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Band names

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The San Francisco Chronicle has a fun article on band names While not everyone can play guitar, everyone has some random ideas for band names. Imaginary band names are, I think, our tenuous way of clinging on to the adolescent dream that we, too, could be rock stars.

In the article, Peter Hartlaub comments on the dearth of originality in band names:

Among the most popular musical groups are the spelling-challenged (Linkin Park; Ludacris), the painfully unimaginative (Usher; Creed) and various combinations of the two (Lil’ Jon & the Eastside Boyz). There are also inside jokes that everyone forgot a decade ago (Green Day) and metaphysical nonsense that will make your head hurt even before you listen to the music (Destiny’s Child). Good Charlotte? Bad name.

As he notes though, creative band names are a “harbinger of doom” – well, not necessarily doom, but bands with seriously creative names don’t often make it big. Of the top of my head, that theory seems to fit these bands: … And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead, !!!, Sorry About Dresden – all of whose records I own, all of whom I think are pretty decent, and all languishing in mid-table obscurity, as soccer/football fans like to say.

Whereas the Beatles have, to be a honest, a fairly cheesy name for a band, a reference to Buddy Holly’s Crickets combined with the “beat” play on words. Clearly there’s no strict correlation between name quality and band quality.

Incidentally, why do people complain that Usher’s name is unoriginal? It’s his real name, right? Shouldn’t make fun of real names…

This post first appeared in dsng.net – the daryl sng blog

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  • Jimmy


  • what????

    Girl band name———- Broken Holes
    My band name ———- PHA-Q
    other names ———— Etherial Realm
    other names ———— The Pull-its

    No matter the name—— as long as they jam……!

  • Eric Olsen

    Thirlwell has any number of variations on the Foetus theme

  • this website is the wrost one iv ever been to yet!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

  • Eric Olsen

    there was a loose jazz configuration that jammed at the Baked Potato under the name the Dick Gozinya Band

  • Nick Jones

    There was a band that I think was called “Millions of Dead Cops”.

    During one of the times when I lived in and around the Boston area there was a spoof punk band called “The Archbishop’s Enema Fetish.”

  • Another band with Jesus in the name I forgot about- Cleveland’s all-time offensive band name champ, Sleazy Jesus and the Splatter Pigs.

  • HW Saxton

    I think that the Aussie band “Beasts Of
    Bourbon” had a great name. And also as
    far as 60’s garage bands go it’s hard to
    top this nomiker: “The Guys That Came Up
    From Downstairs”. Real name,seriously.

  • There was also a NYC band called Purple Jeezus.

    My fave Cle fake metal band was Oui Phuctor.

  • Eric Olsen

    that’s killer Tim!

  • The strangest band name I remember was a British band from the early 80s called “Policeman with a Loaf of Bread”. No, I haven’t heard any of their music.

    A few years ago (as part of a Lovecraft-themed collaborative writing exercise), I invented a black metal band called Ümläüt, who’s spoof website managed to fool a few people into thinking it was a real band….

  • Eric Olsen

    very cool Daryl, there are so many directions you can go with this: list all the bands with Jesus in the name.

    The Jesus Lizard
    The Jesus and Mary Chain
    Jesus Jones
    Teenage Jesus and the Jerks
    Acid Jesus
    Baby Jesus
    Tiny Jesus
    Black Jesus
    Liquid Jesus

  • jack slater

    Best name contest: “Hate Mail from Home” a Seattle band circa 1992

  • Marty Thau

    My all-time favorite — HITLER & THE BELMONTS.