Each installment of The Friendship Files features a conversation between The Atlantic’s Julie Beck and two or more friends, exploring the history and significance of their relationship.
This week she speaks with the Paul O’Sullivan Band, a band made up of four men named—you guessed it—Paul O’Sullivan. They connected over Facebook, naturally, and released a music video for their only single (so far), titled “Namesake,” this February. They discuss how they wrote it while spread across the globe, as well as their hopes for the band, and try to answer the question posed in their song: What’s in a name?
Paul O’Sullivan, 32, a guitar instructor and caregiver who lives in Hanover, Pennsylvania. (Until recently, he lived in Baltimore, so the others refer to him as “Baltimore Paul.”) He is the lead singer and rhythm guitarist for the Paul O’Sullivan Band.
Paul O’Sullivan, 57, a musician and public-health worker who lives in Manchester, U.K. He plays bass in the Paul O’Sullivan Band.
Paul O’Sullivan, 51, a grief counselor who lives in Rotterdam in the Netherlands. He is the lyricist, guitarist, and backup singer for the Paul O’Sullivan Band.
Paul O’Sullivan, 57, an art and antiques dealer who lives in Weatherly, Pennsylvania. (The others call him “Pennsylvania Paul.”) He is the percussionist and emcee for the Paul O’Sullivan Band.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
Julie Beck: Did you know one another before the formation of the band?
Baltimore Paul O’Sullivan: At first, I was indiscriminately adding other Paul O’Sullivans on Facebook. It was like a joke. But then their stuff started showing up in my News Feed, and I got to know them a little bit. Then I [realized], “Hey, wait a minute, we’re all musicians,” so the next step was to form this supergroup of Paul O’Sullivans.