Crazy Band Names

The AWESOME! page has random music stuff that I think is cool. You never know what you will find here!

I always find it interesting to learn the history of how a band gets its name. I thought it would be interesting to write about some of the craziest band names ever.

I decided to peruse my music – looking at my 500+ vinyl records, 300+ CDs, and 25,000+ songs on ITunes. Here’s some of the most interesting/weirdest band names in my collection:

Alien Ant Farm – the name was derived from a daydream from the band’s guitarist about the planet being seeded by entities from other dimensions. Claim to fame – a cover of Michael Jackson’s Smooth Criminal.

Blue Öyster Cult – the name came from a poem in the 60s – Blue Öyster Cult was a group of aliens who had secretly assembled to guide Earth’s history. Claim to fame – hit singles (Don’t Fear) The Reaper, Godzilla, and Burnin’ For You.

Butthole Surfers – they changed their name numerous times early in their career. They had a song called Butthole Surfers, and at a concert, the guy introducing them forgot their name, and introduced them as the name of the song. Claim to fame – one hit wonder Pepper.

Dead Kennedys – punk rock band purposely named to be provocative. The band’s frontman claimed that it was not meant to insult the Kennedy family, but rather to bring attention to the end of the American dream. Claim to fame – several tasteless singles that charted in the UK in the early 80s.

Fine Young Cannibals – the name was inspired by the 1960 film All the Fine Young Cannibals. Claim to fame – #1 hit She Drives Me Crazy in 1988.

Goo Goo Dolls – the name came from an advertisement in True Detective magazine for a toy called a Goo Goo Doll. Claim to fame – several big hits on the Alternative chart, especially Iris and Slide. 

Hoobastank – the lead singer’s brother lived in Germany near a street named Hooba Street. The singer couldn’t pronounce it correctly, referring to it as Hoobstank. Claim to fame – 2003’s single The Reason made it to #2 on the Hot 100, and #1 on the Alternative charts.

Jethro Tull – named after the 18th century inventor of the seed drill. Claim to fame – over 50 years of progressive rock stardom.

Kajagoogoo – randomly named after the first sounds that a baby makes. Claim to fame – one hit wonder Too Shy from 1983.

Limp Bizkit – named by frontman Fred Durst, who wanted a name that would repulse listeners. Claim to fame – two #1 albums and several top 10 hits on the Alternative charts in the late 90s and early 00s, including a cover of The Who’s Behind Blue Eyes.

Oingo Boingo – named after a theatrical troupe called The Mystic Knights of Oingo Boingo, whose name was inspired by a fictional secret society on the Amos ‘N’ Andy TV series called The Mystic Knights of the Sea. Claim to fame – 8 studio albums from 1981 to 1994, with 1 minor hit – Weird Science, from 1985.

Pink Floyd – named by original guitarist Syd Barrett, when he discovered another band using their original name of The Tea Set. Barrett chose Pink Floyd from 2 blues musicians that he liked, Pink Anderson and Floyd Council. Claim to fame – one of the most successful bands in music history, with sales of over 250 million records since 1965.

Phish – named after the band’s drummer, Jon Fishman. Claim to fame – jam band immortality.

Radiohead – the name comes from the song Radio Head by The Talking Heads. Claim to fame – 3 Grammy awards, their single Creep made it to #2 on the Alternative chart in 1992.

Squeeze – named from The Velvet Underground’s 1973 album Squeeze. Claim to fame – my favorite new wave band of all time, with their biggest single Tempted from 1981.

Stone Temple Pilots – inspired by STP Motor Oil stickers from their youth. They considered several STP acronyms, until settling on Stone Temple Pilots. Claim to fame – 3 multi-platinum albums, 7 songs that reached #1 on the Mainstream Rock chart, including Vasoline and Interstate Love Song. 

Three Dog Night – the name comes from the sleeping arrangements of indigenous Australians, who would sleep with 3 dogs on nights that were freezing cold. Claim to fame – fabulous vocals, 3 Hot 100 #1 hits in the early 70s – Joy To The World, Mama Told Me Not To Come, and Black and White.

Toad the Wet Sprocket – the name comes from a nonsensical comedy sketch callled “Rock Notes” by Monty Python. Claim to fame – several alternative hits in the early 90s, including 1994’s Fall Down, which topped the Alternative chart.

Violent Femmes – the bass player for the band came up with the name at the spur of the moment when he told someone that his brother was in a punk band, and the bassist was asked what was the name of his brother’s band was. Claim to fame – the song Blister In The Sun.

Here is Alien Ant Farm’s version of Smooth Criminal – a little different than Michael Jackson’s, I’d say!



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