Respectful Insolence

Worst band names ever

Courtesy of Maxim, here’s a list of The Worst Band Names Ever. (Found via Stereogum.)

I’ll certainly go along with them in naming Limp Bizkit and Toad the Wet Sprocket as truly horrible band names. But, hey, what’s wrong with Men Without Hats (besides the music)?

A few suggestions I’d add to the list:

Better Than Ezra

Dogs Die in Hot Cars

Cherry Poppin’ Daddies

Panic! At The Disco (I particularly detest wandering exclamation points.)

…And You Will Know Us By The Trail of Dead (Love the band, hate the name.)

Godspeed You Black Emperor! (As much as I love this band, it was a toss-up between including this on a list of best band names ever or worst band names ever. But, then, damn if the pretentious collective from Montreal didn’t move the exclamation point in later iterations of the band name, producing Godspeed You! Black Emperor. I still love their music, though.)

Haysi Fantaysee

Hoobastank

Do Make Say Think

My Dad Is Dead

I’m sure you can think of more…

Comments

  1. #1 victoria
    December 2, 2006

    I always hated Bright Eyes as a pseudonym, personally.

  2. #2 daenku32
    December 2, 2006

    Just last night I was watching a live video about a band called Anal Thunder.

  3. #3 ivy privy
    December 2, 2006

    Better Than Ezra

    Good point. As a Cornellian, I concur that no one could be better than Ezra.

    I would found an institution where any person can find instruction in any study.

  4. #4 MikeG
    December 2, 2006

    How about Death Cab for Cutie?

  5. #5 T. Bruce McNeely
    December 2, 2006

    Back when I was a teenager hunting wooly mammoths for dinner, there was a band called Exuma. Great name. Think of the word association: exhume, eczema, exude. No wonder I used to find their LPs in the cut-out bins all the time.
    (I know, it’s the name of a tropical island – it’s still disgusting)

  6. #6 Mike the Mad Biologist
    December 2, 2006

    Here’s a band name that I actually liked: “Dow Jones and the Industrials.” Too bad they weren’t very good…

  7. #7 Tanta
    December 2, 2006

    I was once told (although I think it might be apochryphal or a joke) that Bruce Cockburn was once in a garage band called either Free Willie and the Whalers or Bambi and the Deerhunters. Can an entry win in the “Undecidable” category (best or worst) if we don’t know if it’s real or not? (Schroedinger’s Cat and the Heisenbergs?)

  8. #8 Man Called True
    December 2, 2006

    I don’t think Toad the Wet Sprocket should count, since the name started as a Monty Python joke…

    And no band name could ever be quite so bad as Meat Beat Manifesto.

  9. #9 Joe
    December 2, 2006

    In the academic year ’94-95 there was a band that regularly played in Mankato, MN, called “The Butthole Surfers.” I thought- “there’s a band that eschews commercial success.” But, nooo. In the summer of ’96 they, briefly, had a top-40 hit. I was in Indianoplace at the time, and they were announced as the B-hole Surfers.

  10. #10 Prup aka Jim Benton
    December 2, 2006

    My favorite “bad band name” story was a group originally called TURNER AND KIRWAN OF WEXFORD. They were an astoundingly good band, especially live, with a truky fanatical following of about 500 people (yes, including me) but they never seemed to be able to increase their audience.
    The name was one problem. It was accurate, the band was Larry Kirwan and Pierce Turner, plus occasional other members, and they both were from Wexford, Ireland. But it gave the impression that they played ‘classical Irish music’ instead of the very spacey mix of psychedelia, social commentary and hard rock that they did do.
    Unfortunately, when they decided to change it, they actually came up with a worse one, the MAJOR THINKERS, against the pleading of some of their fans (again including me). They also changed their sound, trying to make it a harder, more solid rock sound. The changes were a disaster, and the band broke up shortly after that, with Pierce doing a solo act, mostly, and Larry forming BLACK 47 — Mets fans who pay attention to commercials will see Larry in the ads for Irish Night during their International Promotions week.

    (They did get one album out, Absolutely and Completely. It’s almost unfindable — even they didn’t have a copy and I found my own literally lying on the street — and not really representative of what they could do, but it is still worth it if you ever come across it.)

  11. #11 Alison
    December 2, 2006

    I guess it’s harder to find bad band names for famous bands. When you look at local guys, you have tons to choose from. North Jersey spawned Disturbed Furniture and Tiny Desk Set, and Big Orange Cone is still playing at many venues.

  12. #12 notmercury
    December 2, 2006

    I think Cherry Poppin’ Daddies was a brand of firecrackers. Come to think of it, Squirrel Nut Zippers is another firecracker brand..hmmm…must be a neo-swing thing.

    I always thought Love-Spit-Love was a bad band name which reminds me about another bad one, G-Love and Special Sauce.

    Duran Duran for the Babarella fans?

  13. #13 grigory
    December 2, 2006

    soundgarden

    radiohead

  14. #14 Joanne
    December 2, 2006

    A Squirrel Nut Zipper is actually a type of candy bar.

    I like band names that keep it simple (i.e., The Cure, The Cult, The Clash, AC/DC, U2) On the other hand, a simple but stupid band name-Belly.

    JO

  15. #15 Emily
    December 2, 2006

    Right Said Fred (love their one hit, though: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZjCj_2tuCTc, because you know you want it).

  16. #16 Alun
    December 2, 2006

    theaudience (no caps, no space) is possibly the worst.

    The film 24hour Party People also mentions Crispy Ambulance and the band Barabas, named so the MC would shout “Who’d ya want?” and hope the crowd would shout back “Barabas!”

  17. #17 Robin Peters
    December 2, 2006

    For me, the world’s worst band name has to be Spandau Ballet – the now-defunct group that did the song True.

  18. #18 Kristjan Wager
    December 2, 2006

    There is a Danish band called, I kid you not: Screaming Eric and the Erections. Their posters tend to be rather…. graphic in nature. They are not played much in the radio, but that’s not due to their explicit name (comeon, this is Denmark, they frequently play stuff like Peaches), but more due to their music being a bit different from what’s normally played.

  19. #19 James
    December 2, 2006

    “Death Cab For Cutie” always bugged me ’cause none of the fans of the band that I’ve run into actually knew where the name came from — it’s a song by the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band (better known for “I’m The Urban Spaceman” and the music Neil Innes did for Monty Python).

    For that matter, very few “Ned’s Atomic Dustbin” fans (that I’ve encountered) seem to realize that the name comes from a Goon Show episode title (classic Peter Sellers material).

    (And, as mentioned, “Toad the Wet Sprocket” came from a Monty Python sketch featuring silly rock band names.)

  20. #20 JP
    December 2, 2006

    The list met my high expectations for something appearing in Maxim magazine. These are certainly not even close to the worst band names ever. It’s just a bunch of vain attempts at being clever.

    I agree with much or Orac’s list (except …And You Will Know Us By The Trail of Dead and Godspeed You Black Emperor! which I think are brilliant names)

    Most band names don’t bother me although I have always thought Ass Ponies was a terrible name for a band. Well, local cover bands often have really bad names too.

  21. #21 Interrobang
    December 2, 2006

    I can’t believe Hootie and the Blowfish didn’t make this list somewhere. They have the distinction of not only having a wretched name, but also of being a totally wretched band.

    (Now I’m going to have to go off and listen to Jello Biafra’s “Names for Bands” sketch again…)

  22. #22 Davis
    December 2, 2006

    soundgarden

    Soundgarden took their name from an art installation in Seattle’s Magnuson Park. (Its proximity to NOAA has made it annoyingly inaccessible since 9/11, so after 6 years in Seattle I’ve still never actually seen it.)

  23. #23 Jurjen S.
    December 3, 2006

    While I could see someone making a case that the Crash Test Dummies and A-ha are silly names for bands, the writer took some liberties with reality for the sake of making a couple of cheap shots which were not so much funny as just plain mean.

    It’s sad when the act of coming up with a name as shoddy as Crash Test Dummies zaps a band’s creative juices so much that they’re left with calling one of their songs “Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm”.
    There’s a story to how the song got that way. Brad Roberts was playing a draft version of the song to the producer, and because they hadn’t written the lyrics for the chorus yet, he just hummed that part. Then Roberts said “We still need to write those lyrics, obviously” and the producer said “Actually, it sounds kinda catchy the way it is,” so they left it like that. And hey, it sold, didn’t it?

    As the group collectively scratches its head and wonders why they died after one hit, one of them will no doubt exclaim, “A-ha! I’ve got it! It’s because of our name!”
    I’m pretty certain A-ha had way more than one hit, and they certainly didn’t die after “Take On Me”; they released an album this year, they still tour, and while their following may be comparatively small, it’s dedicated. In short, they’re still making a living from their music, which is no mean achievement for a band which as been in existence for twenty years. (And no, I’m not an A-ha fan, though admittedly my wife is.)

  24. #24 sophia8
    December 3, 2006

    I see that nobody’s mentioned Gaye Bykers on Acid yet.
    So I will.

  25. #25 Orac
    December 3, 2006

    Hey, I actually like the name Gaye Bykers on Acid. All it’s missing are a couple of umlauts here and there.

  26. #26 Kristjan Wager
    December 3, 2006

    “Gaüe Bükers on Acid”?

  27. #27 Justin Moretti
    December 3, 2006

    Two that I don’t dare type out in full.

    Chewbacca’s C**k (think synonym for rooster for the censored word). I’m sure George Lucas doesn’t know about this one, nor would he wish to.

    Anal C*** (bad word for girlie bits) – whose musical repertoire contains the beautifully named “I Gave Your Kid AIDS So I Could Watch It Die.”

  28. #28 Kathleen Seidel
    December 3, 2006

    When I saw the title of this post, the very first name that came into my mind was Limp Bizkit. I guess great minds think alike.

    Years ago I saw a poster for a bluegrass band called “Hair in the Drain.” Gross.

  29. #29 HCN
    December 3, 2006

    Davis,

    I have heard from someone who works at NOAA that people can actually access the public art on their section of the old Naval Air Base Seattle (Sand Point). You just have to enter through the main gate, show your ID and state why you want to check it out. I believe you can also buy food and drink in their cafeteria. But, to be truthful… I have not tried to check it out.

    It has been a while, but I used to wander through there when my kids were small. It was neat to sit beneath the pipes and listen to the haunting sounds. I also did go to the cafeteria.

    I see from the Wikipedia page that the pipes may need work.

    Anyway, my votes for bad band names are:

    From First to Last
    Presidents of the United States
    Gnarls Barkley (I also hate the the song “Crazy” because it reminds me of “Kung Fu Fever”)

  30. #30 Crimson King
    December 3, 2006

    Dogs Die In Hot Cars = worst band name ever, or best band name ever? The jury is still out.

  31. #31 Greg P
    December 3, 2006

    While researching for a talk I was going to give on demyelinating neuropathies, I found that there is/was a band called Nodes of Ranvier. Their website gives no clue as to how they decided on that name.

    They do claim to have joined the stage with bands such as Bleeding Through, Living Sacrifice, Misery Signals, Bury Your Dead, Every Time I Die, Glass Casket, and REFLUX.

  32. #32 Kathleen Seidel
    December 4, 2006

    For those who ARE Gnarls Barkley fans ;-), check out this inspired mashup — “Crazy” + Prince’s “Sign o’ the Times.”

    And here’s an amateur video of Bowie introducing Gnarls Barkley back in September.

  33. #33 Nick
    December 4, 2006

    You forgot the other project by the Godspeed You! Black Emperor folks, The Silver Mt Zion Memorial Orchestra & Tra-La-La Band. Apparently, naming a band in less than seven syllables is anathema to those guys.

  34. #34 tikihead
    December 4, 2006

    There was a band in the eighties called “The Very Idea of Fucking Hitler.”

    That one always makes me giggle, so I can’t decide if it’s truly a bad name.

  35. #35 James
    December 4, 2006

    I have, somewhere, an album by a Japanese noise band called “Acid Mothers Temple and the Melting Paraiso Underground Freakout”. But then, I find insanely long band names hilarious and awesome. Particularly when they include the phrase “Tra-La-La Band”.

    I would listen to “The Very Idea of Fucking Hitler”.

  36. #36 sophia8
    December 5, 2006

    Early British punk bands had some great names – Throbbing Gristle, the Buzzcocks, The Slits (an all-female band, rather obviously…). And the X-Ray Specs had a female singer called Poly Styrene.

  37. #37 apalazzo
    December 7, 2006

    Ah, it seems like some of you have discovered the crazy world of Montreal based rock bands with crazy names. Here’s my favorite: Me Mom & Morgentaler. An awesome ska band. BTW Morgentaler is the name of a famous abortionist.

  38. #38 band
    December 15, 2006

    what about the band name 18 Speed Tranny?

The site is undergoing maintenance presently. Commenting has been disabled. Please check back later!