Short of naming yourself "Tiger Woods' Ladyfriends," it's tough to imagine a sports-related band name you could pick that would be more charged, and carry more preconceptions, than "Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr." Parody country, right? Or maybe thrash-punk? Add in the fact that the band's two members wear firesuits onstage, and you're thinking this has to be a joke.
It's not; Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. is a legit alternative band with a sound that's far removed from almost anything you'd hear in the Bristol campgrounds or the Daytona infield. This week, they released their major-label debut, It's A Corporate World, with the following trailer:
And though they may look like pseudo-hipsters glomming onto the Earnhardt name with some misplaced, oh-so-cute sense of postmodern irony, it turns out they actually know sports. In a blog post they've written for ESPN Music, members Joshua Epstein and Daniel Zott discuss the — wait, there's an "ESPN Music"? Huh. — anyway, they discuss the sports legacy of their native Detroit with authority.
Big question: has their namesake ever even heard of them? Better; he's actually given them his blessing. "We actually wrote him a letter, and a couple of weeks ago he wrote back," Zott said in an interview. "He was all about the name. He was flattered that a band would use his name. He thought it was funny. He's a fan of our music. He wished us luck and told us that he's not going to come after us. It was a great letter, and it really motivated us even more to keep the name, to keep the goofiness but have the music be a serious part of it."
So what does the future hold for Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr.? We can only hope, for their sake, they have as rabid a fanbase as their inspiration. And if they ever have trouble coming up with song titles, well, I'll bet you can come up with a few right off the top of your head, can't you?
Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. [Official website]