Dale Earnhardt Jr Jr is changing its name.
If you’re confused by that sentence, it’s not about the popular Sprint Cup driver. It’s about the indie-pop band that, up until this week, had been named after Earnhardt.
The band, consisting of Daniel Zott, Joshua Epstein, Mike Higgins, Jon Visger and Bryan Pope, announced that it was changing its name from Dale Earnhardt Jr Jr to simple JR JR.
In the announcement on its website, the band says it made the decision since it has developed a recognizable artistic identity, but one that gets frequently muddled by confusion between its name and Earnhardt’s.
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.
The band also shared an email it received from Earnhardt in 2011 saying he was a fan their music and giving them his blessing to use 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.
Here is the music video for one of JR JR’s recent singles, “James Dean.”
JR JR isn’t Earnhardt’s only connection with the music industry. Earnhardt and Tony Stewart were featured in the music video for 3 Doors Down’s 2003 song, “The Road I’m On.”
Last year, rapper J. Cole gave a unexpected shout out to Earnhardt on the last track of his album 2014 Forest Hills Drive. That led to a feature on the two in ESPN: The Magazine.