What’s your Band Name?

The Doors

Back in my overconfident university days I played drums in two different bands.

What I remember most from that period, apart from the jokes about drummers being people who hang around real musicians, was all the lugging and setting up of equipement I had to do. Much, much more than my fellow band members. ‘That’s the lot of the drummer’ I told myself, ‘especially one who plays a double-bass drum’. It still didn’t stop me wishing some days I was the group’s harmonicist.

One of those early wide-eyed, group attempts at fame was called THE GROOVEDIGGERS (later renamed DEMENTIA 13 after the 1963 horror movie of the same name, a remake landing in cinemas in 2017) and the other, THE JIVING GARGOYLES. I know what you’re maybe thinking. With names like those, the odds were against us from the beginning, right? Wrong! A quick glance at names of mega-conquering musical acts down through the years can show only one thing: names given to bands are the absolute last predictor of future success.

I got thinking on this topic after a recent visit to my local library. (One day I’d like to be able to write how I got thinking on a topic after a recent trip to the ski fields of St. Moritz or the sandy beaches of Belize, but for now, it’s my local library). I spotted a book about the etymologies (that’s right, etymologies!) of band names. Forty-five minutes later and now seated in a council provided leather armchair next to a sign that read “Reading seriously harms idiocy”, I was still leafing through its pages, proving those rumours of me having a short attention span are completely, OK mostly, unfounded.

Rock band names

There’s been some well documented stories over the years of how certain bands got their names. ABBA was an acronym of the band member’s first names: Agnetha, Benny, Bjorn and Anni-Frid. AC/DC came about after Angus and Malcolm Young’s sister saw the letters on the back of a sewing machine. KISS was thought up by Paul Stanley one day while driving around with fellow band mates in a car. Drummer Peter Criss had previously been in a band called LIPS. DURAN DURAN used to play at a club in Birmingham called Barbarella’s. They took their title from the name of a character in the 1968 movie Barbarella.     Don’t believe me? Click here..

And as for music’s most famous ever band, THE BEATLES, theirs was originally conceived as a homage of sorts to one of their favourite musicians of the time Buddy Holly and his band THE CRICKETS.

band names

Of course there’s never been any shortage of musical groups not afraid to embrace the ridiculous in what they called themselves. Think actor Russell Crow’s old outfit THIRTY ODD FOOT OF GRUNTS or even the ultimate exercise in ironic-naming, the recently reformed British alternative rock group THE THE. With their oddly placed question mark, PANIC! AT THE DISCO (2004 – Present) also deserve mention in this category.
Apparently the lads decided to drop the exclamation mark in 2008 when they released their Beatles-inspired Pretty. Odd. (Punctuation written here as it appeared on the album cover). The fans revolted and the exclamation was reinstalled.

This book had me recalling bands I’d long forgotton, one example being the 80’s British synth-pop new wavers THE THOMPSON TWINS. If you were around back then you probably realise none of the group members were twins or named Thompson. Or related. Instead they derived their name from a character in the original comic strip The Adventures of Tin Tin.

My prize though for the weirdest band name with the most interesting origin story goes to the American alternate rock band TOAD THE WET SPROCKET (1986 – Present). Back when I was teenager there was a Monty Python sketch called “Rock Notes” that hilariously parodied the idea of ridiculous band names. TOAD THE WET SPROCKET took their name from one of the made-up bands named in this sketch.    Listen to it here

the the

So now I’m asking – what would be your band name?

Peak out from behind the tree you’ve been standing behind these last few minutes and drop your idea into the comments box at the bottom – wacky, freak-show worthy, wantonly pretentious or Wembley Stadium headline act sounding – I’m not fussed.

If you get stuck for inspiration you can always resort to the ‘ol DAVE MATTHEWS BAND (1991- Present) formula for group naming. Or… you can use an automatic band name generator like the one found     here     or    here     or       here .


Ps. In a week that also saw the passing away of 1960’s hippie cult leader Charles Manson and hopefully also the pop-culture phenomena that surrounded him while he was alive, came the sad news for tennis fans of the death of former 1998 Wimbledon champion Jana Novotna at the age of just 49. During her 14 year career she won 100 titles (24 in singles and 76 in doubles) and reached a career high ranking of #2 in the world (#1 ranking for doubles). She was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 2005.

CapturePss. Speaking of sports people, local boxer Jeff Horn now has a biography on the bookshelves. The front cover banner-line says it all – My journey from bullied schoolboy to World Champion.” 

Jeff Horn

Psss. Your bonus read this week is a little story for anyone who enjoys cupcakes.

Taste it HERE



53 thoughts on “What’s your Band Name?

  1. Glen, I was rather infamously part of an unofficial “band” at our local pub in London in the early 90’s. We proudly called ourselves “The Tequila Gutter Rats”

    Liked by 2 people

    • That name just reeks of class.
      Which is not to say had I been in London in the early 90’s within shouting distance of that fine drinking establishment I wouldn’t have gone to see you and no doubt probably enjoyed the experience.

      Liked by 1 person

    • You may be pleased to know I’ve nominated STANDBY CRISIS as an early contender for the COMPLETE CRACKUP AWARD aka TOO FUNNY AWARD given its context-rich back story.

      Ps.Bumps in the road on the Canberra Tour?
      115 schoolkids away on a five-day interstate trip?
      What, besides sent messages from a smuggled contraban I-Pad, could possibly go wrong?

      Liked by 1 person

    • Glad someone else remembers tennis great Jana Novotna.

      In some ways, she ‘ll be remembered more for her loss in the 1993 Wimbledon final when she cried tenderly on the shoulder of the Duchess of Kent during the post-match trophy presentation.However five years later she redeemed that loss by winning the title on exactly the same court.

      By all accounts from those who knew her off the court, Jana’s personality was manifest in her style. All lightness and grace and elegant efficiency. (This was before the rise of the wear-your-earplugs ‘grunters’ in Women’s Pro tennis). She was considered by many to be the most skilled net player of her generation.

      And yes, 49 is an unacceptably young age to pass away.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Not sure anyone else will understand this reference to my two years teaching in the Torres Straits (for those readers in other countries, the Torres Straits is a group of inhabited and uninhabited islands at the very most northern tip of Australia before you get to Papua New Guinea) but yes, this contribution from you Bryan offers a certain cultural heritage nuance to a band name which I admit to quite liking.

    Also, yours was the 24th comment received (previous record for a single post on SCENIC WRITER’S SHACK was 23 back in June) so thankyou royally for sending it in grand fashion into the record books!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. As Fonzie might have said “Cool-amundo”!

    Just on the HAPPY DAYS thing Kathy, I was watching an old episode the other day on Channel 11. It’s the one that features an appearance by singer Suzi Quatro playing a character named Leather Tuscadero (niece of rally car driver Pinky Tuscadero). In the episode (actually a double episode two-parter) Leather and her band play at Al’s Diner but one of her backing singers can’t perform so Joanie (Cunningham) steps in to fill the slot.

    I noted with interest the name of Leather Tuscedero’s fictional band in the show is LEATHER AND THE SUEDES. No use trying to hide the fact I’m a child of the 70’s.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Does it count that I once went out with the lead singer from a band called “Lord Henry’s Gear”? I even had their band logo plastered all over my bedroom wall. Never did hear them play though!!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I’ll pitch in Grand Funk Avenue.

    Obviously part of the etymology is in deference to GASS from where so many of us have hailed, but can anyone work out the other side of its etymology?

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Was wondering when you’d deign to kick in with a comment big fella.
    In regard to implied meanings for the band name you just nominated, are we talking ‘funk’ as in ‘things are in a bit of a funk’ at the moment (‘moment’ covering the last two years)?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Actually the etymology is far less contemporary than I’d care to admit Glen. I’m referring to a band that went by the name of Grand Funk Railroad. I’ve no idea what they sung, let alone what they sounded like. Somehow they were big enough to end up in a Rock Band chewing gum card collection set, similar to the football cards etc. This collection goes back to some time in the seventies. Somehow I remember the band name, but nothing else.

      It came up recently only as this past week I went to a house warming at Robina of a childhood friend from Sydney. He has just moved up. Our friendship goes back 53 years! He as playing and singing along to a number of 70’s songs we used to like back then. James Taylor, Boz Scaggs, Eagles, Neil Young etc. At one point my friend Jon announced the worst song ever in Australian music history. It was performed by a band called The Noughts. I didn’t remember them. Must have missed that Countdown episode. The name of the band impressed me more than the song, which made me think of other oh-so-hip band names like Grand Funk Railroad, who I still don’t recall in terms of their music.

      With the tradewind of curiosity providing a gentle tailwind, I’ve been to YouTube. Yep, I still don’t recall their music. They did have Locomotion, but I don’t know if that song originated with them. My curiosity doesn’t push that hard for me to go to Wiki to find out more. 🙂

      Perhaps Joseph asking me to turn the music down says it all?

      Maybe I had to be there to really get them?

      If I had been there, would I then not remember?

      Too many questions….

      Liked by 1 person

      • I swear I’m not making this up retrospectively Rog but as soon as you posted that band name yesterday of GRAND FUNK AVENUE what immediately came to mind at the speed of thought was the 1970’s American rock band GRAND FUNK RAILROAD.

        As to THE NOUGHTS, I too missed that episode of COUNTDOWN (and I’m pretty sure I saw just about every show!)


  7. If you can’t be inappropriate on your weekend on this blog, where can you be inappropriate I ask.
    Inappropriate is fun!
    Crumpet is fun!
    Purple crumpet?
    Can’t say I’ve ever sampled that but there’s always a first time…
    (I match your elipsis Jenny and raise you one more)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Alright, let’s make it a double-headline act with Michelle’s THE ORANGE FRAPPES and your CANDY CRUSHERS, along with my RED CORDIALS in support. We’re aiming for the ‘Hannah Montana’ Miley Cyrus era of 13 yr old’s as the fan base.

      And JIGSAW?
      He was rather devishly ingenius in the SAW movies wasn’t he?

      Liked by 1 person

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