Belleville, Ill - Henry Keller is a 42 year old auto mechanic, divorced father of two, and avid classic rock fan. But his friends are amazed at his uncanny ability to come up with great band names.
"I can't really explain it," says Keller, fresh from working on a 1976 Chevrolet Impala. "I'll be talking to my friends or what ever and I'll say something and then realize, hey, that would be a great band name."
His friends almost always agree.
"He's really good at it, no doubt about it," says Martin Brown, a life long friend of Keller's. "He's been doing it since high school, really. He just came up with another one last night, 'Hokey Spoke.'"
Keller has been responsible for lending his talents to various local groups such as Wither, Soggy Jog, and Slow Jam Grapevine.
"I guess I'm sort of a local celebrity now," Keller laughs. "People come to me for band names. I have a whole notebook full of them and I just start tossing them out and when they hear one that fits their style they go with it. All I ask is that they send me a flier so I can add it to my scrapbook."
Keller has left his mark all over the local band scene, and as far away as Chicago.
"You know that band Dead Science Project? They were a big deal in the tri-state area. That was me too," he adds.
With all his exposure to music and bands Keller admits that he is only an amateur musician.
"Oh, I was in a band after high school," he explains. "We batted around a few names and finally settled on the Henry Keller Experience. We were sort of a mix of Moody Blues, The Alan Parsons Project , and Flock of Seagulls. Oh, and by the way, those are all great band names. I've got a tape around here somewhere."
"I don't really know how it happens," says Keller, trying to explain his methodology. "I know a lot of people think it's cool to mix two words that shouldn't go together. I call it Led Zepplining. Well, that's not really my style. I try to just let it happen naturally. I've learned you can't force the creative process."
Keller also boats an impressive collection of classic rock albums in their original vinyl, and he reads voraciously. He suspects all of that information becomes a jumbled mess in his head which overflows as a random band name.
"I joke with everyone that my head is sort of like a rock polisher," Keller says. "You know, junk goes in, tumbles around, and out comes something nice. The fun part is I never know when it's going to happen next; watching football, in the shower, or working on a car. If that's my gift then I guess I could have been stuck with worse."