It does makes more sense for the "band" to have been tossing up between calling themselves 'Neil Finn and the...' versus a 'Band Name' (as opposed to a legitimate 'Neil Finn' solo record.) I feel like we would have known about this for years otherwise.
I can't remember who started this recent 'band vs solo' discussion, but it was definitely someone who worked with them during the early days. When he was quoted as saying the first album was originally going to be a solo record, perhaps what he meant was that they had planned to use the 'Neil Finn and the...' prefix.
It also makes you wonder if the band prefix would have allowed Neil to utilise more of a floating band membership over the years, closer to the way he's operated since 1997.
Neil Finn and the Tearaways had been suggested. Mitchell Froom was apparently asked to join the band at one point and jokingly said, "Only if we can be Neil Finn and the Losers." Neil found the phrase, Crowded House, while looking through books in a library, but Capitol wasn't keen on it at first.
That's fascinating. Love hearing about little bits of history.
Interesting to hear that at one point Mitchell Froom was a genuine chance to join the band. Until Mark Hart became a fully-fledged band member, Froom, Eddie Rayner and Tim Finn all played that "floating 4th member" role to some extent.
If the 'Neil Finn and the...' prefix was used it could have, in theory, made it a bit easier for him to switch members in and out, depending on the feel and sounds he was going for at the time. Just theorising though.