If you are a fan of American politics or heavy metal music, you might have heard of two prominent figures with the same last name: Luther Strange and Todd Strange. Luther Strange is a former U.S. Senator from Alabama who served from 2017 to 2018. Todd Strange is a founding member and bassist of the sludge metal band Crowbar, which originated in New Orleans, Louisiana. But are these two Stranges related by blood or by coincidence? In this article, we will explore the backgrounds and careers of both men and reveal the answer to this intriguing question.
Luther Strange: A Lawyer and Politician from Alabama
Luther Johnson Strange III was born on March 1, 1953, in Birmingham, Alabama. He studied political science at Tulane University and graduated from Tulane University Law School in 1979. He worked as a lawyer and lobbyist for various energy companies before entering politics. He ran for lieutenant governor of Alabama in 2006 but lost to Democrat Jim Folsom Jr. He then ran for attorney general of Alabama in 2010 and won the election, defeating incumbent Republican Troy King in the primary and Democrat James Anderson in the general election. He was reelected in 2014.
As attorney general, Luther Strange was involved in several high-profile cases, such as the multistate lawsuit against BP following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010, which resulted in a settlement worth about $2 billion for Alabama. He also prosecuted political corruption cases, such as the one against Michael G. Hubbard, the Republican speaker of the state House of Representatives, who was convicted of felony ethics charges in 2016.
In February 2017, Luther Strange was appointed by Governor Robert Bentley to fill the U.S. Senate seat vacated by Jeff Sessions, who became the U.S. Attorney General under President Donald Trump. However, his appointment was controversial, as he had been investigating Bentley for possible impeachment over a sex scandal involving a former aide. Some critics accused him of accepting the appointment as a quid pro quo to drop the investigation. Bentley later resigned and pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges.
Luther Strange ran for reelection to the Senate in a special election held in December 2017. He faced a tough challenge from Roy Moore, a former state judge and conservative firebrand who had been twice removed from office for defying federal court orders. Moore defeated Luther Strange in the Republican primary runoff in September 2017, despite Luther Strange receiving endorsements and campaign support from Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Moore then lost the general election to Democrat Doug Jones, a former U.S. attorney who prosecuted Ku Klux Klan members for a 1963 church bombing that killed four black girls.
Luther Strange left office on January 3, 2018, after serving less than a year in the Senate. He returned to private practice and joined a law firm in Birmingham.
Todd Strange: A Musician and Metalhead from Louisiana
Todd Strange was born on October 31, 1966, in New Orleans, Louisiana. He grew up listening to heavy metal bands like Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, and Metallica. He learned to play bass guitar and joined several local bands in his teens.
In 1988, he met Kirk Windstein, a guitarist and vocalist who had moved to New Orleans from England. They formed a band called ShellShock with drummer Jimmy Bower and guitarist Mike Hatch. However, Hatch committed suicide later that year, and the band changed its name to Aftershock. They then renamed themselves Wrequiem and added another guitarist, Kevin Noonan.
In 1990, they changed their name again to The Slugs and recorded a demo tape that caught the attention of Phil Anselmo, the lead singer of Pantera, who was also from New Orleans. Anselmo became their friend and mentor and helped them get signed to his label, Housecore Records. He also suggested that they change their name once more to Crowbar, after one of Windstein’s side projects.
Crowbar released their debut album, Obedience Thru Suffering, in 1991. The album featured a slow, heavy, and aggressive style of music that combined elements of doom metal and hardcore punk. The band was part of the New Orleans metal scene that also included bands like Eyehategod, Soilent Green, Acid Bath, and Down (which featured Anselmo as well as Bower).
Crowbar gained more exposure with their self-titled second album in 1993, which was produced by Anselmo and featured two songs that were played on MTV’s Headbangers Ball: “All I Had (I Gave)” and “Existence Is Punishment”. The band also toured with Pantera and other major acts.
Todd Strange left Crowbar in 1999 after their fourth album, Odd Fellows Rest. He said that he was tired of the music business and wanted to spend more time with his family. He moved to Florida and worked as a carpenter. He was replaced by Jeff Okoneski.
In 2016, Todd Strange rejoined Crowbar for their 11th album, The Serpent Only Lies, and toured with them until 2018. He then retired from touring but remained a member of the band. His last performance was at a show celebrating the 20th anniversary of Odd Fellows Rest in August 2018. He was replaced by Shane Wesley.
Are They Related?
So, are Luther Strange and Todd Strange related? The answer is no. They are not brothers, cousins, or distant relatives. They just happen to share a common surname that is not very common in the United States. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Strange is the 3,589th most popular last name in the country, with about 10,000 people bearing it as of 2010.
The origin of the name Strange is uncertain, but it may have derived from the Old French word estrange, meaning “foreign” or “alien”. It may have been used as a nickname for someone who came from another country or region, or who had an unusual appearance or behavior. It may also have been a variant of Strong or Strang, which are both derived from the Old English word strang, meaning “strong” or “powerful”.
Luther Strange and Todd Strange may not be related by blood, but they are both influential figures in their respective fields of politics and music. They have both faced challenges and controversies in their careers, but they have also achieved success and recognition. They are both examples of how people with the same name can have very different lives and personalities.