For years I've been wanting to start a band. Not because I'm a talented musician who expresses herself through her work, but because I have a mental list of killer band names that are going tragically unused.
When it comes to music, names are incredibly important. More than once, I have picked an artist out of a playlist or a seemingly endless rotation of ‘suggestions for you' solely because of their unusual name.
Not only can a bizarre moniker help a band get attention in the overcrowded vaults of the Internet, it can also set the tone of your expectations for the band's sound… only to (sometimes) shatter those expectations while nevertheless gaining your support for the band. I still remember how shocked I was back in middle school to find that The Grateful Dead weren't a metal band. The name just seemed to imply deafening chords and screeching vocals.
There are band names that ooze pretentious hipster vibes (Bon Iver), ‘band' names that disguise a solo project (Marina & The Diamonds), and band names that give you an excuse to swear (Fuck Buttons). Here are the stories behind some of my favorite eye catching band names.
1. Portugal. The Man
The indie rock group wanted to create a single alter-ego who represented the four members of the band. They decided on '
' because a country is theoretically representative of all the people who live in it. I guess this name is like a bad tattoo because the band once said in an interview, "...we have regretted it (the name) ever since".
2. Free Cake For Every Creature
Lead vocalist Katie Bennett filed her music under this heading on iTunes when she was starting out as a solo artist. She says the cake reference was inspired by her love of baking during a transition to a vegan lifestyle and that '
free cake for every creature
' is a sort of metaphor for love for everyone. If someone gave me free cake, I would love them forever, so this cute and quirky band name makes total sense.
3. Trampled By Turtles
The band was pitching names while trying to avoid one that sounded like the name of a bluegrass band. Because they are a bluegrass band. Banjo player Dave Carroll says the name sounds like "an unlikely and slow accident", but I think it sounds like a scene from a cartoon or the action packed sequel to "The Tortoise and The Hare".
4. Steve Buscemi's Dreamy Eyes
I couldn't find a story behind the inspiration for this funky indie band's name, but their sound is as dreamy as the stare of the actor whose name they share.
When I mention
to friends who aren't familiar with the band, their reactions to the name alone is usually, "Ugh!" While slow moving mammals and metal that has been left out in the rain are somehow appropriate symbols of the band's thick, grungy sound, this trio is anything but 'ugh'. The name was inspired by front woman Leah Welbaum's long standing love of sloths because she says she, "...likes the sick smiles on their faces".
6. Margot & The Nuclear So And So's
Lead singer Richard Edwards says the name just popped into his head while driving, so there's no good story here. It does make me wonder where he was driving or what he was listening to in the car because '
Margot & The Nuclear So And So's
' doesn't resemble any random thoughts I've ever had.
7. The String Cheese Incident
Leave it to one of those jam bands with the iconically weird fans to also have a weird name. The members of
are cryptic about the origins of the name, telling multiple stories -- including one about a busted mandolin string -- and leaving fans to speculate extensively in online forums. It is fairly conclusive that the non-edible half of the name arose when a friend of the band referred to their live shows as 'incidents'. I think I know what my next concert is going to be.
8. Rainbow Kitten Surprise
Rainbow Kitten Surprise
is one of those bands whose name is misleading when compared to their sound. RKS features the most beautiful harmonies you've heard since Simon and Garfunkel. Plus they were named by a friend of the band who repeatedly babbled the words 'rainbow kitten surprise' while coming out of anesthesia after an operation. What more reason do you need to listen to this band?