Oren Lyons takes umbrage at ‘Oren Lyons;’ L.A. rock band changing its name to Kan Wakan


Oren Lyons, the soon-to-break out orchestral rock band from Los Angeles, is changing its name after hearing complaints from representatives of the real Oren Lyons, an 82-year-old Native American leader.

The Silver Lake-based septet has decided to call itself Kan Wakan, which is Lakota for “sundance.” The name comes a mutual interest in Native American lore on the part of band members Gueorgui Linev and Christianne Bautista, Linev said today.

It’s not the first time a prominent person has beefed about a rock band appropriating a name, but the L.A. musicians thought they were on solid ground after first hearing that Lyons – a longtime advocate of indigenous rights who once was a star college athlete (and teammate of football Hall of Famer Jim Brown) at Syracuse – was OK with it. Subsequent contacts with his representatives, though, proved otherwise.

If only everybody could get along like Abe Vigoda.

Photo from Oren Lyons’ show at the El Rey Theatre by Kelsey Heng