OPHIRA EISENBERG, HOST:
Soon our contestants will play a game about terrible band names, and we're looking at you, Hoobastank. But first, let's check in with them. Rebecca, after college you worked in the bottom tier of a pyramid scheme?
REBECCA GADZUK: Yes. That's correct, I was the bottom of the pyramid (laughter).
EISENBERG: How come you never moved up a tier?
GADZUK: Honestly, I just didn't have the work ethic, according to the pyramid schemers.
EISENBERG: They guilted you. OK, well, what was the scheme, water filters?
GADZUK: Oh, no. You had to, like, go around and, like, sell coupons business-to-business. I don't know. Maybe other people have been scammed in this. But it took me a little while. I was buying into it until I, you know, wasn't making any money.
EISENBERG: And you took this because you were, like, I need fast cash, or...
GADZUK: Oh, yeah. I mean, I graduated in the height of the recession. So there were literally no jobs except for pyramid schemes.
EISENBERG: So and how long did you do it?
GADZUK: Oh, only, like, five months I think.
EISENBERG: Only five months? That is a lifetime in a pyramid. Sam, in addition to teaching math, you coach the boys' basketball team.
SAM KEENER: That's right.
EISENBERG: What is the greatest thing about being a coach for a middle school basketball team?
KEENER: They just get so into the game. They're so emotional about it. I'm actually editing a highlight video right now for their season.
KEENER: They didn't win a lot of games. So I thought a good consolation prize was to get a highlight video of all of their great accomplishments over the season. It's been really difficult.
KEENER: I need more footage. I'm sorry, guys. They've got a lot of heart though. They play with a lot of heart.
EISENBERG: You can't have them just, like, running and, like, play the "Rocky" theme or just inspirational music behind it?
KEENER: I'm considering it, yeah.
EISENBERG: Very good. That is beautiful. OK, so we've got a audio quiz for you called A Band By Any Other Name." And I imagine it's got to be tough to come up with a distinctive band name, right, Jonathan?
JONATHAN COULTON: Yeah, of course. I mean, you - you write out all your - all your ideas. And I went through a lot of options before I finally settled on just my name - Jonathan Coulton. I wanted something catchy and memorable, and that's my name. So it stuck.
EISENBERG: It's perfect. I mean, and Gwar was taken.
COULTON: Yeah, obviously that's the second choice, yeah.
EISENBERG: Always the second choice. So in this game, Jonathan and I will tell you one of the original names of a famous band, play you a small clip of that band's music. You tell us the band's current name. Sam, you won the last game. So you win this, and you go to the final round. Rebecca, you need to win this or you have to get a Nickelback tattoo. OK, where you get the tattoo is your choice, but I suggest side-butt.
GADZUK: That's the best place.
EISENBERG: OK, first up - this seasoned girl group it was initially called Touch.
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "SPICE IT UP ")
SPICE GIRLS: (Singing) Slam it to the left if you're having a good time, shake it to the right if you know that you feel fine. Chicas to the front, ha si ja, hold tight.
(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)
KEENER: It's my very favorite band - Spice Girls.
EISENBERG: Spice Girls is correct.
EISENBERG: Who was your favorite Spice Girl, Sam?
KEENER: Ginger Spice, of course.
EISENBERG: Ginger Spice.
KEENER: But she left, so I stopped listening after she left.
EISENBERG: That was Geri, or something like that?
KEENER: Yeah, Geri Halliwell.
EISENBERG: I can't believe I know this. Yeah.
KEENER: I wasn't kidding, by the way. It's my favorite band.
EISENBERG: I liked all Spice.
KEENER: Old Spice.
EISENBERG: I'm so - Old Spice (laughter). I am surprised that we all were like, yeah, Baby Spice. That's cool, grown woman dressed up as a baby in a girl band. We're going to - yeah, that's fine.
KEENER: It was the '90s. It was cool.
EISENBERG: Yeah, it was all fine.
COULTON: These spicy guys played two shows under the name Toni Flo and the Miraculously Majestic Masters of Mayhem.
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "CALIFORNICATION")
RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS: (Singing) Dream of Californication.
(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)
GADZUK: Red Hot Chili Peppers.
COULTON: That's right.
EISENBERG: This cool Philadelphia band began with a dorky name - The Square Roots.
(SOUNDBITE OF THE ROOTS SONG)
KEENER: The Roots.
KEENER: It's a big stretch.
EISENBERG: That is a big stretch, right? Again, like the tonal difference between The Square Roots and The Roots - totally different.
KEENER: I like the math name.
EISENBERG: The Square Roots. The Squares would have been a bad choice.
KEENER: They chose a better word to stick with.
EISENBERG: They chose the right one, yeah.
COULTON: These sweet '90s pop rockers initially dubbed themselves The Shrinky Dinks.
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "EVERY MORNING")
SUGAR RAY: (Singing) Every morning there's a halo hanging from the corner of my girlfriend's four-post bed.
(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)
KEENER: They should have stuck with The Shrinky Dinks, but I think it's Sugar Ray.
COULTON: Yeah, that's right.
EISENBERG: All right, this is your last clue. This group, not to be confused with a cable channel, once went by the name Second Nature.
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "WATERFALLS")
TLC: (Singing) Don't go chasing waterfalls. Please stick to the rivers and the lakes that you're used to.
(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)
EISENBERG: Rebecca, TLC is correct.
EISENBERG: That's correct. All right, Puzzle guru Art Chung, how did our contestants do?
ART CHUNG: We have to say goodbye to Rebecca. Congratulations, Sam, you're moving on to the final round.
EISENBERG: Coming up, we'll talk to Tim Daly from the series "Madam Secretary," and I'll ask him what it's like to be on a CBS show that doesn't involve a graphic murder investigation every week. I'm Ophira Eisenberg, and you're listening to ASK ME ANOTHER from NPR.
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