We thought it the perfect name for our band. As kids we'd seen Jacques Cousteau on the TV. He was so cool - a man in love with the sea. He was the world's first famous environmentalist; warning of the threat to the oceans from our voracious appetites and carelessness. As Carl Sagan made the cosmos imaginable, so too Commandant Cousteau brought the silent world of the deep into the lives of generations. By day he'd float around in his stylish wetsuits with exotic creatures, by night there'd be food, wine and singing with his beautiful wife, sons and crew. "That's the job for me when I grow up" we all thought.
The name evoked our music so well: oceanic, deep (the voice!), stormy, calm, beautiful and just a little dangerous. Cousteau was a word pungent with intrepid romance. When the reviews started appearing, we bundled the press and product together and sent it to The Cousteau Society in Paris. We asked for their blessing in a gesture of goodwill and a (clear!) demonstration of quality. In interviews we were at pains to stress our admiration for Jacques and his noble vision. They'd see! How could they not like the music?
Three years rolled by and we toured the world (including France) comprehensively, assuming they loved it all. That was very satisfying. Then, while touring the USA we received a scary 'cease and desist' (shut down or else!) order from Cousteau Society's lawyers in New York. Heavy news. Shit just got real. They'd invested hundreds and thousands of dollars trademarking their name in every major territory in the world. Worse, this was across a range of products: theme parks, marine equipment, navigation equipment, DVDs and - importantly - CDs. Turns out they didn't like our music much. Or our name. Davey jumped ship, the boys changed their name to Moreau for a while, yet we were holed below the waterline. You know the rest.
Wind forward in time and we got inspired to do it all again. If only we could trade as Cousteau... It seemed crazy that we might never connect to the music brand we knew people loved. Then we discovered a French surname as common as Cousteau is uncommon: Cousteaux. Eureka!... Make the x a capital and CousteauX cradles Cousteau in its arms. It honours the era where Robin, Joe and Craig sailed with us, and it looks like a kiss or a duelling scar. Perfect. CousteauX might also work as a plural version of Cousteau, like chateaux.
So, fuck 'em.
The silent X was always there, under our noses, waiting to set this music free again. This gripping tale is illustrated comprehensively (by the wonderful Michael McDonald) in our creation myth comic in the Curios section of this site. It makes us laugh, and that helps ease the pain.