After years spent named after the nonexistent son of a famous race car driver who himself is already the son of yet another famous driver, the band Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. has decided to change its name. According to a post on its website, the group will now be known as JR JR, with its two members claiming they’ve grown out of the gimmicky moniker. With a new album on the way in the semi-near future, the move could be a smart one. Then again, changing a band’s name midway through its career might also be confusing to its already existing fans.
In its Facebook post, the group makes it clear that the name change has nothing to do with the actual Dale Earnhardt Jr., choosing to include a letter he sent them in 2011 where he says he’s not only cool with their name, but actually enjoys their music. The text of that letter, plus the rest of the group’s post, is below.
First off let me say that it’s pretty cool to hear from you. I was made aware of your work through some friends as you have become more popular over the last year. Even Jimmy Johnson, a fellow driver and teammate sent me a link wondering if I had come across your music.
I was not quite sure what had prompted you to choose the name Dale Earnhardt Jr, Jr…..but I thought it was clever and I personally have no problem with your band’s name. You will not hear from any lawyers on our end should you choose to keep the name. At this time I’m under the impression you wish to change the name (per you manager). But in all honesty, who wouldn’t be flattered? I certainly don’t see it as mockery or anything of that sort. And your letter further states your intentions as being nothing but the best.
I have listened to some of your work and do enjoy it. I wish you all the best in the future, and you have gained a fan here.
Best of luck and be safe.”
-Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Dear Friends, Fans, Internet Users, And Everyone Else Out There
We wish to address you one final time as Dale Earnhardt Jr Jr.
The above message was one we received in 2011 from Dale the driver himself, and well… a lot has happened since then.
A bit of backstory is probably in order…
What started out as a basement recording project in 2009 has become a full time career for us, and we are eternally grateful for the opportunity that it has given us to make music and work on art the past few years.
As we prepared to release our first full length album on Warner Brothers Records back in 2011, our band name became a topic of concern among people who work with us. The concerns were y’know… legal ones. Bands stuck in courtrooms have a tough time touring and making records so it was decided that the name needed to be addressed, and possibly even changed. As much of a hail mary as it seemed as the time, our solution was to just write Dale Earnhardt Jr himself and explain we were in no way making light of him or his family, that we were fans of his and hoped he wouldn’t take offense to our existence.
What’s crazy is he actually wrote us back…
The note you see at the beginning of this email is what we received after we were able to get our message to him about our intentions. The exceptionally good natured spirit of the man himself lifted everyone’s spirits about the name. We were proud to keep it, and create under it. To this day, Dale Earnhardt Jr has been nothing but gracious and cool about things. And y’know…he didn’t have to be. It was perfectly within his right to look at these two weird kids from Detroit and say ’no way’, or to just have an intermediary shut things down on his behalf. But he didn’t. He was a legitimately warm human being about it all. He was kind. A couple of times when asked about us, he even mentioned that he likes the music we make. This, we thought, was the best case scenario.
When we initially chose the name Dale Earnhardt Jr Jr, the feeling was that it gave us an amazing flexibility. We were just meeting as people, and hadn’t begun to scratch the surface of knowing what our voice, as a band or each individually, would be. Band names are a weird thing to begin with, but we figured if we named our band Dale Earnhardt Jr Jr there would be no expectations for what we were meant to sound like. Something that bizarre would just have to be listened to and judged without preconception. And realistically, we never thought so many people would be up for taking that sort of a listening experience on.
But people really did. You guys did. And since then we’ve been continually overwhelmed by seeing so many people around the world having such a passionate connection with the things we have made. What we’ve been able to do, as a result of our amazing fans, fills us with a lot of pride.
The flip side is that as things have grown, so has the amount of confusion caused by the name Dale Earnhardt Jr Jr. Some of it is no big deal and easily cleared up. But sometimes we get sad and bizarre requests sent to our social media sites or emailed to people we work with. We’ve had people drive long distances to shows only to be disappointed when they realize it’s a neurotic Jew and wild haired gentile from Detroit they’ve paid to see. A number of times now we’ve received hope filled inquiries from people who have dying relatives that only want to meet Dale Earnhardt Jr (the driver) before they pass. Those sorts of interactions feel a little voyeuristic and eerie, and even attempting to simply clarify the situation means you’ve added a moment of embarrassment to someone’s day when they’re already going through a lot.
We recognize that we created this situation and that the name has been a part of getting to where we are now. It stirred up some attention for us in the modern internet world of over-stimulation, and we aren’t complaining about any of it–good and bad. The name has become it’s own personality, though. Almost, another member of the band.
But as time has passed, we have grown into ourselves, both as artists and individuals. Each of our perspectives have gotten stronger, and we’ve found that there is no longer room for a third, ubiquitous member of the project.
So recently, after a lot of thought and discussion, we made the decision to shorten our band name to the much more brief moniker of…
We hope this doesn’t bum you guys out too much. In our mind, changing our name to JR JR allows us to take back our voice in a way. To us It is all about empowerment, and being who we feel we need to be moving forward.
At the same time, we don’t want to run away from what we’ve done under this name with all of you in the past. If you need us to remain Dale Earnhardt Jr Jr for your own reasons, we have no problem with you calling us that. After all, nobody is forcing us into this change, so we’re able to do it at our own pace. Functionally, we will go on performing as Dale Earnhardt Jr Jr for a short while longer so that nothing feels imminently different when we announce shows. We probably even have a few t-shirts with the old name left that we’ll burn through the last of in the coming months.
But in the long run we’re going to transition into just being JR JR. We encourage you all to come out to the next show near you and celebrate another phase of life with us. The past is passed, and we are so excited about the future. We hope there is nothing mournful about this.
ESPECIALLY… because we’ll have another announcement very very soon. One that we hope gives all of you out there a reason to move forward with us as JR JR.
Ok, this has gotten lengthy so we’ll leave it at that for now.
Thank you for allowing us into your worlds…We are eternally grateful for the privilege
Josh & Daniel
who at times have referred to themselves as Dale Earnhardt Jr Jr
but are now going to be known as the much easier to say…