Top 10 Wacky Band Names

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Have you ever wondered, why on earth did they call themselves that? When a journalist asked John Lennon why the Beatles were so called, he replied that a man on a flaming pie appeared in a vision and told him what to name the band; an example of John’s surreal humor there. At least an unusual name gets you noticed. Half Man Half Biscuit and Alien Sex Fiend narrowly missed the cut.

10. Gay for Johnny Depp

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No deep reason for this band name. They are self-confessed fans of Depp and who can blame them. The hardcore metal outfit from New York City are controversial due to explicit homoerotic lyrics, which often refer to Depp. Their first full length album is titled ‘The Politics of Cruelty’. They are certainly inventive when it comes to titles for their EP records, such as ‘Erotically Charged Dance Songs for the Desperate’ and ‘Blood: The Natural Lubricant (An Apocalyptic Adventure Beyond Sodom and Gomorrah)’. One wonders what Johnny thinks of all the attention.

9. Bowling for Soup

The punk band from Wichita Falls, Texas likes to make people laugh and is known for their funny lyrics. The video for their best known song, ‘Girl All the Bad Guys Want’, shows the band spoofing other bands. Even their name comes from a comedian.  They took inspiration from Steve Martin’s routine, ‘Bowling for Sh**’ on his album, ‘Wild and Crazy Guy’.

8. Wet Wet Wet

This Scottish band had chart success in the 80s and 90s, including a Beatles cover, ‘With a Little Help from My Friends’ and their version of the Troggs’ song, ‘Love Is All Around’, which was used on the soundtrack of ‘Four Weddings and a Funeral’.  Lead singer Marti Pellow was a handsome fellow and had one of pop’s finest voices. The band name derives from an admiration for Scritti Politti (another name that could have made the list) and a lyric from the song, ‘Getting, Havin and Holdin’; ‘it’s tired of joking – wet wet with tears’.

7. Duran Duran

The New Romantics were the pin up boys of the 80s. Simon Le Bon and his band mates filled up posters in teenage bedrooms with their big hair. They participated in the Band Aid charity single and in the Philadelphia wing of the Live Aid concert. They also performed the James Bond song for ‘A View to a Kill’. Their big hits were ‘Hungry Like the Wolf’, ‘Rio’, ‘The Wild Boys’, and ‘Save a Prayer’. The name comes from the movie based on a comic book, ‘Barbarella’, directed by Roger Vadim and starring Jane Fonda in 1968. Milo O’Shea plays the villain of the piece, Dr. Durand Durand.

6. New Riders of the Purple Sage

This band is a leading exponent of psychedelic country rock and is still active today, having formed in San Francisco in 1969. They have produced numerous albums and endured through many different line-ups. Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead was in the original band. The name takes its inspiration from the best selling western novel, ‘Riders of the Purple Sage’, published in 1912 and written by Zane Grey.

5. Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band

The Bonzo’s were one of the most original bands to appear in the 1960s. Their songs were styled on music hall and traditional jazz. They also parodied the music scene of the time. The members hailed from British art schools and took their name from a cartoon character called Bonzo the Dog by George Studdy and from the art movement, Dada. They had a hit single in 1968 with ‘I’m the Urban Spaceman’ and performed ‘Death Cab for Cutie’ in the Beatles’ film, ‘Magical Mystery Tour’.

4. Death Cab for Cutie

This name is directly linked to the aforementioned Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band. ‘Death Cab for Cutie’ was written by Neil Innes and Vivian Stanshall for the Bonzo’s 1967 album, ‘Gorilla’. The title is taken from an American pulp fiction crime story magazine and the song is sung as a parody of Elvis. The indie rock band from Bellingham, Washington took the name from the Bonzo’s send up. The band’s output includes six studio albums and four EPs.

3. Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci


A bit of a mouthful admittedly, but it didn’t do the Welsh band any harm. Their brand of alternative rock produced ten albums from 1991 – 2006. Proud of their homeland, they recorded in the Welsh language as well as in English. The origin of the name is broken down as follows: They took ‘Gorky’s’ as a word evolved from ‘Gawky’, ‘Zygotic’ was randomly chosen from the dictionary (it means something to do with cells) and ‘Mynci’ amused them as an ‘alternative way to spell monkey’.

2. Godspeed You! Black Emperor

The nine members are based in Montreal and are known for their lengthy songs. Their music is not easily defined and is influenced by rock, punk and classical. Following three studio albums and one EP, the band has been on an ‘indefinite hiatus’ since 2003. Not many band names manage to have an exclamation mark. The origin is from a Japanese documentary released in 1976, which features a biker gang called The Black Emperors.

1. And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead

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The six-piece indie rock band from Austin, Texas like to trash their equipment on stage and make a lot of noise (in a good way). The first record was released in 1995 and there have been six studio albums so far. The album covers are lovingly created and are amongst the most artistic. As for the band name origin, they claim that it is taken from an ancient Mayan ritual chant. It is wondered in some quarters however, that they may be pulling our leg.


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45 Comments

  1. Hi Zako

    They have moved that exclamation mark around over the years. According to Wikipedia and their MySpace page – the current name is as I've written it. But they could change their minds again.

  2. The drummer of "Trail of Dead" is a close relative and yet I've never seen that video for Mistakes & Regrets? I never thought I would say this, but I need to spend more time on Youtube.

  3. Thanks for the clarification, Anne. Apparently! you can add! a exclamation point anywhere!

    Dave, I think you can spend a lifetime on Youtube and still not see enough.

  4. Hi Brian

    Not really my cup of tea but thanks anyway! And not squatting with your spurs on is good advice.

    I wonder if senior citizens book them by mistake!

  5. where is Hoobastank on this list??? That's the dumbest band name I've ever heard in my life. And Puddle of Mudd? Also a horrible band name.

  6. My parents always thought I was nuts listening to "Dead Can Dance", "The Cure", "Echo and the Bunnymen" and "Cocteau Twins"! You know the Beatles heard their fair share of criticism…but they wouldn't be the same w/o their name, would they? I love this list…and agree with the commented names, too.

  7. I like the names of the bands on this list, really imaginative of the people in the bands to think up these names. There are many bands out there with really thought provoking names.. really makes you wonder what they were on when they named themselves!! 🙂 Great list, I truly enjoyed it. Just because they have cool names though, does not mean they are talented in the music department though. Sad but true!!

  8. Bibliomaniac on

    Some of my favorites:

    Fountains of Wayne

    They Might Be Giants

    Bananarama

    The Mighty Mighty Bosstones

    Billy Bacon and the Forbidden Pigs

    Mary Ann and the Professors

    Porno for Pyros

    Frankie Goes to Hollywood

    The Faux Hos

    Butthole Surfers

    Steely Dan (named for a steam-powered,uh-um, sex aid…)

    The Sinister Ducks

    Squirrel Nut Zippers

    The Velvet Underground

    Wang Chung

    The Mr. T Experience

    Veruca Salt

    Modest Mouse

    Pet Shop Boys

    Goo Goo Dolls

    Panic at the Disco

    Men Without Hats

    Fine Young Cannibals

    Wall of Voodoo

    And how about these oldies from the 1960s?

    The Electric Prunes

    Chocolate Watchband

    Marshmallow Steamshovel

    The Strawberry Alarm Clock

    Moby Grape

    The Peanut Butter Conspiracy

    (I'm sensing a pattern here–the munchies maybe?)

    The Bubble Puppy

    Atomic Rooster

    The Lovin' Spoonful

    The Lamp of Childhood

    Herman's Hermits

    13th Floor Elevators

    ? and the Mysterians

  9. Bibliomaniac – Wow that is a nice list. I'm intrigued by the Peanut Butter Conspiracy the most. So I went to Youtube and behold.

    <object width="425" height="344"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/feKuh3v6qv4&hl=en&fs=1&"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/feKuh3v6qv4&hl=en&fs=1&&quot; type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="425" height="344"></embed></object>

  10. Simon Bermúde on

    Hi very nice list what about those grindcore bands I used to listen to…
    Vaginal diarrhea
    Preschool tea party massacre
    Aborted
    Dying fetus…

    I think the first two are the worse ever…
    Greetings from Venezuela

  11. Already mentioned once in the comments, but the 1960's psychedelic rock band Strawberry Alarm Clock with the hit Incense and Peppermints is classic.

  12. What?? Come on, nobody mentioned the Tony Danza Tap Dancing Extravaganza . That one must be worthy of the list . Dethklok is a little weird too. Metal fans know what im talkin 'bout.

  13. weirdest band names i have ever heard of were:

    The Squirrel Nut Zippers

    Natalie Portman's Shaved Head

    Gorilla Biscuits

    Does It Offend You, Yeah?

    All wonderful bands, btw

  14. Here are some of mine

    Ned's Atomic Dustbin

    Does It Offend You, Yeah?

    Echo and the Bunnymen

    Depeche Mode

    Ludo

    Powerman 5000

    and i'm sure i have some more….

  15. Squirrel Nut Zippers

    Commander Cody and his Lost Planet Airmen

    Deerhoof

    The Firey Furnaces

    The Presidents of the United States of America

    Steriogram

    Tub Ring

  16. A lot of 80's indie rock bands were gifted with strange names. Such as:

    Wargasm

    Meat Beat Manifesto

    Rapeman

    Big Black

    Flipper(!!!)

    Camper Van Beethoven

    Then there was the Seattle band, Mother Love Bone, whose demise gave rise to Pearl Jam.

    Somewhat ironic since MLB was the superior band IMO.

  17. STEELY DAN –

    Named after a dildo in the William Burroughs novel 'Naked Lunch'. According to Burroughs, the Steely Dan was a metal dildo that an evil German bulldyke prostitute crushed using her nether regions

  18. Great list haha. Death Cab for Cutie and Godspeed You! Black Emperor are great bands.

    Some other strange artist names I have on my iPod, that I actually listen to are:

    Cymbals Eat Guitars

    If These Trees Could Talk

    Neutral Milk Hotel

    Pipes You See, Pipes You Don't

    The Jesus Lizard

    The Olivia Tremor Control

    The Sound of Animals Fighting

    Toad the Wet Sprocket

    Yo La Tengo <— (actually one of my favorite bands.)

    I also saw a band called "Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin" in concert once. They opened for Mute Math in Houston back in '07.

  19. some weird band names:

    Butthole surfers

    Catbutt

    Dinosaur Pile-up

    the dead milkmen

    Zebrahead

    Supergrass

    Disneyland After Dark (D.A.D)

  20. crispy ambulance

    gerry and the hatricks

    the psychadelic furs

    reel big fish

    klingonz

    celtic bones

    two fat ladies wot dance

    the lost centurions

    bastards of pop

    the frantic elavators

    clapham south escalators

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