I come from the old school that believes that people can’t choose nicknames for themselves, they must chosen by others. Such is the nature of the name “The Triggerman” that I have used to write under for 5 years here at Saving Country Music. The problem with “The Triggerman” (and other nicknames) is they don’t evolve over time like the people they’re assigned to often do.
And so admittedly in complete violation of all recognized nickname protocols, I am unilaterally declaring that my pen name will no longer be “The Triggerman” but simply “Trigger.” If people still want to call me “The Triggerman” I won’t argue, and the etymology of the new name will always be rooted in the old one. I won’t refute or deny the original nickname, and a little part of me hopes it lingers around sort of like the proper, long version of one’s name that may be rarely spoken but is always present in mind.
I think the reasons for the name change happening now are pretty obvious, but it’s been a long time coming. I honestly don’t want to make a big spectacle about the change, but I also don’t want rumor or conjecture of why I made the change to spread, or to have to explain it to many different folks individually. This really isn’t a political statement. The American culture has always been full of violent imagery, verbiage, and lingo. Our National Anthem is about a war battle. And let’s all hope that we don’t lose sight of what is fiction, and what is reality, and the fact that words are just words and with strong moral character, we all should be able to see what is right and wrong, regardless of what we expose ourselves to for culture and entertainment.
I believe in the 2nd Amendment and own a couple of shotguns that were bequeathed to me, but I am in no way the gun fanatic that “The Triggerman” name might convey at first sniff. The debate over gun control is for others and another time and place. My biggest beef with “The Triggerman” moniker was the difficult position it put some of the artists and entities that I have covered, worked with, or worked for that really don’t want for the name to be taken the wrong way. I have never hid my real name. “The Triggerman” was simply just as comfortable of a calling card as my given name. Truth is I hate my real name and always have.
For those of you wondering how I got the name, it came about one night when I was a teenager playing paintball with some friends. We were driving around Dallas shooting paintball guns at each other. One of my friends had an old Trans Am with removable T top windows in the top of the car that we took out to make defacto paintball turrets. We were chasing one of our friends down in another car, and the paintball gun of the guy who was driving jammed. I told him, “Don’t worry, you just drive. I’ll be the Triggerman.” He laughed, and the name stuck. Later on in life I spent a lot of my 20’s living on the road in the days before cell phones. I had a CB in every rig I owned and “The Triggerman” became my CB handle. And of course, when the internet came about in full force, it translated to an online handle.
I’ve always hated the name, and loved the name at the same time. I once made a point of refusing to ever be called by it again, and a good friend of mine sat me down and explained to me, “…but you ARE The Triggerman. Everybody talks about what they want to do. You actually do it. You pull the trigger. You get things done.” And so I held onto it for a little longer.
The name “Trigger” has special significance in country music. It was the name of Roy Roger’s horse that Willie Nelson named his famous N-20 nylon string classical guitar after. I certainly don’t have the lineage of either of these two “Triggers”. I feel a bit like I’m grandstanding even going on for this long about a simple name change.
Really what the name change is about is evolution, and a renunciation of violence and threats of violence that unfortunately have come up too often in the culture war that music is an ever present part of. If you go back and read the first year or so of stories from Saving Country Music, it is like a sick joke. But I will never delete them because that is who I was at that moment in time. I will always be “The Triggerman”, but it’s time to set another delineation on the timeline in an attempt to evolve and grow even further. There is no bigger critic of myself than me. I’m an angry, emotional, grandstanding music nerd that makes too much to do about nothing and is subject to spats of serious grammar issues. But I always try to get better. This is just another stupid way for me to try to do so.
Anyway, as you were.