I’ve always been fascinated with band names and they way in which they are created. For example, here are three bands that I’m currently listening to and the derivation of each name:
Vampire Weekend derived it’s name from the lead singer’s film of the same name. Admittedly a strange name for a band, but a memorable one.
Arcade Fire, according the great and powerful Wikipedia, reportedly got its name from an actual fire in an arcade. Sort of. When asked about this story, lead singer Win Butler replied, "It's not a rumor, it's based on a story that someone told me. It's not an actual event, but one that I took to be real. I would say that it's probably something that the kid made up, but at the time I believed him."
A good name despite the convoluted explanation. Don’t you think?
Bright Eyes gets its name from a 1934 Shirley Temple film that lead singer Conor Oberst watched on Turner Classic Movies in which the protagonist calls his love interest "Bright Eyes" as a term of endearment.
I like this story. The name Bright Eyes isn’t as memorable or unique as Arcade Fire or Vampire Weekend, but it’s not bad, either. I like it.
Bad band names are another story. I often wonder why some bands are capable of coming up with such interesting and memorable names while others don’t seem to try at all.
For example, check out this list of local bands appearing at a club in Madison, CT.
I don’t think there’s a good name in the bunch, and a few are downright stupid. I’m never a fan of bands simply named after their lead singer (The Dave Matthews Band, for example), but on this list, they are the best of the bunch.
Except for Langley Project. After the Alan Parsons Project and the John Tesh Project, haven’t we had enough projects?
Check out some of the names that aren’t named after the lead singer:
What Up Funk Rock Bottom Bud Bottleneck and CD
What kind of intriguing story could explain the creation of these gems?
What Up Funk. I actually found this band online. They refer to themselves on their website as What Up, What Up Funk, and The What Up Funk Band.
This is a problem.
They also write only in CAPS and use phrases as “LAST FREAKEND WAS ONE TO REMEMBER…” I also learned that their albums are named “As Funky As U Wanna B” and “Soulfunkful,” so it’s clear that this band has a problem with names.
I also found Rock Bottom online. Their homepage reads:
Sorry for the site problems!!! My computer crashed!!! We are now back on line!! The band has been practicing hard and working on some new music...see you soon at the next couple of shows!!!
Rock Bottom (Bryan, Jeff, Damin, Matt, and Greg)
At least the name appears to fit. Right?
Bud Bottleneck and CD have no website. I was not surprised. I’m guessing that they derive their name from something like this:
My name is Stew Johnson but I gave myself the name Bud Bottleneck because it makes people think of beer, and then they drink more, which makes us sound better. And Marty Finklestein, my lead guitarist, took the stage name CD so people will think of CDs and buy our CD. Great marketing, eh?
But the worst of all is The Rockaholics, a name that I would expect a ten-year old to invent for their band, only to be warned that the name is so close to to the word alcoholics (and just so stupid) that it should probably be avoided.
But no. I found this band online as well, and apparently they are actually playing up the addiction theme. Their homepage reads:
rockaholic (rah - ke - hôl - ik) n. - 1. a person affected with a rock and roll addiction; 2. one who rocks out habitually and to excess or who succumbs to rockaholism. pl. - Rockaholics, The. a hard hitting Connecticut based band that serves up an intoxicating blend of the best rock & roll from the 60's 70's 80's and 90's!!! The Rockaholics... Get addicted!
A couple items of note:
Check out the pronunciation guide to their name. If you were to actually use it, you would be pronouncing the name incorrectly. According to their pronunciation, rockaholic should be pronounced rockehholic.
I also adore the use of the triple exclamation point, always a sign of professionalism.
I know. All this seems kind of mean, and it is. These guys and girls are musicians, working hard and trying to entertain audiences, and nit-picking their websites and their extensive use of CAPS is petty and cruel.
But if they had given their band a decent name, I wouldn’t be doing this.