Clever Band Names

Around here, we’re always pointing out turns of phrase that would make good band names. How about if we go in the other direction? A lot of bands have straightforward names (like The Dave Matthews Band) or simple, boring ones (like Garbage).

What bands have names that actually deserve to be band names? That are clever and witty and insightful and stuff.

Talking Heads
Switchblade Symphony
Black Tape for a Blue Girl
Butthole Surfers
Virgin 2.0
And One
Steely Dan

Now I am not claiming these bands are good, just that I think they have cool names. Some of them are good though.


There used to be a Dundee band called Free Beer.

Their name on a poster always guaranteed a good turnout at the gig!

The king of the heap has to be Camper Van Beethoven, IMHO.


The Magnetic Fields
Ladybug Transistor
Red House Painters
Trembling Blue Stars
The Softies

Music these days is astonishingly good, ya know?

My friend’s uncle’s band was named To Be Announced or something like that. I don’t think that’s exactly it, but it was one of those things they put when you don’t know the band that’s gonna play just yet.


Looking through my collection, some band names I like -

Cocteau Twins
This Mortail Coil
Sneaker Pimps
Throwing Muses
Aztec Camera (although technically, it’s just one person)
Fairground Attraction
Eddi Reader & The Patron Saints of Imperfection
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
The Tindersticks
Cowboy Junkies
10,000 Maniacs

And a word in for a few local boys -

Lilac Saints
Ben Harrison & the Electric Penguins
The Oddfellows
Concave Scream
Serene’s Closet

That’s why “Barenaked Ladies” named their band the way they did.

The “Beatles” was a clever pun.

gangsta bitch barbie

well, at least they were, until Mattel threatened to sue…

Crash Test Dummies
Blue Oyster Cult
New Riders of the Purple Sage
Hot Tuna
Quicksilver Messenger Service

I remember a few clever ones that turned up in a websearch once.

Jesus Chrysler Supercar
Devastation Wagon

Me First and the Gimme-Gimmes
Ivory Library
Toad the Wet Sprocket
They Might Be Giants
Dead Can Dance
Burnt Toast and Jam
Soul Coughing
Meat Puppets
Corrosion of Conformity
Talking to Animals
The Jesus and Mary Chain
The Soup Dragons
Sonic Youth
Fish Karma

The The
Butthole Surfers
The Dead Kennedys
John Cougar Concentration Camp
REO Speed-dealer
Blind Venetians

My personal favorite requires a bit of a set up. They were originally called “The Friends of Dean Martin” and released one album under that name, IIRC. Of course, someone associated with Dean Martin sued, and they had to change their name. Most bands, when forced to change their name, try to keep it as close to the original as they can. Hence, “The Friends of Dean Martin” became…

The Friends of Dean Martinez

Reaching way, way back…

The Mothers of Invention
Souxsie and the Banshees
Missing Persons
The Cramps

And perhaps the greatest band name of all time:

Half Man Half Biscuit

Further Seems Forever
Kathleen Turner Overdrive
Squirrel Nut Zippers
Our Lady Peace (how they got their name is cool)
? and the Mysterians
Three Dog Night

Ok, ya got me. How did they get their name?

Pearl Jam, Led Zeppelin, and Pink Floyd just because they are my favorite bands. :smiley:

Well, you can’t beat the Japanese for good band names. Their infatuation with Engrish provides endless entertainment. From the Engrish site:

Three Michelle Gun Elephant
Sound Masturbation
Bathtub Shitters
Flying Testicle
Goddamn Motherfuck Shitass Bitches

Some more from another site:

The Infinite Radical Freaks
Colored Ricemen
Congenital Haemmhoroids
Defiance of Shit Bastards

There is a band around these parts called The Special Guests, but the The is often left off, so you see posters like this:

Our Lady Peace
Special Guests

And until you show up, you have no idea whether it’s THE Special Guests, or if the promoters just didn’t know who they were getting when they booked the concert.

How did OLP get thier name, anyways?

I always liked Clark Kent and His Supermen.

Our Lady Peace is named for a poem by Martin van Doren, son of Charles van Doren (think quiz shows).