What is this "band name" thing that people do?

Every once in a while, someone will chime up in a thread and say “X would make a great band name”.

What’s that from and how did it get started?

It’s one of those things that a lot of people have come up with independently or picked up from friends. I know I’ve been doing it for a loooooong time. Hell, I’ve even started keeping a little book of the good ones.

In my group of friends, we further qualify the bands as “would see,” “would not go see,” or “would see if [American/Japanese/Swedish],” where the band must or must not be one or more of those nationalities.

I think it was originally started by columnist Dave Barry.

Yep, definitely a Dave Barry thing.

Link that works (see the ‘band name’ list of his):


And origins:

see under “Style” heading


I don’t see anything yet that points to Dave Barry as the **originator **of the idea, though. I stand by my belief that it’s one of those things that spontaneously evolved from many different points and was independently re-invented by other people with no knowledge of its existence.

I’m sure plenty of people had the thought, “Wow. XXXX would make a good name for a band” before Barry did. It’s not all that creative. In fact, a lot of bands probably did get their actual name from such a conversation. Of the top of my head, Residents got their name because a letter was addressed to their house to “Residents” and it amused them and someone said, “hey, let’s make that the name of our band.” There should be little doubt, however, that Barry popularized the concept and made it a common (and now well played out) theme in popular culture.

A lot of ones that people say “band name!” to are unusual or odd parings of an adjective and a noun. Just have at it:

Char-broiled Ampersands
The Bloated Wishbones
Caustic Thoughts
The Reflective Hangnails

I agree. Long ago, Steve Allen would occasionally play Mad Libs® with the audience on his show. One night, it resulted in the phrase “Polish sweatsocks.” Steve cracked up, and he said, “That would be a great name for a band.” Again, I’m not saying Steve Allen was the originator, either.