The Union Jacks, Euphoria, Cosy, Sandking, Rose Motel. First things first, an admission: I’ve been in my fair share of badly named bands (although, in my defence, The Union Jacks only consisted of me, my sister and my dad, and I was about ten). I’m well aware of how hard it is to find a decent and original name and I never came up with anything better myself. I’d like to think that if I did, though, it wouldn’t be as bad as The Cast Of Cheers.
The introduction in my inbox to this lot today feels like a fresh and final scrape of the pockmarked barrel bottom, a clear sign the end of the road for band names is just round the bend. Where next, The Key Grip From The Inbetweeners Movie? Pret A Manger’s Shift Manager?
To be fair, The Cast Of Cheers isn’t that bad a name (and they’re a pretty decent band). Some probably think it’s a genius choice. It fits in that category of so-bad-it‘s-good, shifting from side to side on the terrible / funny seesaw. Like that band called simply :(. Genius. Or, if you look at it another way, brain-meltingly stupid. Dananananakroyd, step right up.
My own personal band name Room 101 would be stuffed with 36 Crazyfists, Cerebral Ballzy, Bowling For Soup, Gay Dad, The Butthole Surfers, Train and (shudder while you say it) Ctrl Alt Delete.
Other picks from the office include Priya Elan’s choices of Ozric Tentacles and Arctic Monkeys, and Alan Woodhouse’s nods to Limp Bizkit, Beady Eye, Hootie And The Blowfish and Test Icicles. And The Beatles, but that’s a whole nother can of 60’s worms. Luke Lewis, meanwhile, set me onto a band called Stalaggh. The final ‘g’ and ‘h’ stand for “global holocaust”, apparently. Nice.
What would your picks be? Here’s a few more to get you going.
The nonsensical: The History Of Apple Pie. Thirty Odd Foot Of Grunts. Dogs Die In Hot Cars. Ken Dod’s Dad’s Dog’s Dead. The Pigeon Detectives. Dinosaur Pile-Up.
The just downright annoying: Hoobastank. Chumbawumba. Toad The Wet Sprocket. Joe Lean And The Jing Jang Jong. Hamfatter. Sixpence None The Richer. Try saying any of those names three times in a row without punching yourself in the forehead.
The needlessy verbose: Meanwhile Back In Communist Russia. …And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead. They Came From The Stars, I Saw Them. I Love You But I’ve Chosen Darkness. Everybody Was In The French Resistance… Now. Some of those make me want to start a band called I Read Nietzsche, Constructed A Nail Bomb, And Staked Out Camden’s Barfly.
The concise can’t-be-arsed school of names: Elbow. Keane. Travis. Bush. (You can debate among yourselves the relative merits of Blur, Pulp, Oasis, Ride and Suede.)
The oh-so-culturally-ironic: The Mr T Experience. Natalie Portman’s Shaved Head. Gay For Johnny Depp.
The annoyingly arch: The The. The Band. The Music.
The puntastic, aka Sub Editor’s Choice: The Rock Of Travolta.
The so-interesting-we-invent-our-own-spelling-and-grammar: Wooden Shjips. The Weeknd. 5ive. !!!. The one that really grates, though, is tUnE-yA-rDs, an artist so unpredictable and unique you just never know whether she’s going upper or lower case next. Called Merrill in real life.
See also, those bands who abuse punctuation for kicks, like Oh No! Oh My and the eternally undecisive Panic! At The Disco. The real crown of cack in this category, though, should be placed on the heads of (həd) p.e. (above). That kind of name should have them taken outside next to Clarkson and shot.
The desperately controversial: Anal Cunt. Selfish Cunt (pictured). Kunt And The Gang. Bands in this category let off for good behaviour and decent tunes: Holy Fuck, Fuck Buttons.
To follow this shit shower, this festival of fetid monikers, what about the best band name? What’s your favourite? Tribes is good. Warpaint’s not bad. Comets On Fire (RIP) is another favourite. My top choice has always been, perhaps obviously but with good reason, Nirvana.
So, 1) what’s your favourite band name? 2) what’s the worst band name you’ve ever heard? 3) what’s the worst band name you’ve ever HAD?