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Dale Earnhardt Jr Jr Are Changing Their Name

Music NewsWeston PaganoComment

When we interviewed the Detroit-based duo now formerly known as Dale Earnhardt Jr Jr we, like most people who met them, asked them about their name. Specifically, we asked:

TRANSVERSO MEDIA: So I have to ask, what’s the story behind the name?

DALE EARNHARDT JR JR: We wanted a name that wouldn’t restrict our sound. It’s so outrageous that it gives us freedom to sound like anything we want.

TM: Will your children carry on the legacy as Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. Jr.?

DEJJ: Never.

TM: Is Dale himself a fan?

DEJJ: He is. He says so in a video on Tumblr via Fox Sports.

It seems they no longer feel the same way about their peculiar moniker as they did then however, as they have announced today that they will now be known simply as JR JR instead. It remains to be seen if their children will carry on the legacy as JR JR JR or not. Check out the full statement pulled from the band's website below.

“Hey Guys,

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

yours truly,

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…


Read out interview with JR JR and see photos from their recent tour here.

Dale Earnhardt Jr Jr Speed Up With Sophomore Effort

Music InterviewWeston PaganoComment

Photos by Andrea Calvetti

Following the release of their second album, The Speed Of Things, Detroit born and bred indie pop duo Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. have begun making a name for themselves for something beyond, well, their name. Quirky yet accessible, polished but never bland, Daniel Zott and Joshua Epstein have found the sweet spot between pop sensibilities and uniqueness, expanding their electronically-tinged hooks and dynamism just enough to keep things interesting without abandoning their comfort zone, deftly outmaneuvering any possibility of failing prey to the dreaded sophomore slump. The Speed Of Things changes gears often, shifting between exuberant choruses, love poem sensitivity, introspective melancholy and conversational assertions, but never stops moving forward through the swirling melodies and smooth vocals.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. recently packed Chicago’s own Metro with a sold out crowd, their largest ever outside of their hometown. Epstein’s colorful world map jacket and Zott’s curly hair tied into a ponytail on the side of his head were framed by flashing J’s and R’s sidestage as they opened up the set with “Hiding,” singing into a disembodied phone receiver and thrusting fists in the air with every “Hey!” The solitary incandescent bulbs attached to each mic stand illuminated intermittently, seemingly signaling new ideas realized mid-lyric, while each half of the duo dutifully took their turn leaping into the crowd to lend credibility to their synth-infused single “If You Didn't See Me (Then You Weren't On The Dancefloor).”

Transverso spoke with Zott after the show.

TRANSVERSO: Congratulations on what was your biggest ever show outside of Detroit to date! How does it feel?

DANIEL ZOTT: It's an amazing feeling to have people in another city show up at all, so to have a record crowd made it even more special. 

How have you been enjoying the tour so far?

It's been the most successful and most fun. That's a good combination. 

You brought your dog Potato on stage during the show. What’s it like bringing him along? 

It's actually Josh's dog, but yes, he's been incredibly well behaved. He brings a lot of joy to the bus and helps us keep things in perspective. 

I understand you recently did a benefit concert to raise money for a sick child. Can you tell us a little bit about this?

Alex is a kid who recently discovered he had brain cancer. His family got nailed with a huge bill and we were just trying to help out. It was a really fun day with him and his family. Being in a band is full of self-centered moments. You spend most of your time trying to make people care about you. So, it was good to spend a day thinking about someone else. 

So I have to ask, what’s the story behind the name?

We wanted a name that wouldn't restrict our sound. It's so outrageous that it gives us freedom to sound like anything we want. 

Will your children carry on the legacy as Dale Earnhardt JrJrJr.?


Is Dale himself a fan?

He is. He says so in a video on Tumblr via Fox Sports. 

I understand you started the band rather casually without many expectations. Do you believe art is always best created with spontaneity? Is your process more calculated now that you’ve found success?

There's a good mix of both. In order to finish any good idea you need to have vision and execution which is more calculated, but spontaneity is good for coming up with ideas and changes. 

You both seem to split frontman duties 50/50 more or less. How does this work?

We are finding our roles more and more as we grow together. We never plan for it to be perfectly split, but it does seem to balance out. 

Many people consider indie pop to be a bit of a contradiction yet you guys blend the two worlds perfectly. Do you consider yourselves to be more of one or the other? How do you find balance?

We are just trying to make pop music in the old sense of the word. We'd like to make a popular song that has some substance to it. 

How has the Motown style popular in your native Detroit and the presence of legends such as Jack White influenced your music?

Greatly. There is pride that comes from being from Detroit. You respect the history and feel responsible for the future. Makes us work hard at writing good songs. 

You recently made a hip hop mixtape, can you tell us a little about that?

It has been a dream for a while. We really like making beats and producing other people’s tracks. It was a way for us to let people know what we can do. 

I heard Paul Simon worked on your new album in some capacity, what was that like?

It was wild to get his thoughts. He didn't just have general thoughts either. He gave some recording tips that really worked well for "War Zone." 

What’s next for Dale Earnhardt JrJr.?

I need some lunch. 

Originally published on The Music Ninja