Artist News Awards

Viet Cong will change name for second album

By | Published on Monday 21 September 2015

Viet Cong

Canadian band Viet Cong have said that they intend to change their name with the release of their next album, after renewed criticism of their moniker.

As previously reported, the band’s name has become increasingly controversial as their popularity increases. In March, a show at Oberlin College in Ohio was cancelled, highlighting growing offence at their choice of identity, particularly following flippant comments the band made in interviews about how they chose it.

At the time, the band admitted that they had been “naive about the history of a war in a country we knew very little about” and were “open to listening to issues and concerns from all perspectives”.

The name drew attention again last week ahead of the announcement of the Polaris Music Prize today, for which the band are nominated. Particular criticism came in an article Exclaim published, written by Hooded Fang frontwoman April Aliermo and examining why people find the name Viet Cong offensive.

It had been rumoured that the band would announce a new name at the Polaris Music Prize ceremony, and on Saturday they confirmed that they had been planning to drop the name for their second album “for months”.

“We’ve been listening, talking and having lots of valuable conversations with the members of the Vietnamese community about the name”, they said. “Through this dialogue and hearing about what the name means to so many people, we have decided we will be changing the name of our band. Art and music are about creative expression. However, our band name is not our cause, and we are not going to fight for it. This is not what our band is about”.

They continued: “There are many individuals more eloquent than us who have recently had a lot to say about the topic of the name and our appropriation of the name Viet Cong. For more insights into the arguments we encourage you to read some of these. We are a band who want to make music and play our music for our fans. We are not here to cause pain or remind people of atrocities of the past”.

It is, however, unlikely that you will get to hear the new name this evening, as the band added that they currently “don’t know” what it will be. “We rushed into our last band name decision”, they said. “We don’t plan to rush into this one, but know that we will be rolling out a new name as soon as we agree upon one”.

Read the full statement here.