Band Names: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

I take it for granted that most band names make no sense when looked at objectively, so I don’t really notice most of them one way or the other. But some are just so great or so stupid that they can’t escape my attention. These are independent of whether I like the band itself, by the way.

Names I dislike:
Hoobastank. What the hell? Way to make your audience collectively shudder in disgust. At least they have stopped playing “the Reason” 1000000 times a day on the radio. Or have they?

Most misspelled band names, like Trapt, Staind, Puddle of Mudd, etc. Ugh.

The Goo Goo Dolls. I heard the story that they were originally a punk band and thought it would be funny and now it’s too late to change it. I know if I were ever in a band (ha!), I’d probably hate any name I came up with after a week.

Death Cab for Cutie. I’ve heard the story behind their name, too, but I still don’t like it. I like the band though.

Any band with a random number in it, like Sum 41.

Frou Frou. Try saying that out loud. “Hey, I like Frou Frou.” See what I mean?

Kaiser Chiefs. I don’t really hate this one, but I misread it the first time as Kaiser Chefs, and now I always think of them as that.

Rilo Kiley. What does it mean? Why are they so coy about it? Ok, I just looked it up on wikipedia and one of the band members said it was a name from an old Scottish sports almenac. I still don’t like the name.

Limp Bizkit. Just gross, and it’s misspelled. Minus 2 points. And it has Fred Durst in it, minus a billion points.

Names I like:
Me First and the Gimme Gimmes
The Dandy Warhols
The Magnetic Fields
Atom and His Package. (What? It’s funny.)

I’m sure I could think of more, but this is already the longest thing I’ve ever written on this board. Watch this thread sink like a stone.

The best names came out of the Sixties:

Tonto’s Expanding Headband
Lothar and The Hand People
Frumious Bandersnatch
It’s A Beautiful Day
Ten Years After

I’m with you on the gratuitous mis-spelling of band names. Of course, there is always The Beatles. :smiley:

Extremely obscure if you were in high school at any point past 1990.

Kick Axe. They had a song that compelled me to buy the cassette as soon as I could but I’ll be damned if I can remember it.

Staying old-school and ready to impose them on any of you kids that never heard of them simply because they rocked:

Metal Church.
King Diamond. (Name isn’t spectacular, but this guy was awesome.)
Death. (You knew going into it what the music was going to be like.)
Slayer (See above.)
Megadeth. (Named as a protest to war, but sold as nihilistic. Good marketing.)
Metallica. (The font really sold that one.)
GWAR. (A bunch of frat guys from Connecticut (?).) Beats the shit out of Hootie and the Blowfish in non-sensical band names. :slight_smile:

Also from the 60s: the Peanut Butter Conspiracy.

Marketing campaign (for real): the Peanut Butter Conspiracy is spreading!

Punks will never beat that. :cool:


Jefferson Airplane (Starship)
Grateful Dead
Quicksilver Messenger Service

Those are GREAT names. All the good names are taken, we’ve got to get by on the crappy stuff now. :slight_smile:

The best band name ever (espcially since they were a bar band): Free Beer. Always drew a crowd.

I do like the name “Death Cab for Cutie” solely because of its origin.

Other great names:

The Band (the ultimate in simplicity)
Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick, and Tich
1910 Fruitgum Company
The The
Commander Cody and the Lost Planet Airmen
Cat Mother and the All-Night Newsboys
Mott the Hoople
Moby Grape
The Presidents of the United States of America
Julie Driscoll, Brian Auger, and the Trinity
Captain Beefheart and His Magic Band
The Mighty Mighty Bosstones (the second “mighty” sells it)
The Sensational Alex Harvey Band
The Psychedelic Furs
The Flying Lizards
The Anemic Boyfriend

I don’t really care for names with umlauts in them.

Those I don’t care for:

The Chi-lites.
The Thompson Twins (It’s “Thompson and Thomson” and though the looked alike, they were not twins).

I hate all those post U2 band names with numbers in them:


you get the picture.

Good band names not yet mentioned:

Alice in Chains
Pearl Jam
Black Sabbath
Jethro Tull
The Electric Mayhem (what? It’s my favorite band name of all time)
River Bottom Nightmare Band (OK, I’m showing my age now)

I’m sure I’ll think of more later, after I post this.

Some of my favorite band names are:

Talking Heads

and I think the best band name of all time, evocative, mysterious, and simple is REM.

The full name of the band was Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem, which is even better.

The name was inspired by two characters from the Belgian comic strip Tintin, who were also named Thompson and Thomson.

I don’t listen to much music, but two band names I like:
Fall Out Boy: I’ve never heard their work, but I like the name, and it’s Simpsons inspired, which makes it even better (though “Fall Out” should be one word).
Limozeen: I don’t care if they don’t really exist, it’s still a great name.

I agree with everyone’s taste in here to this point. Alas, my #1 all-time pick is the first band name mentioned in this thread. As far as I know it doesn’t even mean anything, and I think that even annoys me more.

My favorite band name ever, I think is Aquarium Rescue Unit. Atlanta überweidro Col. Bruce Hampton has started several bands with great names, actually. His other efforts include the Codetalkers and the Fiji Mariners.

I cannot stress just how much I would like to echo this exact sentiment.
Personally, I tend to like names that come from conversational snippets (e.g., Three Dog Night, Hootie & the Blowfish, Better Than Ezra). For some reason, they usually agree with me. Another one I like is Ben Folds Five, which I find quite amusing (since there were only three of them). I’d really like to find out how they settled on that name, just because of the apparently inherent contradiction. :smiley:

I’ve never liked the name Weezer. Something about it doesn’t sit right with me. I also don’t like band names you can’t say without pausing in the middle, or write without developing a hand cramp. Two examples that leap to mind: …And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead, and I Love You But I’ve Chosen Darkness. If you can’t fit it on one line of a normal marquee, it’s too long. I don’t care if anyone thinks it’s artsy or cool; most of the world thinks it’s terrible.

And just because I can, I’d like to mention again that Hoobastank is my number one candidate for “Ugliest Band Name.” Seriously, what were those dorks thinking? :smack:

That’s a very good rule. I am sure that band name abbreviations are at historic highs these days. When I see names like “Death Cab for Cutie” (which, now that I know the origin, is acceptable to me), I wonder if we’ve run out of two-word band names. The average band name today seems to be a full sentence!

I know! Is that really necessary? Why can we not be bothered to type out a few simple words?

I LOVE, Sparklehorse, The Cult, Danzig, Nena, Rammstein, AC/DC, Doctor and the Medics, Echo and the Bunnymen, The Psychedelic Furs, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, 3Mustaphas3, as well as Zodiac Mindwarp and the Love Reaction, they are all some of my favorites.

I enjoy a deep tissue massage. The acupressure points are important.

I liked the name Disasternaut, a sw Ohio indie band back in 1999/2000.

If we can nominate people’s names, I suggest Doctor John, the Night Tripper. That is an outstanding (fake) name. And he’s also pretty obviously the inspiration for the aforementioned Dr. Teeth. The Electric Mayhem is definitely a great band name.

While I’m here, can I ask some opinions on the name of a band I was in back in high school? It wasn’t my suggestion, if that affects anybody’s… sensitivity. The band was called The Bob Ross Posse.

I always took that as a pun on cardplaying. Like Ben Folds his Five card hand.

Similarly, I really like the name Hot Hot Heat.

I’m also a fan of Arctic Monkeys, Bloc Party, Mission of Burma, My Bloody Valentine, The Tragically Hip, and the Violent Femmes.

I hate hate hate hate Audioslave. So lame. “Dude, we love music so much, we’re like slaves! To the music! Audioslaves!” I also strongly second the dislike of Staind and Trapt.

Special Mention to The Zombies, for, well, making me think of zombies.

The name seems oddly indebted to Soundgarden and Rage Against the Machine, which always struck me as odd. It’s like naming your kid after your ex.

the Weird part of Audio slave is the music not the name.
wtf Soundgarden, one of Seattle hardest rocking bands and Rage Against the Machine, the most pissed off (and the only true Rap/Metal fusion) band ever combine and we get Audioslave…

my chioces,
Thievery Corpration
Fila Brazillia
9 Lazy 9
Cake (seriously, when they leave preencore and there are thousands of people shouting “MORE CAKE” and “WE WANT CAKE” its pretty damn funny)
Southern Coulture on the Skids
Ben Wa (try finding them on google without a million sex toy hits)

Similarly, there’s the lead singer of the Sisters of Mercy: Andrew Eldritch. I have a suspicion it’s his actual, given name: if so, it’s the absolutely coolest given name ever, given the band’s genre.