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The Worst Band Names Ever

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If necessity is the mother of invention, then a road-trip along the desolate I-70 corridor in Illinois is the mother of random conversation. So it was that my wife and I came to discuss the worst band names of all time. (This is the worst names, mind you, not necessarily the worst bands, but there is a whole lot of overlap.) Passing judgment on band names is an inherently subjective pursuit, so I would like to propose a set of criteria to bring a modicum of consistency to this project. There are always exceptions to the rules, but in general:

Band names should never be only one syllable
While monosyllabic band names have been around for years (Free, Bread, Can, Yes), their popularity has risen alarmingly since the 1980s. Relatively benign (but silly) band names like Ratt and Kix have given way to a glut of bands with names like Train, Fuel, All, Tool, Tar and Cake, proving that less is rarely, if ever, more. While these names may have seemed muscular or pithy after a few bong hits at the band meeting, nothing grates on the nerves or screams “we chose our name at random out of the dictionary” more than a monosyllabic band name.
Unforgivable: Staind
God-awful: Phish
Awful: Live (no matter how you want to pronounce it)
Honorable Mention: Creed, Spoon, Ween, Slint, Rush, Crunt, James, Seam, Ride, Squeeze
Exceptions: KISS (because it may be an acronym for Knights in Satan’s Service, which is awesome), Queen (because it’s truth in advertising) and Fear (because that’s pretty punk rock)
Fun Fact: Monosyllabic band names can almost always be improved by the addition of the definite article. The Who, The Fall, The Kinks—all great band names that would be horrendous if not for “the.”

Band names should never contain prepositions
When I hear a band name like Puddle of Mudd, it sends me into a homicidal rage. As lame as it would undoubtedly remain, Mudd Puddle is a much better name for a band. This category is extra-special, because it has what must be the worst band name of all time.
The Aforementioned Worst Band Name Ever: Archers of Loaf
Not Much Better: Letters to Cleo
Virtually Indistinguishable From #2: Fountains of Wayne
Honorable Mention: Rage Against the Machine, Alice in Chains, Souls at Zero, Mouse on Mars, Apples in Stereo, After the Fire, Porno for Pyros, Tears for Fears, Death Cab for Cutie
Exceptions: There is a major exception to this rule, and that is if the preposition is part of the classic band name formula: [someone] and the [something] [preposition] [something else]. For example, Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention, or Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars. Someone should really call their band Brevity and the Soul of Wit, don’t you think? Also, Lords of Acid is a pretty awesome name.

Band names should never contain numbers
Never, never, never! Come on, people! Why would anyone want their band to sound like a household cleanser? We are Formula 409, are you ready to rock? Most of these bands have a hard enough time appearing not to be mass-marketed products to begin with.
Innumeracy: Matchbox 20
Square Root of Crap: Seven Mary Three
Count Me Out: Sevendust
Honorable Mention: 3 Doors Down, Blink 182, Sum 41, 98 Degrees, 311, Haircut 100, Front 242, UB40, 5ive Style, Six Finger Satellite, 808 State, 10 Years After, Sixteen Deluxe, Sham 69, Three Dog Night and on and on …
Exceptions: If the number in the name is the same as the number of band members (for example, Gang of Four, The Dirty Three, MC5), then it’s generally ok. This is not ok for Maroon 5. Other acceptable number bands include 999 (British emergency phone number), U2 (spy plane) and Five for Fighting (obscure hockey reference). Finally, I kind of wish that Four Jacks and a Jill from Spinal Tap was a real band.

Band names should not be intentionally misspelled
Nothing is less hip than an obvious attempt to be hip.
Krap: Limp Bizkit
Baaaad: ‘N Sync
Un-4-tunate: Def Leppard
Honorable Mentions: Korn, Linkin Park, Boyz II Men, NOFX, 24-7 Spyz
Exception: Lynyrd Skynyrd (because revenge against gym teachers is sublime)
The Mother of All Exceptions: The Beatles

Band names should not be stupid catch phrases
We’re fun; we’re whimsical—we’re Wham! Kill me.
Talk to the Hand: Enuff Z’nuff
Don’t Go There, Girlfriend: No Doubt
Oh No You Didn’t: Take That
Honorable Mention: Go West
Exception: Nomeansno gets a special pass because they’re two Canadian guys who aren’t really P.C. feminists

Band names should not contain the word ‘Mister’
Mr. Big, Mr. Bungle, Mister Mister. Enough said. No exceptions.

Band names should avoid the needlessly stupid
This is kind of a catch-all category. It’s for the Dead Can Dance and Trip Shakespeare’s of the world. A band name should be thoughtful, clever if possible. It should not induce nausea and tension headaches. It should not be a complete sentence, use made-up words or be the obvious product of the moron’s version of a Dadaist word collage.
God, No: Colonel Bruce Hampton and the Aquarium Rescue Unit
Aaargh: Toad the Wet Sprocket
Sigh: Hoobastank
Honorable Mentions: The For Carnation, Everything But the Girl, Godspeed You Black Emperor!, Smashing Pumpkins, New Kids on the Block, Presidents of the United States of America, Tripping Daisy, ‘Til Tuesday, God Is My Co-Pilot

Naming bands is not an exact science and it’s admittedly easier to know what not to do than to figure out how to do it right. It is important to listen to the masters. Unfortunately, for every ? and the Mysterians or Black Sabbath, there are a thousand Alice Donuts and Big Head Todd and the Monsters. It’s not impossible to come up with a classic band name these days (see The Darkness), it just takes a lot of restraint and a moment of inspiration. For any bands out there looking for that spark, allow me to suggest Cletus and the Federlines. Your first album can be called Can You Handle Our Truth?

(parenthetical remarks)


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  • Vern Halen

    Hilarious article!

    What about Homer Simpson & the B Sharps? Good, bad, or indifferent?

  • Homer Simpson & the B Sharps is a classic. As is Fingerbang, the boy band from South Park.

  • Was Lynyrd Skynyrd intentionally misspelled on your list as well?


    Bob Dylan-I hate that stupid name.

  • Eric Olsen

    I have never comprehended the difficulty with spelling Lynyrd Skynyrd, since every freaking vowel is a “y”

  • Eric Olsen

    nice job Pete and I agree with you more often than not; though I am certain you realize the entire exercise is REALLY subjective

  • except for Hoobastank, which has been mathematically proven to be the dumbest bandname of all time.

    i think Bricklayer wrote the proof out somewhere around here….


  • Eric Olsen

    that is one butt-huffingly bad name

  • Eric Olsen

    isn’t the very notion of naming a band at all hopelessly jejune and pedantic? Can’t we just call them all what they really are: music?

  • You make a good point Eric, Jejune is another horrible band name. Oh, you meant the actual word and not the band?

    Got it.

  • Sorry about the Skynyrd misspelling. I feel like Neil Young.

  • td

    Nice article.

    I disagree on Rage Against the Machine, but otherwise a good list.

    I’d like to submit Maroon 5’s first name: Kara’s Flowers.

  • The Theory

    great article. i agree with most of it except the numbers. Numbers in number form suck… but written out numbers don’t have to suck. For instance, Sixteen Horsepower. Though, I disagree about Gang of Four… terrible band name!

  • i half way through this great post, but alread i must comment – sham 69 is a GREAT bandname.

    and in time spent in wonderful punk-bands here in the ol’ hometown, i did indeed commit on of these sins, by being in a band called section 23, but, on the other hand, i think i was also in a band that has the best name i’ve ever heard, so there.

    it was called Julian’s Boyfriend.

    i still count that as proof enough of the genius of my good friend who done the singin’.

  • Bennett

    Google Bomber – credit to Temple

    Excellent post Pete. Especially the bold sub categories. I was in a band that briefly went by Rubber Mohawk, which I thought was decent, we also did one session as Swell Bennett for some drunken reason…

    Thanks for the laugh!

  • There were some ahem, interesting band names back in the psychedelic era of course. The Charging Tyrannosaurus of Despair, the Peanut Butter Conspiracy, the Underground Balloon Corps and the ever-popular Electric Rectum (presumably either a play on the Electric Prunes or a delightfully subversive urban legend).

    Then again, we were scraping banana skins in an effort to gain cosmic consciousness in those days as well 🙂


    Tom Petty-I hate that stupid name!

  • Eric Olsen

    you’re right: Tom Magnanimous would be SO much better

  • EO – hahahahhahaha

  • Eric Olsen

    thanks Duker, made my day

  • Antfreeze

    Great post Pete. I always liked one of my brothers band’s name, “The Beans”. Also enjoyed a band named, “Stool Softeners”. At the other end of the spectrum I once saw a sign for a band named “Totally Awesome”. Tell me that don’t suck.

  • Eric Olsen

    I always thought the Skate Nigs packed a punch

  • Colostomy Grab Bag.

    no wait, that’s the grossest name.

    (actually not even sure if that’s a band name…i read it somewhere. prolly in the liberal media).

  • the best band name ever, you’ll be aware, is the dead kennedys. and jello biafra is the best stage-name ever.

  • Bennett

    Worst SF band NAME was Pearl Harbor and the Explosions. Worst band? Journey, and the name sucks too!


    Hey Colostomy Grab Bag, they were pretty cool. Thanks for reminding me, Mark!

  • I am so with you on the prepositions. However, I think Ween is a cool band name… it’s just so GROSS somehow.

  • Taloran

    re: The Theory in comment 13:
    Numbers in number form suck… but written out numbers don’t have to suck.

    I agree, and therefore disagree with Pete’s assertion that Ten Years After is a bad band name, but he seems to indicate he thinks the band is/was called 10 Years After. Alvin Lee’s later band, Ten Years Later, had a name that was just too contrived to be believed, however.
    Didn’t Rob Thomas make a big deal about changing the name of his band from Matchbox 20 to Matchbox Twenty a few years back?
    UB40, though I never liked the band, had a creative name, as that is the title of the British unemployment form, or so I understand.

    Other comments:
    Best one-word band name: Traffic

    In the pre-Internet years, I had the first edition of a book called “The Rock Record” by Terry Hounsome, that had all kinds of interesting and useless trivia about just about every band, album, session man, etc. etc. of the rock era. It had the most amazing name for a band ever in it, that fits Pete’s mention of band names not being complete sentences:
    The Only Alternative and His Other Possibility.
    Alas, I never found the album, and by the time my copy of the first edition wore out and I bought the third edition, the entry had been removed.

    I remember early references to the band name Toad the Wet Sprocket having come from a Monty Python skit, but I never determined which skit it was from.

  • Taloran

    I don’t think The Only Alternative and His Other Possibility is a good name for a band, just an amazing one. One that piqued my curiosity.

  • Julie

    Incredible! An entire article and extended comments about Bad Band names without once mentioning “Gay Bikers on Acid”.

  • Eric Olsen

    except it was “Gaye” Bikers on Acid

  • Eric Olsen

    I always liked Alien Sex Fiend and his wife, Mrs. Fiend

  • Interesting subject but I can’t say I agree with your rules.

    I grew up in the sixties and seventies and I hate most of band names now. They are all sort of edgy in a vague, meaningless way, like everything this generation does. They are afraid to put anything out there that means anything and this is how they hide.

  • How about death metal?

    Dying Fetus
    Vomit Remnants

  • gonzo marx

    bah..the temerity to state that Rush, Tool, or Rage Against the Machine are bad band names!!


    but i digress..

    here’ ssome for you

    Leather Studded Diaphram
    C.H.o.D. (chicken holiday of doom)
    Rooster Mohawk and the Chicken boys

    and soOOOOOOOoooooOOOooo many more from my old band days in the underground scene in NYC/Jersey shore

    i don’t really think there is such a thing as a truly bad band name
    (i know, there are exceptions, i tried “Free Beer” briefly..and my last band, “Rope” shot down the name “Everbody Dies”…i liked the idea of a radio announcement “tonight at 9, Everybody Dies at the Stone Pony)

    just my one sixth billionths of the world’s Opinion..

    your mileage may vary


  • tafkap ?

  • I don’t know their music well enough to have an opinion on it, but System of a Down is a great example of the preposition rule.

  • How about my future band name? Distilled Water.

    How’s the music? Kind of bland.

  • Thanks for clearing that up, visualsimplicity.

  • There’s a local band called ‘[insert metaphor here]’, which I think is kind of lame in itself..

    Anyway, would ‘Guided by Voices’ be an exception to your ‘no prepositions’ rule? I think that’s a pretty neat name.

  • “‘Til Tuesday, God Is My Co-Pilot” is a cool band name.

  • Great post and I’m in large agreement.

    I think the preposition is fine, however, and like the names Rage Agains the Machine and Alice in Chains.

    Very much agree on the number in the band name thing… though I contend Three Dog Night is fine because it at least is an adjective holding some meaning.

    I think a band name is pretty damned important as it is one of the first things you see visually or hear in place of the music itself.

    Example A:
    Yo man, there’s this new band called Texas Terri and the Mean Ones that’s totally kick ass. You should totally check it out. I mean, these guys ROCK!

    Example B:
    Yo man, there’s this new band called Klickles907a that’s totally kick ass. You should totally check it out. I mean, these guys ROCK!

    Which band would you check out first?

    [Example A is a real band while B is made up…]

  • Garbage really grates as a band name. For your criteria, it is a single word name. My objection, however, is that I take the name as self-judgement. They’re strongly suggesting by their very name that they’re no good. I don’t want to listen to garbage. They actually have one or two good songs, but it took a lot for me to get past their name.

  • Duane

    The Snot Puppies.

  • I like band names that have a sense of humor but also manage to pull off being a “real band” (whatever that means) like Nerf Herder and Aquabats.

  • nothing in history is worse than this shit. I haven’t even heard their music… just out of principle:

    the the

    wtf is that? After that, any band name is good. Except Live, all that does is create confusion. Annoying stupid confusion. So how does one create clever confusion? Barenaked Ladies!

  • Different kind of sort of topic:

    It would be really fun to have a Battle of the Bands competition of bands with stupid names / very similar names. First up:

    The Band v. Da Band

  • This far into the thread and no mention of Our Lady Peace? Or, for that matter, Better Than Ezra? (Which I always secretly translated to Lamer Than Live.) (Which, in turn, is pretty fucking lame, if you think about it.)

  • I should have included the Jesus bands in my list.

    Jesus Jones
    The Jesus Lizard
    The Jesus and Mary Chain
    Liquid Jesus

    The only good one is Jesus Christ Superfly

    And yes, Better Than Ezra should have made it, too.

  • wvmcl

    The Mothers of Invention would qualify under your second criterion. I don’t think the band was officially known as “Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention”, at least not at first. However, in fairness, the band was originally called just “The Mothers.” That wouldn’t fly on an album cover in 1966, so the record company insisted on the addition.

    My favorite bizarro band name : Scraping Foetus off the Wheel (later shortened to just “Foetus”)

  • At my high school there was a band called Dizzy Platypus… which I thought was kind of rad.

  • Ok, so my band (of about 6 months now) is called The Company Line

    Not that we are going to change it or anything, but is that an acceptable name?

    Cheap plug for my band 🙂

  • Shark

    Great article, Pete!

    Best comment so far:

    Bricklayer: “Bob Dylan-I hate that stupid name.”

    (wiping coffee off my monitor)


    re: 60s bands —

    don’t forget these (not sure if they’re on the Worst list or the Best list?)

    The West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band (not too pretentious, eh?)
    Chocolate Watchband
    Shiva and the Headband
    Electric Prunes
    Bubble Puppy
    The Moving Sidewalks
    Question Mark and the Mysterians
    Blue Cheer
    The Seeds (best singer name: Sky Saxon)
    Hour Glass (later = The Allman Bros)

    exception to the NO NUMBERS Rule:

    –> 13th Floor Elevators!

    re: famous misspellings: did you forget The Byrds?

    WORST CHANGE: Jefferson Airplane -to- Jefferson Starship


    My favorite: “Pit Bulls on Crack”

  • Shark

    My candidate for the worst, timely contribution:

    Constantine the Professional Pouter’s band:

    “Pray for the Soul of Betty”

  • I’d say the Company Line is ok. Not particularly inspired, but FAR from the worst I’ve heard.

    13th Floor Elevators–Great band, terrible name. Many of the bands on my list are ones I truly love, just not necessarily the names.

    You’ll see that I mention ? and the Mysterians at the end as an all-time classic.

    Should have put Grotus in the made-up word list. And WURM and GWAR aren’t so good.

    Good call on the Byrds. On the topic of the Byrds, I never did like the Flying Burrito Brothers as a band name.

  • Taloran

    “WORST CHANGE: Jefferson Airplane -to- Jefferson Starship” to plain old Starship.

  • Sunny

    Some of my favorite bands with kind of lame names:

    Dashboard Confessional
    Taking Back Sunday
    breaking benjamin

  • Since we seem to be diverging into great band names, who can beat the best band name ever – The Smoking Popes.


  • It don’t get much better than RUSH for single-syllable rock band name, and Led Zeppelin is one of my all-time faves.

  • The Demigodd

    I’ve got an exception to band names w/ one syllable: The florida-based death metal band called… Death. Now THAT’S an awesome name.

    I have ideas for band names, like “Death to Society”. That’s an AWESOME name with a preposition. A band name “666”, would be a good band name. A good band name with a catch phrase would be “Die Slow Muthafuckaz” (DSM for short.)

  • Wow, a death metal band named Death? Shocking.

    Or a Satan worshipping band named 666? Damn I wish I was that creative.

    Seriously, though, I don’t really agree with the preposition rule since one of my favorite band names is called Death from Above 1979 (and it some what violates the number rule too–and ironically, after my above comments, has the word death in it).

  • The Demigodd

    No, the death metal band, Death, is known as one of the godfathers of death metal. They came out in the late-80s, and they’re kickass, too. I had their CD, Heretic (released 2003), but some asshole stole my rock CDs. Now all I have is my rap stuff, which I haven’t really been listening to.

  • Was just thinking that it’s really true that having “the” on the front of your band name is usually a sign of good things…

    The Doors, The Beatles, The Who, The Damned, The Jam, The Kinks, etc.

    Notable exception #1:

    The Spin Doctors

  • The Theory

    I had to think of the band, Eagles of Death Metal while reading this thread… now THAT is a good band name… probably because it’s satire.

  • No idea if “Death” is cool or lame as a band name, and i don’t really care either.
    The music though..
    I’m not a metalhead myself at all, but Death indeed used to make some incredibly creative music.
    Beyond metal.

    I like to listen to death between chet baker and jj cale, and somehow it always fits.
    Subtle music.

  • I agree, eagles of death metal is a cool name.
    It’s like :
    “Hey tim, i hear you’re in a band. What kind of music do you guys play ?”
    “Well, you know, we’re like the Eagles of death metal.”

    That’s pretty funny, i think.

  • The Demigodd

    Another good band name would be “Abaddon”.

  • godoggo

    Actual band: The But Franklies

    Never heard them, but how bad could they be?

  • HW Saxton

    This is either the worst name ever or it
    is one of the greatest band names ever:
    “The Guys Who Came Up From Downstairs”

    The real name of a mid 60’s garage band,
    no kidding. I wish I was but I’m not.

  • The Demigodd

    Definitely the funniest band name, however.

  • Butthole Surfers, Dayglo Abortions; Fartz. Well, I love those bands!

  • Mike

    These are all great suggestions but the worst band name of all-time is “Goo Goo Dolls” by a long shot. I hear they named themselves this on a double-dog dare. Simply awful!

  • Re: Eagles of Death Metal comment . . .

    I know, I love that name. I was assuming that was how someone had described Queens of the Stone Age (which shares members with EoDM) at some point.

    Also, speaking of Queens of the Stone Age, is there a rule on the use of military/political titles in band names? Some other good military names that come to mind are Captain Beefheart, Captain Beyond, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, Joy Division, and Nuclear Assault. The Captain and Tennille is the exception that proves the rule.

    As for political titles, there’s Elvis – “the King,” King Buzzo from the Melvins, Queen, Queen Latifah, the aforementioned Queens, Prince, Duke Ellington, Screaming Lord Sutch, and countless others.

  • Shark

    H.W. Sax, et al:

    Ain’t it weird that it’s kinda hard to decide whether it’s the WORST band name ever or the BEST band name ever?

    Thin line, apparently!

    With that in mind….

    Best/Worst(?) Country Band Name EVER:

    *The Bastard Sons of Johnny Cash

    *great music, btw!

  • Shark

    A note on Death Metal:

    Music for the young only.

    (At my age, ‘death’ is the last thing I wanna hear and/or think about.)

  • For a while there, I was playing with some kids who wanted to do kind of a post-punk and not Emo type of a band and I was saying that we should name the band “See You Next Thursday” and I said it with a straight face.

    They didn’t get it and were like, “Dude, but there is already a band called thursday and it really sounds way too emo.”

    That was the beginning of the end. I knew I couldn’t play with these people. I thought that would have been a decent band name. Profane without profanity and mocking the pretentious band names out there.

    Oh Well.

  • Come to thing of it, I remember a band out of the Bay area in the early 90s known as the Space Negroes. They had a cassette tape, it was actually not bad. Art-Punk.

    OK, this thread could get really long as our brains start pulling out names from our memory.

  • Toad the Wet Sprocket is from the sketch Rock Notes that you can find on the Contractual Obligation album. That sketch is full of really bad band names.

  • How about this one for the best/worst flyer advertising a gig I’ve ever seen:

    “If Phish were ska, they’d be Shue!”

    [Shue was the band… apparently]

  • Eric Olsen

    band names:
    Caustic Smegma
    Persistent Fly

    album title:
    Clean As a Broke-Dick Dog

  • HW Saxton

    Shark,Where are “The Bastard Sons Of JC”
    from ? That is a great name. Or a great/
    bad name whatever the case may be.I also
    like the name “The Bad Livers” who are
    from down around your neck of the woods.

    Well, Austin actually. But that is only
    about 200 miles from Ft.Worth right?

  • sydney

    worst: The Band

    despite thier good music..

  • What about Da Band?

  • HW Saxton

    There was a punk band where I used to
    live called “Free Beer”.

    Fliers for their shows always got a lot
    of attention. Too bad they sucked.

  • sydney

    ya you reminded me off a cover band that had a name along those lines… it was a sex name though.. like “nude chicks” or “nude dancers”. Forget exactly..

  • I thought of one of the best/worst band names ever on the way home from work… they hailed from somewhere in Central New York…

    Stool, Featuring Crappy the Clown

  • dogsbody

    A new band from Scotland is making a bold play for Worst Band Name Ever, and that is “Dogs Die in Hot Cars”. What a stinker! They’re much better than their name though.

  • HW Saxton

    There was once an Aussie punk band named
    “I Spit On Your Gravy”.

  • I disagree with Rage Against The Machine but still a great, and very funny post. I think maybe there should be a section for double negatives – for instance a band that came to my school a while ago – TheBandWithNoName. Surely that must be a contender for the worst name ever! Also Muse is another acceptable one syllable name.

  • “I agree, eagles of death metal is a cool name.
    It’s like :
    “Hey tim, i hear you’re in a band. What kind of music do you guys play ?”
    “Well, you know, we’re like the Eagles of death metal.”

    True story: some guys who had a movie soundtrack band were playing back one of their compositions and someone commented that it sounded like Phil Spector’s wall of sound.”

    The reply? “No, man, it sounds like a wall of voodoo.” And a band was born.

  • The Demigodd

    Squirting White.

    How about that for a band name?

  • The Theory

    …eeew. just… eew.

  • The Demigodd

    Why are you disgusted? It’s natural. It’s how you were born.

  • Okay, can’t believe I’m revealing this one, but I’ve always thought this would a good name for the right band:


  • Shark

    HW, bastard sons of johnny cash at amazon

    And they’re touring California as we speak!

    Check ’em out.

    PS: In the early 70s, I was in a band named “Master Cylinder” — in honor of a *cartoon charater in the old Felix series — not a car part.

    *No one got it. [snif]

    PPS: The theatre I write for did an original musical a few years ago called “Negroes in Space”

  • Any relation to Jews in Space from the end of Mel Brooks’ History of the World Part I?

  • I remember on an episode of ‘Get Smart’ there was a band called ‘The Sacred Cows’.

  • On an episode of Diff’rent Strokes, Willis was in a band called Afro-desiac.

  • gonzo marx

    a great bass player i know..leader of Zen Pajamas, one made a witty bit of Observation about band names..sarcastic as always he said..

    “quick , grab a noun before they are all taken”

    Wisdom abounds…


  • Demigodd, hhhmmm…Squirting White? You know we can make the Pearl Jam reference with that one….

  • HW Saxton

    Eric B., There is a Lonnie Liston Smith
    Funk/Jazz tune called:”Afro-Desia”.

    This may just be where the writers of
    “Different Strokes” copped the name of
    the band.Pretty good name by the way, if
    you ask me. By coincidence the name of
    the show is also a song.The Soul/blues
    great Syl Johnson did a song by the name
    of “Different Strokes” a great funk jam
    from about 1969/70.

    Better than the name of band Beaver had
    on the “Leave It To Beaver” TV show.
    They were called:Beaver & The Trappers”.
    And they actually put out a 45 record
    by the name of “Happiness Is…”. that
    is not bad early 60’s garge rock.

  • That’s funny, HW, and I agree it’s a good name… hell, it stayed with me all these years — from one episode of a long gone sitcom!

  • HW Saxton

    Didn’t Re-Run and Raj have a band at
    some point on “What’s Happening” or on
    “What’s Happening Now?” the follow up
    that was based around Shirley’s place?

    It’s been a long long time since I’ve
    seen either but it seems like they did.
    Ain’t it sick the way TV sometimes blurs
    the fine line between memory & reality?

  • I bet they did… man, I’d love to see that episode right about now.

    Less Will & Grace and Raymond in syndication!

    More Diff’rent Strokes and What’s Happening!

    And Tom & Jerry and the original Transformers too!

    Hell, bring back my entire childhood while we’re at it!

  • Eric Olsen

    I loved The Wayouts in that Flintstones episode – the band members were segmented

  • HW Saxton

    The Way-Outs episode was cool.One of the
    reasons the song was so catchy was that
    it was written by Berry Gordy Jr.!

    I’m not sure if it was written entirely
    by Berry or just co written but you can
    notice similarities to “Do You Love Me?”
    without trying very hard.And “DYLM” was
    written by Berry.

  • MT

    Years ago I met a band called Hitler & The Belmonts.

  • HW Saxton

    That reminds me, there was a punkabilly
    band named: “Elvis Hitler”.

  • godoggo

    There was also a band with the very fine name (in my opinion), The Very Idea Of Fucking Hitler. Obviously I disagree with the no prepositions rule, on the subject of which I’ve got to disagree with the author on Porno for Pyros, a perfectly splendid name in my view.

    My favorite band name is the Minutemen. Also I thought the Doors was good. Hard to go wrong with the The thing.

  • SA

    That is hilarious! Thanks for a great read. However you left out a few good ones. . . . Thirty-Odd Foot of Grunts. Awful, but actually works when fans refer to them as TOFOG. It kinda sticks with you. Ironically, this is a good band. And speaking of actor bands. . . . I think Dogstar is a great name. . . awful band.

  • Sarah

    fuck that! Korn rocks.

  • HW Saxton

    Wasn’t “Dogstar” the band that Keanu R.

  • uao

    Nobody mentioned:

    The Buttless Chaps
    …and you will know us by the trail of dead
    The The
    Joy of Cooking
    Thinking Fellers Union Local 282
    Butts Band
    It’s A Beautiful Day
    I Am The World Trade Center
    Englebert Humperdinck (whose given name was the reasonable Arnold George Dorsey)

  • HW Saxton

    Hassan Ben Sobar & His Suburban Turbans.
    So Cal punk band – mid 80’s. Unrecorded
    to my knowledge.

    And there was a Phoenix,AZ band called:
    “Sphincter”.The same city also gave us
    “Jodie Foster’s Army”.

    And my favorite is the Australian band:
    “The Beasts Of Bourbon”. Great band!!!
    Swampy,noisy,bluesy with shades of Punk,
    C&W and Tom waits-esque bizarro world

  • If only they were The Assless Chaps. Then I could get behind them (in a manner of speaking).

    I’ll see your Jelly and raise you Belly. Which is worse?

    Yes, Dogstar was Keanu’s “band.”

    Sarah, Korn may or may not rock. That’s not the point. Their name sucks. I said nothing about their music. In fact, I quite like some of the bands I listed.

  • Worst band name ever has to be Anal C***.

  • anal c**t is a great name! shame they’re a bunch a wankers, mind.

  • Yeah, AC gets a special pass for being so ballsy (to continue the anatomical theme). As does Bloodcome. I’m sticking with Archers of Loaf. They don’t get any worse than that.

  • Then there is always Impaled Nazerene, Pungent Stench, Cannibal Corpse et al…there are so many daft names in the extreme metal field.

    A mate of mine does a rather funny gag imagining one of the guys in the band telling his parents about his new project.

  • points must be awarded to Half Man / Half Biscuit, but then the naffness was kinda intentional, an also, they rock. on another note, Andrew Ian Dodge, am i right in assuming your own band to Growing Old Disgracefully? I only ask becuase i mentioned it in the (currently uploading) mondo podcast 13, an hope i got it right!

  • All right, for my money, “that dog.” deserves honorable mention among the worst band names of all time. It really helps that they insist on the lowercase letters and the period at the end as part of their official band name.

    When someone mentioned Jesus in band names, it reminded me of M.C. 900 Foot Jesus, which is a horrible band name partly redeemed by its mockery of a televangelist fund-raising story.

    Best part of that story is the televangelist’s name: Oral. Oral Roberts, if I recall correctly. Yep, those were the good old days.

  • Yes my own band is Growing Old Disgracefully.

    We have a targeted single coming out next week. The link to the site is above.

  • good luck with that Andrew! another truly horrendous band-name, from a telly show (popstars the rivals, in fact) – a boy band called One True Voice. what a horrific band name…

  • Yikes that is bad. If you want lame names a quick reading of The Pit metal mag or Terrorizer is a treasure-trove. It is esp funny when you consider some extreme metal bands logos.

  • Ali

    Hey, wut do u guys think of the band names phantom 43, or new day?

  • hhhmmm… how about the solo artist, B.J. Smegma. OK, I made that one up…

  • LSD

    wot do u guys think of my bands name ‘The Red Echoes’ ?????? and i think another pretty kl name 4 a band is ‘Vexed’ tell me wot u think ?????

  • Well, Phantom 43 is out because it’s a number band. The world doesn’t need any more of those.

    New Day? Eh. It’s not terrible. But it does make me think of Green Day, and that’s not good.

    The Red Echoes is fine, although I’m not sure what it means. Please do NOT name your band Vexed (or Vext).

    I think a good band name would be The Huffing Prudes.

  • Howard Boyes

    IF we’re talking about ‘inside jokes’ as being ok band names then Seven Mary Three should be struck. The ONLY thing good about that band was that its name was a CHiPs reference. Come on people!

  • Great post! I’m especially impressed at the “fun fact” that adding “The” to the front of a one-syllable name enhances that name immeasurably. However, look at this:

    The Staind

    Still a terrible name, isn’t it?

  • Oh, as for Jesus bands, I have another one that was a good one: “Jesus Chrysler.” Also known as “Jesus Chrysler Supercar.”

  • LSD, or is your hip hop name Ellis D? Anyway, Vexed was the name of one of the zillion proto-grunge bands from Seattle (about 1984 for them). They weren’t big or anything, they just called themselves “Vexed”. I’m sure it was never registered so it is just public domain for you to rock to.

    It ain’t a bad name. Pete Blackwell doesn’t like it. I think it might be OK, but I would have to hear your music first…


  • Even the ones I disagree with are funny. Terrific article. I needed a laugh.

  • Siobhan

    I admit to having a soft spot for names that are so bad they’re good. Usually only really bad punk bands can pull this off.

    Example 1: 10,000 Screaming Apaches
    Example 2: Sucking Chest Wound

  • oldgirl

    Preposition exception: June of ’44 and Built to Spill

    AWESOME name: Drive-By Truckers (also incredible musicians)

    More awesome band names: My Morning Jacket, Blonde Redhead, British Sea Power, and Broken Social Scene.

  • exception to numbers rule
    3 Inches of Blood

  • I agree with visualsimplicity that Death From Above is a great band name in violation of the preposition rule. Too bad they were forced to add the 1979. (Says Wikipedia: Originally named just “Death From Above”, the duo changed their name after a New York City dance-funk label named Death From Above threatened legal action.)

    I also like Built To Spill. And, one of my favorites is Future Bible Heroes.

  • jordan

    Ok the ignorant slave that stated “death metal-only for the young” or whatever, you need to pull your head out of your ass so it can be severed from your putrid corpse. Anyways back to badass band names.

    -Agoraphobic Nosebleed
    -1349(better than all the other numbered band names up there)
    -Old Man’s Child
    -Septophilia(my friends band)
    -Burning Skies
    -Decrepit Birth
    -Vital Remains(awesome name actually)
    -I Know more music than you!

  • Knives_Out

    A great band name is:
    Truck Road Defects

  • stevie

    what about Alien ant Farm?? how horrible is that

  • loo

    Best band name I heard is a made up one on the Rockstargame website- you register your “band” and make it practise and write songs and tour and it goes up the “charts” depending on how hard you work. Anyway, it’s ‘McTellica”. Awesome.

  • loo

    Please excuse atrocious punctuation. Just noticed.

  • mike

    enjoyed the article – thanks for that.

    some additions are surely:

    prefab sprout (reformed vegetable)
    heaven 17 (hell 18)
    east 17 (why not walthamstow, london)
    five star (enough said)
    abc (duh…)
    m people (muppet? maggot? misery?)
    boyzone (why not gaylordz?)
    pet shop boys (hampster please)
    puff daddy or p diddy (they both suck)

  • theres a local band here called the bayonets thats a horribel name
    i cant believe how bad it is lol if theres ne misspells there 4 give me im eating ice cream

  • 😀

  • Stacey

    Well I’ve some dumb ones, miss-spelt and the plain stupid including;

    Count The Stars (why?)
    Big Brovaz (why spell it like that)
    Bowling For Soup
    Franz Ferdinand
    i-(def)-i (good band, why the symbols)
    KT Tunstall (why the shorthand)

    and the god awful–


    thats all i have to say on the matter 🙂

  • Franz Ferdinand is one of my favorite band names of the past few years. I’m with you on the others. Not sure why the Bayonets is bad. It kind of sticks with me ;-P

  • gorillaz r awesom lol funny name though

  • Pork and beans supernova

    Anal region nice, purple pants granola bars.

  • tacos smelling poop without needing supervision

  • xfng

  • another band name is the poo poo squad they r a local bad

  • Stacey

    I just suddenly remembered one…


    whats up with that!

  • Stacey

    A local band i went and watched this evening was called…wait for it;


    *loads the gun* :-[

  • Thought of a cool band name today:

    The Mud Bloods

    Cool to me, maybe sucky to everyone else!

  • Stacey

    Well I also thought of some made up dodgy names..

    Anal Sepage
    Your Mom
    Ugly Step Sister
    Athletes Foot

    but what do you lot think of my band name…

    All Main Routes

    let me know

  • lo-pl.

    poop poop, POPTARTS!!!!!!!!!

  • Paul Linford

    The writer should have added another category – Band Names Should Never Contain Apostrophes. This is aimed specifically at Hear’Say, my own nomination for the crappest band name ever.

    When I lived in Sheffield a few years back, I came across a local band called Dominic and the Derrickos. This probably isn’t the best band name ever, but it made me laugh.

    As an aside, what is behind the current WW1 chic in band names, eg Kaiser Chiefs, Franz Ferdinand? I am surprised anyone would want to glorify this rather inglorious period in world history.

  • I think Camp Kill Yourself is a great name! There is a metal band called Prosthetic Cunt, their CD title?
    “Fucking your daughter with a frozen vomit fuck stick” No joke.

    try these on for size…
    Neptune Towers
    The Number 12 looks like you
    Pissing Razors — 😉

  • clarie

    is this a gay band name please somone (caraways sombia)

  • Daniel

    I’m in a band with a name of RYDE. Half the people I know think it sucks, the other half think it rocks. I think you’re right though.
    The Ryde would be much better.
    In fact, almost any word attached to that would be better.
    Ride off
    eagle ryde
    Hit the Ryde
    Ryde Action
    Nation Ryde
    The Frumious Ryde

    We spelt it wrong because ride didn’t really stick out at all, and its a type of cymbal anyway. My mom said we should change our name to Bandersnatch.

    Really though the very best and very worst band names come from England
    The Beatles (Awesome)
    Napalm Death (Peice of crap)
    The Libertines (sort of both)
    Radiohead (sweet)
    Hot Hot Heat (sucky name, wierd band)
    Selfish Cunt, Mr. Scruff, Hundred Reasons, Four Tet, Goldfrapp, Super Furry Animals, The Coral, The Go! Team (decide for yourself)

  • Daniel

    Oh and I forgot to mention that we are trying to change it, and think of a better one, because ride is taken

  • seth

    what about Misunderestimated???

  • Jack Nedison

    Alice Cooper is A dumb name for A band

  • duuuuuuuuuuuuuuuhhhhhhhhhhhh!

  • porkblast

    i can’t believe nobody has brought up “The Atomic Bitchwax” yet. What a great bandname.

  • GoHah

    forgive me if they’re already on the list: Hootie and the Kajagoogoo Hoobastank.

    Great overview and detailed analysis.

  • GoHah

    I know this is way off topic in a diametrically opposed manner, but: the best band name ever is
    The Bastard Sons Of Johnny Cash.

  • 1. Band names should avoid the needlessly stupid: Let’s Active – this band name always pissed me off

    2. Band names should avoid the needlessly stupid: totally agree on Godspeed You! Black Emperor. Like, what’s with the exclamation point?? However, I don’t agree with your inclusion of Everything But The Girl, which I like a lot. I would include Minutes From Downtown as a catchy phrase name that isn’t needlessy stoopid.

    There was a band from Winnipeg in the 1980s called Joe Puke and the Chunky Bits.

    The intentional misspellings are so annoying, like the aforementioned Staind.

    I think one of the dumbest names is Bananarama.

  • Grishnackh

    Let’s not forget…..

    Accidental Goat Sodomy
    Sandy Duncan’s Eye
    Vic Morrow’s Head
    Violent Anal Death
    New Squids On The Dock

    Although, seeing these band names makes me laugh heartily…

  • CryogenicSoul





  • GoHah

    Never heard of ’em. What’s the matter, CryogenicSoul, another Saturday night and you ain’t got nobody?

  • I agree with CryogenicSoul. All of us BOLGGERS are assholes. And yes, by all means, we should TAKE THIS SITE OF THE NET!!!!!!

  • KOI Records

    haha – CryogenicSoul is hilarious! great name for a band though! Actually another good name would be All Bloggers Are Assholes (although i thought i’d spell bloggers correctly)

    you missed a jesus band earlier; Creaming Jesus

    i think you covered some great stuff in your article, but i think the worst band name i ever saw was ‘Plus Support’ – trying to work on the same concept of ‘Free Beer’ etc. lame.

  • -violent-act-

    I think Arch Enemy is a pretty lush band, and there pretty lush anyway. However, Send More Paramedics…what in the world were they thinking? To make matters worse, they dress like they just jmped out of a grave …

  • Addiction

    I’ve had so much reading these, bahaha. “Jesus Chrysler Supercar” I love it!

    Some guys from highschool had a band “Midgets in Concrete”….. just in poor taste really.

    End of Fashion is an awesome name and an awesome band. Faker is a winner.

    Thirsty Merc however…. I’m not so sure…they’re named after a petrol guzzling vehicle

  • GoHah

    “Ultimate Spinach”–were neither ultimate nor spinach–bizarre but true!

    did “Jodie Foster’s Army” make it on here?–although I like the name

  • Deansinger

    I remember Bastard Sons of Johnny Cash being very active around San Diego in the mid-90’s. I hear they even got blessings from the Man In Black himself. Anyway, I always thought Jon Cougar Concentration Camp and REO Speeddealer were great names ruined by litigation. Oh, add Green Jello to that category, too, even though it wasn’t quite as great a name.

  • kvaloki

    this blog is a waste of time. “all time” lists are by far worse than any band name.

  • hogwild

    Someone mentioned Elvis Hitler earlier. Always loved that one.

    Sex Clark Five is one of the best.

  • miss perfect

    i just want to say what about “The Fray?” i mean what kind of name is that? i know it didnt take alot of thought.

  • Quaalude

    Send More Paramedics sounds like a line from movie return of the living dead.

  • peter

    the best two band names ever are Joy Division and Soundgarden

  • I agree with Joy Division. That’s a great name, particularly when you know the historical antecedent. While I like Soundgarden, I think that name is a bit sucky. Since when do gardens rock? Unless it’s a rock garden, I suppose.

  • Dan

    I don’t know what category this would be under, but this guy has either the worst, or best stage name ever.

    Guy Mann-Dude

  • jojo

    What? you left out my band – The Grassy Knolls????? God, if we ever could have done that show with the Lee Harveys, we’d be a household name by now….

  • Nate

    Some bands with band members’ names are OK too

    Dave Matthews Band comes to mind, John Mayer Trio, but who the heck was J. Geils? Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers also a good one.

    Disagree with a few.. I like the name Rush (just an interesting one-word name) and you forgot to mention one of the weirdest, non-sensical – Hootie and the Blowfish.. Seriously, Rucker said he was drunk when he thought it up.

  • Vian

    There was a terrific band in Melbourne, some years back, called The Ergot Derivative.
    Splendid name, I thought.

  • John O’Keefe

    I gave up reading all the comments about half-way through, so I don’t know if anyone mentions the name “Free Beer”. This is a name that hotel proprietors will love to write up on their billboards, and so attract plenty of customers — thereby giving the band plenty of gigs.

  • Ivanhoe Fats

    Just a quickie in support of UB40 – the name is a form used by the Brits to claim unemployment benefit (as in form UB-40 ) and the band is named UB40 because all members were unemployed and on benefit when the band was formed 😀

  • Boycey

    To me Formula 409 sounds more like a haemorrhoid cream than a household cleanser. But hey, it’s all good.

    Nice blog!

    p.s. Colonel Bruce Hampton and the Aquarium Rescue Unit may sound daft but it’s certainly imaginative! 😀

  • ejc

    Agree with everything other than Sevendust. That is actually a type of pesticide, not some number name concoction.

  • James

    One of my favorite band names is Mindless Self Indulgence. The lead singer has a pretty bad-ass name: Little Jimmy Urine. Anywho.

  • Dan

    HAHAHA! Camp Kill Yourself! Great!

    Other good bandnames: GG Allin and The Murder Junkies, Tokyo sex destruction and my own band Creampie in dead Anusboy. The worst must be… Hoobastank is a good candidate

  • Dan

    Forgot one: Amazing friendly apple. Yeah!

  • sean

    This article is totally ridiculous. It has no logic to it what so ever. If the Beatles weren’t one of the biggest bands ever would have they got one of those “honorable mentions”? You can’t say that a certain way of naming a band is horrible and then make exceptions!!

  • Dan

    Dear Pete Blackwell,
    [Edited] everytime you make exceptions to your little catagories, you completely contradict yourself. Pretty sure i agree with everything sean said. I also think you have way too much spare time. that would have taken you a while to write out and to think of.

  • Jer

    Two quick points:

    1. Zappa never called his band The Mothers of Invention. It was only, “The Mothers”. Verve added the “of Invention” part because they were nervous about the connotations of the name “the Mothers”.

    2. What, no “special exemption” for Led Zeppelin?

    Being old and cranky is kinda cute. Stuck with what works, DUDE.

  • Special exemption for “The Beatles”?!

    That is easily one of the lamest band names ever. Every other name they had, in the various incarnations of the group, was far better.

    The Quarry Men was the original lineup. John got them to change the name to “The Beetles” in honor of “The Crickets”. Then they changed it to “The Silver Beatles”, then “The Beatles”.

    There really is no point in arguing this point. There talent, charisma and music aside, it was a lame band name.

  • It is possible to take this article too seriously, you know.

  • Brian aka Guppusmaximus

    With all joking aside…. “The Darkness” was a brilliant band name but too bad it was wasted on such a Piece of Sh!t band and too bad the kick ass comic by the same name doesn’t get any credit…just like “The Killers”. If you’re gonna name your band with something evil or dark then you should be able to play like F*cking monsters!!

    You wanna name that matches the band:
    The Golden Gods

  • smellygirl

    Hey, fun article. Still, I am going to argue with you!

    I have to say, your “prepositions” rule is pretty questionable, especially when you mention so many band names you like, using them. And come on, “Rage Against the Machine” is a very cool and punk name.

    And you are so totally wrong about Fountains of Wayne! Do you even know what the name comes from?

    Ever since I was a little kid back in the 70s, there has been this huge garrish store on the side of Route 46 in Wayne, NJ called, you guessed it: Fountains of Wayne. It is full of those huge horrible, tacky white Italian style fountains that people put in front of their houses on their 50-foot wide lots.

    I think for that reason, it is an awesome name. And I think the store is still there.

    Numbers? Yeah, those are pretty lame. But making an exception for 999 just because it is an emergency number in some obscure country is lame. By that logic, you should make an exception for 311 because that is a police code for indecent exposure somewhere, UB40 because that’s an unemployment form, and 808 state because it is a classic drum machine, etc. You were better off without that exception.

    MISSPELLINGS! Yes, this is the worst! The Beatles should probably not get an exception, though this is bettern than Led Zep or Monkees or Korn or Gorillaz just because of this: at least it is the tiniest bit clever since “Beat” could refer both to a musical beat and the “Beat Generation” of poets which at least have some relevance to the band. The others are just meaningless misspellings.

    Nobody mentioned fake umlauts???

  • smellygirl

    would you be OK with just “Mothers of Invention” or just “Spiders from Mars”? your prepositoin rule makes no sense! kill it.

    here is the real reason some of those band names suck:
    Puddle of Mudd – moronic misspelling
    Archers of Loaf – needlessly stupid
    Letters to Cleo – needlessly stupid
    Souls at Zero – needlessly stupid
    Death Cab for Cutie – needlessly stupid

    But what’s your problem with: Mouse on Mars? After all, you liked Spiders from Mars !?!

  • smellygirl

    new category needed:


    Pretentious!: !!!
    Retarded?: Therapy?
    Annoying!: Panic! At the Disco (stupid name draws even more attention to its stupidity)
    Goofy!: Godspeed You! Black Emperor
    Calm Down!: Alaska!
    Footnote?: Stellastarr* (note also: stupid spelling)
    (Umm): Sunn O))) – they are just copying the look of the symbol on the Sunn guitar amp
    Honorable Mention: ? and the Mysterians (OK, at least this one is kinda cute)
    Exception: Prince’s unpronouncable symbol. At the time this seemed like the most pretentiously stupid name ever. But eventually we found out he changed to this horrible name just to spite his record company who was screwing him over. So that’s pretty cool.



    Ugh: Mötley Crüe (worse since it’s also misspelled)
    Huh? Blue Öyster Cult (and a senseless name anyway)
    Grr: Motörhead (an otherwise cool name turned a bit goofy)
    Honorable Mention: Countless heavy metal bands
    Exception: Spın̈al Tap. Note also the missing dot on the “i”. Obviously a joke about the rest of these bands. Classic.

  • smellygirl

    SPINAL TAP – that’s what I said in that last post.

    OK, this is stupid: in your preview window, the weird characters in the Spinal Tap name were handled correctly, but at least in my browser in the final post I only see the character codes. 🙁

  • You’re making quite a stink, smellygirl. I never said my laws weren’t arbitrary.

    For the record, Rage Against the Machine is not a cool name and they weren’t punk.

    And no, I would not be OK with just Spiders from Mars or Mothers of Invention.

    I don’t care if Fountains of Wayne is a billboard on Rte 46. In fact, that makes it a lot lamer.

    I chose to only make one exception to the number bands rule because it’s so damn insidious. If I allow 311 because it’s a police code for indecent exposure, I’d also have to think that 5150 was an awesome name for an album because it’s the police code for someone going “absolutely fucking crazy”, as Sammy Hagar informed concert goers during the halcyon days of the 1987 Van Halen world tour, and I’m just not willing to take that step.

    It’s interesting that you mention umlauts and punctuation since those are included in part two of my Worst Band Names Ever offering, which was published in an obscure and now defunct Australian rock magazine (for no money). I will post it to Blogcritics so you all will be able to benefit from my arbitrary wisdom.

  • Part two of the Worst Band Names Ever is up here.

  • Wow, what a list.
    I didn’t see
    Aztec Camera (sucks)
    Pink Floyd (excellent)
    Led Zeppelin (One of the best ever)

  • Hysterical list – did anyone mention Aussie band The Fuck Fucks? Best name ever…

  • Who the fuck are the Fuck Fucks?

    And yes, Aztec Camera blows. Although so do Led Zep and Pink Floyd. Not quite as bad, though.

  • Jimmy

    you forgot the epileptic hamsters…..

  • Dylan

    Personal favorite was mentioned to me some years ago by a friend of mine named Trampas… Jimmy Ebola and the Children McNuggets… Great friggin’ name!

  • bobby bouche

    most of the bands you list have been successful and have made millions of dollars. You have no basis or measurement for your comparisons, band names should be weighed on the success of there identities.. what makes you the be all and end all in what a band name should be

  • My basement is unfinished, so I spend little time down there.

    As for your suggestion that a band name should be judged on the financial success of the band itself, well, that’s a terrible idea. It makes no sense and it totally strips any aesthetic sense from the process of naming a band.

    By your logic, the number of records sold should also be the only criteria for determining if a band’s music is any good. I don’t know about you, but I’m not going to go that far to defend Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey.

    Music is more than just another commercial product. Record sales tell you what’s popular, not necessarily what’s good. The record-buying public is notoriously bad at determining the latter.

    As H.L. Mencken once said, “No one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public.” Perhaps this quote will have some resonance with you.

  • Merlin Sparks

    Here are some of my favorites:
    Lothar And The Hand People
    Helen Wheels
    Surf Pistols

    and of course
    Black Flag -best band name ever

  • Bren Flibig

    Four Jacks and a Jill IS a real band – from South Africa, mid-sixties on into the eighties. One hit in America – a folky thing called Master Jack.

    on the other hand, my two favorite worst band names never even made it to MySpace, though it’s hard to say whether that’s because MySpace didn’t exist in the eighties, because the bands didn’t last long enough, or because the names were just too dumb.

    Sects with Children – this was tasteless in the eighties and is even worse now

    The Snot Vampires – this is from a reference in a science fiction anthology called Dangerous Visions, compiled by Harlan Ellison. He referred to a submitted story that was too gross even for him, that he did not publish.

  • Spimmy

    As long as you’re doing the noun thing, why not a band called Noun? I suppose you should have done it in the nineties…

    And why is Led Zeppelin better than Iron Butterfly? I always thought they spelled it that way so they wouldn’t have to put up with interviewers asking about who plays lead zeppelin and who plays rhythm. Pagey had NO sense of humor at the time.

  • How about Dead Kennedys or Sex Pistols or Mission of Burma? (I liked all those names)

  • MCH

    Nick Nostril and the Nose Pickers

    …and who could forget their no. 1 single, “Get That Boogie”

  • joe kickass

    what do u think of “side project” and “squirrel cage”

  • sayin

    I just found this and I’m having a blast reading all your comments.

    I was in a band that performed one show as The Ford Tempo Pilots. I always liked that one.

    What do you folks think about Moses Sane or The Sane Cats?

  • person

    first thing I think DragonForce is a BRUTAL name!! And as a joke my band thoght of these names:
    1) LIFE!
    2) Green Wind and the Apple Blossoms
    3) Shane and the Bagpipe Brothers

    but a neat name I thought of was One Last Resort Till Madness

  • joe kickass

    kisschasey – not a bad band though

  • dallen49

    limp bizkit i dont think is spelt wrong, its a masturbation game

  • Moocho77

    Great list, however like the rest, I do disagree with a few of them…Anyways

    My favorite band name for sure is
    “A Chicken’s Dilemma” named after watching an atrocious German beastiality flik, where some dude with a HUGE cock fucks this poor chicken to death. thus giving birth to the best band name EVER ! !

  • Mike

    Lame. Godspeed! you black emperor is a tight name.

  • Don Halvorson

    You forgot Led Zeppelin (Lead Zepplin) seriously

  • Van

    Lamb of God Rocks

  • That Drummer Guy


    Awesome band, what about the name?

  • Catey

    Stabbing Westward

    Flaming Lips

  • No offense, but don’t you think you are taking band names just a BIT too seriously????

    but i agree, hoobastank is one of the worst band names (not worst band) EVER.

  • what about
    goblin cock
    anal cunt

  • Brian aka Guppusmaximus

    That’s Mr. Mister Mister to you pal!!

  • one more loudmouth

    Suddenly Tammy is a bad band name.

  • Other acceptable number bands include 999 (British emergency phone number), U2 (spy plane) and Five for Fighting (obscure hockey reference).

    Yet you call foul on UB40, which is (or used to be) the form you filled out in Britain in order to claim unemployment benefits.

    Back in the band’s heyday of the early 80s – the Thatcher era with its record unemployment – the name UB40 was a provocative political statement.

  • Brandon

    The best band name ever: The Brian Jonestown Massacre.

    Worst name ever: Prince’s stupid symbol. Another good rule is to pick a name that can actually be pronounced.

  • Burke

    dude, i don’t usually bash on blogs and such, but linkin park is a real place, its not intentionally missed spelled and neither its the beatles, so before you talk about bands, get your shit straight, but nice job

  • J.H.M.

    I think a good 75% of outfits formerly associated with Throbbing Gristle violate these criteria. I mean, Thee Majesty? Coil? Current 93? Not that the names are bad, though, in my opinion…

    Swans is a good exception, considering the irony in it in their formative years.

    “Godspeed You! Black Emperor” was a 1950’s Japanese documentary on a youth biker gang called the Black Emperors. Namely, it isn’t stupid, just frustrating.

    I think that early ’70s German bands should be exempted from the “No One Word Names” rule. There were surprisingly many, and most were fairly clever.

  • Sidkah

    what about a name like…. My Mother Has An Adam’s Apple? good, bad?

  • Juno

    I think blink-182 should be an exception, because they were originally only ‘blink’, but they had to change their name because of an Irish band who had it first.

  • Mr.Deltoid

    I can not believe no one mentioned S.O.D.(stormtroopers of death)! Great name!M.O.D. (Method of destruction)

  • mcrancid

    best band name ever:

    paedophile scoutmaster.


  • brendon

    the worst name of a band i ever heard was horny flaming rainbow but monkeys.i swear to god it`s a real band name.

  • pornogrinder69

    devourment is a good one fecalized rectial sperm spewage is pretty funny like cock and ball torture

  • You could have an entire category for girl bands …
    two of my local favourites are:
    tit cannon
    vancougar & my!gay!husband! also come to mind

  • Mitch

    Death Cab for Cutie = Baaaad

  • X

    Godspeed is actually taken from the title of an obscure japanese movie, which makes sense when you’re an experimental band. Rage Against the Machine is a great name by the way.

  • GutGrinder

    I have some (all these bands are awesome, though!!!):

    Torsofuck, StickyOxydal, SpermSwamp, Splatterhouse, Satan’s Revenge On Mankind (or SxRxOxM for short), Rumpelstilskin Grinder, Rotting Christ, Prostitute Disfigurement, Poppy Seed Grinder, Pig Destroyer, Paracoccidioidomicosisproctitissarcomucosis (also one of the longest band names), Onion Antichrist, One Man Army and the Undead Quartet, Nunwhore Commando 666, Nasum, Nailbomb, Municipal Waste, Mincing Fury and the Guttural Clamour of Queer Decay, Meat Shits, Lymphatic Phlegm, Lykathea Aflame, Libido Airbag, Last Days of Humanity, Katalepsy, Impetigo, Hymen Holocaust, Holy Molar, Haemorrhage, Guttural Secrete, Gut, Gorgasm, Gorerotted, Frightmare, Fleshless, Festering Saliva, Extreme Noise Terror, Excrementory Grindfuckers, Embalming Theatre, Dr. Shrinker, Decapitated, Cunt Grinder, Crotchduster, The County Medical Examiners, Cock and Ball Torture, Cliteater, Cattle Decapitation, Catasexual Urge Motivation (CUM), Cannibal Corpse, Burn Victim, Blood Freak, Birdflesh, Basket of Death, Archgoat, Amoebic Dysentery, Ahumado Granujo, Agoraphobic Nosebleed, Acid Enema, Aborted and 2 Minuta Dreka.

    Just a few that stick in my head. I think they’re awesome names, but you might not 😛

  • Crazy Joe

    The only thing I disagree with is Def Leppard.

    A name you should add is, Bands should never have to long of a name… lol.. however the only one off the top of my head is:

    Yngwie J Malmsteen’s Rising Force (though they are a really good band!)

  • David

    The Butthole Suffers?

  • The Stiff Bishops.

  • David, do you mean the Butthole Surfers?

    If it’s not too cheesy, I would like to add Smegma to the list!

  • Brian aka Guppusmaximus

    How ’bout Anal Cunt?

  • Brian aka Guppusmaximus

    *Oops*… Just to clarify, I like A.C.

  • Martin

    All those people saying that this or that is the best band name ever have obviously never heard of the Hugh Jarre Soul Band.

  • Sean

    I disagree with Mr. Bungle being wrong. It is a humorous reference to peewee’s hbo special. Makes me laugh every time i see it.

  • Brian aka Guppusmaximus

    Wow…Someone actually knows about Pee Wee Herman when he was on HBO?? I’m surprised he made it to national television because the original show was not meant for kids… HA! Yes..Mr. Bungle Goes To Lunch.

    “California” is their best album because it went beyond their immature(yet brilliant)funk/metal on their commercially funded “debut”(which I fucking love) and really showcased some ideas that were in a league all of its own!

  • That show was one of the first things I ever remember seeing on HBO. has that ever been released on DVD?

  • Brian aka Guppusmaximus
  • Veggiepatch

    The lamest band names…



    Some Aussie band names are bizarre such as:-

    The Slugfuckers
    Lubricated Goat
    The Foreskins – changed to just the Skins when a new female member disliked the name.
    The Impatient Virgins

  • Sabrina

    Rush is awesome! But you’re pretty correct with most of the others.

  • Krissy Olson

    MY bandname is “Lips of Ruby Red”
    I think its friken awesiome

  • Ronnoc

    “Five for Fighting” is actually quite a common term in hockey. I suppose it matters whether you’re a hockey fan or not.

  • Chuck

    Much as I love metal, metal band names should’ve been brought into check here. Rumplestiltskin Grinder or Pig Destroyer anybody? I guess you already covered Burnt by the Sun and Job for a Cowboy… although, 3 Inches of Blood gets a pass for the same reasons as lords of acid, a double pass actually, imho.

  • Kris

    There is a band called garbage, yuck really bad name

  • Jojo Bizarro

    Here’s one for the exceptions to the numbers category: The 4 Skins.

  • the kid fiddlers….. just think about it.

  • bertie

    I saw a really crap band in London called “Nudge Muffin”… That’s got to be up there with the worst ever… What’s worse is that they fancied themselves as a metal band!!!

  • Ali

    I saw Nudge Muffin and they were actually pretty good, and have a cheeky quirky name. Not one for this blog.

  • Loose Lucy

    Just because you’ve never had your Muffin Nudged Bertie you big basset liquorice loving fucker!

  • Jay

    Yeah, a lot of monosyllabic band names suck, but you gotta admit, one of the best band names ever is Muse.

  • Joq

    How about “i’ve just shit myself” and then a sub name of “it’s all running down my leg”

  • Token Brit

    Very late comment… re UB40, a UB40 is the government form you need to fill in in the UK when you sign up for unemployment benefit, The number has not been gratuitously added so should, imo, qualify as an exception for the same reasons U2 does.
    I also think that Sham 69 is OK.
    Terrible band name: Hootie and the Blowfish
    Great band name: Half man half biscuit

  • Token Brit

    OK, have just found all the other pages of comments and see that everything I said has been said before by someone else. Before I crawl back under my rock gotta say thanks for mentioning ‘Accidental Goat Sodomy’ – dunno if it’s crap or good but it made my spit coffee all over my keyboard. Nice mental image!

  • Jesse

    I love the explanation of the rules for band naming here. Clearly every band should have to read this and sign that they agree to follow the rules before they are allowed to select a name.

    I’ve become somewhat fascinated with awful band names recently and done a bit of digging into other picks for bad names and really have to question what people are thinking these days. Are band members not spending enough time thinking about the name, the consequences, the branding side of things or are they just not creative enough to come up with something better? Is the market for great band names flooded that so few untaken names are left that we’re destined for awful names for eternity now? Thoughts?

  • I disagree.

    I completely disagree with almost everything you say. I HATE when bands use the definite article. It sounds cheap. And I also hate when bands use “(name) and the (other name). It singles out one person and makes the rest seem expendable, unless the first name is the persons actual name. Also, I think Puddle of Mudd sounds more epic and adds more flavor than “Mudd Puddle.” Misspelled band names can add some uniqueness to it, instead of just “Corn” it becomes “Korn,” which doesn’t immediately send an image of my favorite starch into my head. This article has no basis for your reasoning except for your own opinion.

  • Necron99

    Napalm Death is a great band but I always thought the name was kind of blatantly literal. It gets points for extremity, though. But once all those grindcore bands went for extremely blatant names you ended up with just a lot of blatant extemity…and “Blatant Extremity” would make a good name, come to think of it.

    “AC/DC” (despite what some may say) and “Motörhead” are great names and Motörhead with the umlaut is the only band name to ever pull off the umlaut, hands down.