A strange offshoot of this religion is the Tibetan mixed-religion sometimes called Tibetan Buddhism, but also referred to as Tibetan Lamaism. Tantra, or more properly tantrika, is a diverse and rich spiritual tradition of the Indian sub-continent and is associated with spells and black deeds. In ancient times, Tibet had a native local god/goddess, parallel to the Indian local/regional god/goddess systems. Around the time of the Aryan invasion of India, Aryans consolidated the triple-god concept (Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva) by absorbing the various Dravidian local goddesses as "shaktis" (originally the word meant "power" but it came to imply "female consort") for their triad. Meanwhile, the Tibetans kinda were left on their own, hence their "Lamaism" does not resemble classic Hinduism. The Tibetans never abandoned their ancient god/goddess pairings and were left with big Buddhist tankas (religious paintings) showing the 108 Bodhisatvas. The number 108 is sacred in many cultures, most notably in Asia and the Bodhisatvas are men who could achieve nirvana (nothingness) but chose instead to reincarnate and help other souls evolve to the point of nirvanahood. Each of these 108 Bodhisatvas is shown with a naked woman, his shakti, in his lap, performing a sexual act. Apparently sex played an important role in their myths and the lives of their gods and goddesses. The concept of "monster" does not appear in either the Hindu or Tibetan religions, which leaves one to assume that the origin of the name Tantra Monsters is only partially traceable. Some bands appear to choose their names from myths and ancient religions. This provides an interesting link between modern music and medieval beliefs.