Our country’s seventh president was an all-around vile bastard and tyrant who gladly endorsed slavery, locked up anyone who criticized him, slaughtered Native Americans and forced them from their lands at gunpoint (creating the infamous "Trail of Tears" in the process), shat on the constitution, defied both Congress and the Supreme Court, and, in essence, was the closest thing to a despot that America has ever had in the Oval Office.
And its one of the reasons why homegrown folk-punk heroes Andrew Jackson Jihad decided to no longer be a namesake of the pugnacious POTUS. Earlier this week on Wednesday, the band announced on its Facebook and Twitter that they were changing the band’s name to simply AJJ after 12 years because they no longer wanted to be associated with Jackson or continue co-opting the Muslim word “jihad.”
Neither seemed as quaint and clever as when founding members Sean Bonette and Ben Gallaty coined the name back in 2004 when they formed the band.
AJJ laid out its reasoning for the change in the statement, citing cultural sensitivity issues and hinting at a possible backlash they’ve gotten from fans over their name.
1.) We are not Muslims, and as such, it is disrespectful and irresponsible for us to use the word jihad in our band's name.Besides, they added, most of their fanbase (which has been growing in leaps and bounds in recent years) referred to the band as AJJ anyway.
2.) We no longer wish to be a living reminder of president Andrew Jackson. Interesting historical figure as he was, he was an odious person and our fascination with him has grown stale.
We are very sorry to any people the name has offended. We would like to thank those who have reached out over the years to let us know that the name is problematic, especially those who reached out with kindness. Had we known in 2004 that we would still be making music together 12 years later, we most certainly would have chosen a more thoughtful name from the start.
Like other bands boasting acronymic monikers that are open to individual interpretation (such as KMFDM, MDC, and locals JJCnV) the erstwhile Andrew Jackson Jihad is leaving it up to their fans to decide what it now stands for.
“The name AJJ fits us better than Andrew Jackson Jihad. It has been our nickname for those in the know forever. It hearkens back to the great skatepunk bands like JFA, FYP, LFO, etc...It also retains, even amplifies the quality that I liked about the name Andrew Jackson Jihad; that it can be interpreted in different ways. Now that we are AJJ we can be "Arizona Juvenile Justice", "Anonymous Junk Jugglers," "Actress January Jones" … the possibilities are endless and we're very excited to see what you all come up with.And so far, AJJ’s fans have offered up with such interpretations on social media as Ancient Jewel-Encrusted Jeans, Apple Jacks Jubilee, or (our favorite) Antisocial Jaded Jerks. We’re there will be even more tonignt more during the conclusion of AJJ’s two-night homecoming at the Crescent Ballroom with Joyce Manor.
In other AJJ news, the band also dropped its latest single, “Now That I'm at the Top of My Game,” on Wednesday (complete with one of its typically bizarre music videos) along with news of the name change. It’s one of the tracks from the band's currently untitled upcoming album, recorded in Grammy-winning indie rock super-producer John Congleton.