Two of Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s fans started a catchy dance-pop band called Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr., a name which they kept with Dale Jr.’s blessing. Sadly, that era came to an end as they shorten the name to “JR JR” to avoid further confusion, but the post on the backstory of their driver-centric name is a must-read.
“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,” wrote the band in their announcement. “Something that bizarre would just have to be listened to and judged without preconception.”
Sure enough, listeners started to pay attention to the hilariously named band. As they gained in popularity, legal concerns from their label caused the duo to write Dale Earnhardt Jr. himself in a last-ditch effort to save their name from legal meddling. They weren’t mocking the Earnhardts—they were fans. What they didn’t expect was the genuinely gracious response back, which the band reprinted on their website:
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.
So, the name stayed for a while.
“The exceptionally good natured spirit of the man himself lifted everyone’s spirits about the name,” writes JR JR. “We were proud to keep it, and create under it.”
Unfortunately, being named for one of NASCAR’s most famous personalities has also been the source of confusion over the years. The band explains:
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.
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Aww. I feel like all sides of these interactions need a hug. Either way, the band opted to shorten their name to just “JR JR,” in hopes that the confusion will dissipate a tad. Let’s be honest, Dale Earnhardt Jr. is often just called “Junior,” anyway, so it still works.
As always, Dale Jr. is totally cool with the band’s decision, albeit a little sad to see the Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. name go:
JR JR’s full backstory on the Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. moniker can be read here, and it’s a refreshing look at one of the most laid-back dudes in the NASCAR paddock.
Photo credits: JR JR/AP Images
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