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.


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