I mean the band called “fun.” Eff-yoo-enn-period. As far as I know I have not heard any of their songs, but I’ve become vaguely aware that the guy from fun. is the same guy who used to have a band called The Format, whose first (I think?) album was kind of a thing among some of my friends and me my freshman year of college. There was never a sense that this was a ‘cool’ band that anyone else in the world would or should care about. It was guitar Pop with a capital P, it had a sense of crowd-gathering and musical uplift, but there was simply no ‘crowd’ gathered around it. No wider audience that seemed to play a role in positioning it in the world. There were, as far as I ever knew, only some of the seniors I’d befriended who would play it at their house while we smoked cloves on the roof and knocked croquet balls around the back yard. Spanish moss hung from the trees overhead and mosquitoes floated around and there were Christmas lights and street signs decorating the fence. Listening to The Format was like listening to some local emo band that you didn’t know personally but who you’d heard were actually pretty good. The Format weren’t that—they were some weird looking dudes from Arizona or something—but as a listener the experience was on par. I probably would’ve been better off listening to them in high school. Freshman year of college was the year I started caring about ‘cooler’ bands like Arcade Fire and Interpol. But I was newly out of the nest and enjoying wearing hoodies all the time and growing my hair out super long and feeling very grown up because yay college freedom and stuff. So none of it really mattered, and a pre-fame, pre-hit-song incarnation of this now very popular ‘fun.’ band ended up soundtracking it. I have no interest in listening to them again or in intentionally hearing their current stuff, but I retain the flavor of that memory and I find it just super weird that they’re this big thing now. Have you ever had a band like this?
In the sense of knowing a band under a previous, less successful identity, then no. I was slightly taken aback recently to discover that the Clock Opera singer had been in The Fallout Trust, who I actually heard songs by back in 2004 or so, but Clock Opera are not exactly fun. (and not exactly fun, lol) unless you count the instrumental of their song about tax havens being in the background every time the BBC showed the Olympics medal table as a big success.
If we’re just doing ‘I was there first’ then I remember Arctic Monkeys as the band that one person on Drownedinsound kept talking about but were a bit of a joke, and I remember Razorlight as a band supporting Hope of the States who were clearly too unremarkable to amount to anything.
Oh, I saw Bat For Lashes fourth on the bill at a My Latest Novel show once too, but she was obviously fantastic (and even playing “Moon and Moon” already), so her rise doesn’t seem so weird.