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I Went to California and All I Brought Back Was Some Absolutely Awesomely Amazing Band Names Like Thousand Dozen Gloves and The Crooning Crabcakes, Five Carved Wooden Masks, Umpteen Books, and Some Other Extremely Odd Stuff

April 3, 2010

Oooh! “Baby in a Straightjacket!” That’s a good band name.
• Rashida Jones,
Parks and Recreation, 2010

Some things are inevitable; I simply cannot resist hunting for nifty band names. Of course, I could do this by Googling®, but that’s not nearly as entertaining and doesn’t allow me to collect names over time. I have several decades worth of intriguing appellations. Many thanks to LA Weekly, March 12-18, 2010, for this round.

One category I especially like is names that possibly provide a hint of somebody in the band’s life outside of music: Butcher’s Apprentice, The Shoe Salesmen, Staplers Can Kill, and The Health Club. Here’s some real ad copy celebrating Brute Force’s former occupation: “It’s Brute Force! Kick Ass Heavy Metal Band, featuring Slammer, Jammer, and Will Wallner. These guys are ex-pro wrestlers! Now they play heavy metal music and are out for Blood!” Whoopee!

Some bands may just want to sound bad (not literally, of course, or at least bad in a good way): You Say Party We Say Die takes the lead, followed by Yearlong Disaster, The Pretty Reckless, Crime Wave, Kill the Academy, Three Bad Jacks, Murder By Death, Harmful If Swallowed, Cold Blue Rebels, Broken Decency, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Masked Villain, Vengeance for the Fallen, Too Rude, and Rock & Roll Suicides.

Others take a softer and gentler approach: Family of the Year, The Pain of Being Pure at Heart, Softsilence, Greenland Whalefishers, Whisper Into the Roar, Sleepy Sun, Learning Music, Sunset and Silence, Residual Echoes, Name of Stars, and Choir of Young Believers.

And then there are the messages, some comprehensible and some not so clear: Think About Life, Swallow the Sun, Activate the Intuition, Pet the Music, Protect the Dry Fishes, and Wait Until Never.

If your band’s name were a message, what would it say?*

Names are an important key to what a society values. Anthropologists recognize naming as one of the chief methods for imposing order on perception.
• David S. Slawson

* Reminder: Band name exercises are braindances, possible ways to break the ice with a study group. This is a loose connection to student success, I know, but I’m happy anyway.

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