July 01, 2010

Origins and meanings of the "Third Ear Band" name.

There have been some speculations about the origins and the meanings of the "Third Ear Band" name. 
All the accounts around say that it's been Carolyn Looker (Glen Sweeney's missus) to have the idea of it around the middle of 1967.
As Sweeney told to journalist Nigel Cross in Spring 1990 (reported in a long interview published by "Unhinged" magazine), "the name probably came from that though Carolyn thought it up".
"We had this groupie, the only groupie we ever had. He used to follow us around everywhere. I think he was French! He had this spectacle case with an ear in it and he reckoned it was Van Gogh's ear! During that period, everyone used to refer to it as "Pierre's Third Ear"! So when it came to naming the band we became "The Third Ear Band"" (a Sweeney's classical funny joke!).
Others, as like Steve Pank or oboist Paul Minns, was convinced that Carolyn took it from a science-fiction book (a curiosity about it: German writer Curt Siodmack wrote a book in 1971 just titled "The Third Ear"...).

Carolyn in a photo with her cat Leonardo taken by Steve Pank in London on June 2010.

So, the best thing was to ask her. Just yesterday she answered me very simply that the name came to her mind one day inspired by all the things about the "third eye"...
"If you play a different kind of music", she thought, "you need a different kind of ear to listen it"...
As many things in popular music and Arts, the reality is much more simple than that one can imagine.

So another old little mistery related to Third Ear Band is now resolved...

no©2010 Luca Ferrari


  1. The naming of the band was very much the result of a group-think, everyone contributing an associated thought or three, and in the end Carolyn's seal of approval probably decided it, but my recollection is of my own strong advocacy for "Third Ear", and actually first suggesting it as an option. I suspect that I'd recently read "The Third Ear" by Lobsang Rampa and tied it in, mystically, with hearing divine sounds. Later that year (1967) I helped Steve Pank edit "Albion" and wrote the article about Tibetan monks, which appears with the TEB ad. Rab Wilkie

  2. Thanks Rab for this, it sounds very interesting to me... I think your memory is correct because was the same that Carolyn and Glen said to me... It would be a great thing if you were available for a short interview about that days... If this can interest you please contact me through my personal e-mail: dopachino@tiscali.it