Archive for the ‘band names’ Category


Rule Two—Lessons Of Rock Success: Establish The Name*

July 8, 2010

We got this band together, the Banana Convention. • Greg, The Brady Bunch

My sporadic, mostly out-of-townish obsession with band names is long-standing. I was once an Academia Nut and with my partner nut, Mike Jager, I keynoted and presented at conferences and wrote curriculum. The Decades Project was one of our curricular creations. We explored history decade by decade, looking for information bypassed by textbooks. In an exercise from The Sixties: A New Twist (This Will Intrigue Students & Teachers), we asked students to create their own name, logo, and look–all sixties’ inspired–for an aspiring rock group, mimicking names like Ball Point Banana and Frosted Suede.

There were plenty of examples since the sixties gave birth to an explosion of imaginative band names that linked unexpected words and phrases: Chocolate Watchband. Electric Prunes. The Peanut Butter Conspiracy. Daisy Overkill. Ultimate Spinach. Strawberry Alarm Clock. Other names I love from this period include:

The Charging Tyrannosaurus of Despair
Frumious Bandersnatch
(a reference to Lewis Carroll’s poem, “Jabberwocky”)
The Only Alternative and His Other Possibilities
Transantlantic Chicken Wicken No. 5

Hmmm indeed.

Beyond the sixties, I love A Cat Born in an Oven Is Not a Cake, Frogs Don’t Cry, Jabbering Trout, Two Cow Garage, and The New Squids on the Dock. And then there’s The Baby Won’t Eat His Corn Dog and People with Chairs Up Their Noses.

This is just a warning. Chicago, Portland, and Washington, D.C., band name stuff is on its way.

You know what I’m going to ask. Just do it! Name your band. And don’t think just because you’ve done this before that you can stop. Before the Beatles became the Beatles, they were the Beat Makers, Johnny and the Moondogs, the Nurk Twins (John and Paul only), the Quarrymen, the Rainbows, Ricky and the Red Streaks, and the Silver Beatles.

In my fantasy, I have a band named Fix Your Own Damned Supper and my first song is called “Unless Your Arms Are Broken, You’ll Have to Wash Your Own Dirty Clothes.” Mothers everywhere will download it. • Comment regarding women’s work at my exhibit, “You & Your Big Mouth: Insight and Irreverence from Irrepressible Women.”

* Thanks to Malcolm McLaren, performer and former manager of the Sex Pistols and the New York Dolls, for the title quotation.


Playing Games With Band Names: “Rendered Useless” As I Explore The “Staggering Depths” Of “Unfallen Heroes” And “The Deep Sea Vents” “Beyond the Red Horizon” With “The Control Freaks.” Stop Me Now.

June 12, 2010

For Friday, June 11, 2010, still on the road and still having problems connecting, although fortunately, not with my brain.

I like nonsense. It wakes up the brain cells. • Dr. Seuss

More band names from Portland, Oregon, entertainment mags to entertain you, along with suggested braindancing activities:

School-related band names: Math the Band (What math-themed songs might they play? Invent the names; write the lyrics.) Doubleplusgood (What other literary allusions would make good band names?) Guidance Counselor (Cliques or other school groups and employees?)

Early morning foodish names: Create your own, inspired by Pancake Breakfast, Brkfst Sndwch, and Breakfast Mountain. Mine are: French Toast, Western Omelet, Overeasy, Huevos Rancheros, TV Dinner, The Spamtones, and The Velveta Underground (definitely a tribute band with recipe-themed tunes). My husband suggests Pigs in a Blanket.

Directives: Create a band name that orders people around like Stick to Your Guns, Bring Me Solace, Explode Into Colors, Raise the Bridges, Cage the Elephant, and Close Your Eyes.

Wordplay: Thuggage and Bearracuda. Create a band name that’s a play on words.

Story creation: Insominac Folklore—choose a band name and write a story to go with it:

A Place to Bury Strangers

The Grave Babies

The Tallest Man on Earth

Old Death Whisper

Indelible Terror

Alien Parachute Man

Crypt of the Grave

Bloody Panda

Kill the Kids

Whispering Tongues

The Closet Monsters

Facing Extinction

Vampire Weekend

I Am the Monster

The Ghost Inside

Game creation: Jar of Lies. What would the rules for this game be?

And one of my all-time favorites: Dragging an Ox through Water. Plus still more mundane names to inspire you: Window Pane, My Morning Jacket, The Sale, and Stimulus Package. Just look around the room you’re sitting in. I see The Mirrors, Ice Bucket, File Folders, Scotch Tape, and Sofa Cushions.

Invent a game to go with the name of a musical group you like. Rolling Stones would probably be an outside game; write its rules.

Still more possibilities from The Simpsons: Steamed Hams, My Cat’s Name Is Mittens, Nerdy Likes His Booky Wook, Fatty Fat Fat Fat, and It Didn’t Die.


You Knew It Was Coming And Here It Is, A Traveling Band Names’ Posting. This Does Not Mean That The Bands Are Traveling, Although They Might Be. But I Am And The Collecting Continues.

June 10, 2010

Some possible band names suggested by quotations from The Simpsons, from the site You’ll Have to Speak Up, I’m Wearing a Towel; I Beat the Smart Kids; Tastes Like Burning; You Don’t Make Friends with Salad; and My Cat’s Breath Smells Like Cat Food.

I am disappointed and frustrated by my fruitless search for band names from the Midwest and the East coast. There was nothing useful in Minneapolis-St. Paul or Chicago and I’ve found nothing in Washington, D.C., although I’m still hopeful and still hunting. Of course, I could go online and find out the names of bands who are active in these areas, but that’s not the way this works. I want to hunt through pages looking for good ones. Otherwise it’s a chore and not a game. I don’t need more work in my life.

Fortunately for me—unfortunately for you—I found a bonanza in Portland, Oregon, before we left the train station there, and I’ve finally had a chance to go through the entertainment magazines and record some favorites. Today, I’m just going to share a few, but more band name games are coming at you soon. I know you can’t wait. These are from the Portland [Oregon] Mercury for May 27, 2010, and Portland’s Willamette Week for May 26, 2010.


Ghost Town Waltz

Million Brazillions

Throwback Suburbia

Yogoman Burning Band

Betrayed by Weakness

Tiny Knives

The Hand that Bleeds

Dead Winter Carpenters

Deformity and Gorbachev

Hairspray Blues


Puke ‘n’ Rally

The Beaker Heads

Drive-By Truckers

Several of my favorites also fall into the category of mundane names, making the common ironically amusing: The Student Loan, Hurt Bird, Shopping Cart, First Aid Kit, Cheap Eats, and Night Gown (although I believe that nightgown is the correct spelling for sleeping apparel so this may refer to some sparkly and spangled fancy dress worn by a lady singer).

What mundane name would you give your band?

And more from The Simpsons: Commander Cuckoo-Bananas, To The Beemobile, Flaming Moes, Purple Is A Fruit, and Just My Bones…And Organs.


Perhaps You Have Noticed That I Am Fond Of Excessively Lengthy Titles And Thus It Will Come As No Surprise That Today I Celebrate Some Bands With Sesquipedalian* Names

May 26, 2010

Empty heads are very fond of long titles.
• German proverb (Yes, yes, I know that this proverb likely refers to the kinds of titles bestowed on people like The Grand Poobah of Illuminated Graciousness and Seriousness of Purpose Related to Quantifying Brilliance, but I still like it.)

Some band names are brief. Get on with the music, they say; quit fooling around trying to decide what to name the band. Play. There were plenty of them in my recent collection, names like Bodybox, Greenhorse, Sledgeback, Widower, Thousands, Trainwreck, and Neutralboy.

There were also many delightful and sometimes random two-word combinations (perhaps those naming the band put words into a bag and drew them out until a particular combination was found amusing, although some things, like frog eyes and tea cozies, are examples of real life stuff that’s just inherently funny): Tuxedo Man, Smile Brigade, Tea Cozies, Killer Canary, Distant Relatives, Frog Eyes, Wooden Bison, Clarissa’s Weird (Isn’t everyone?), Nervous Energy, and Quiet Life.

But wait, there’re more: Campfire OK, Reflection Eternal, Eclectic Approach, Con Dad (What’s the story here?), Diego’s Umbrella, Hey Marseilles (Is this an indication that the band would like to greet the citizens of the largest port city in France or are they simply taking delight in the rhyme?), Strong Killings, Mother’s Anger, Tough Tittie, Planet Booty, Unmanned Drone, Afternoon American, and The Basements (Let’s name the band after our practice space?!), as well as ((Low Hums)) (((which I’m not sure how to pronounce, but maybe I just don’t get the purpose of the (()) ))).

Then there are the names that truly delighted me this time, the ones that really are more: more words, more syllables, more letters. I imagine these groups being introduced and it brings a smile to my face:

Super Happy Story Time Land
We Wrote the Book on Connections
Girls Just Wanna Have Prom
The Scarlet Tree All Stars
My Life with the Thrill Kill Cut
The Pioneers of Prime Time TV

Activate your brain. Give it a shot. It’s today’s braindance: neurobics for your gray matter.

Create your own band names using one word, two words, and at least five words. Imagine that you’re being queried by Rolling Stone and the interviewer wants to know why you chose those particular names. What will you say?

I’m naming my band Things They Say When They Really Want To Say Something Else. It’s an homage to my parents. Sometimes I wish they’d just yell at me instead of always being so reasonable.
• Student response, 1997

* Sesquipedalian describes long words, having many syllables, but can also refer to sentences that are long and ponderous, or, in this case, I’m using it to describe band names comprised of many words.


There Are Certain Inevitabilities In The World: Death and Taxes, Sunrise and Sunset, Orange Plaid Culottes and Lime Green Knee Sox, and Trip Out Of Town and Band Names

May 25, 2010

I love a foam nose. I swear I do.
• Kelly Ripa on an April 19, 2010, television promo for
Live with Regis and Kelly

Kelly Ripa loves foam noses and I love band names, and while I have my own private stash of round red nose-enhancing baubles, I have to say that band names blow noses out of the water. (OMG, that sentence was really fun to write! That probably means that I should delete it immediately since you know what THEY say about anything that you are amused by in your own writing. It probably isn’t as good as you think and you are well advised to delete it. No way. Suck it, THEY; this one is staying! OMG, I used suck it and a semi-colon in the same sentence. I truly have reached some nirvana of posting. I’d better write that bucket list I’ve been meaning to get around to so I can check this one off.)

But back to business. Band names. I was in Seattle and picked up the Seattle Weekly for May 19-25, 2010. I’m sure there were some good articles in it. I probably could have learned a lot from reading them. But I didn’t. Instead I made a long list of band names and they’ll be coming at you as I think of clever and no-so-clever ways to use them.

Today, I shall use them as examples of non sequiturs and thus double my pleasure by interweaving a bit of a lecture on vocabulary with an opportunity to wallow in band name delights. What about your pleasure, you say? This is all about me. You’re just along for the ride.

Loosely defined, a non sequitur is the pairing of things that do not relate, coming from non (not) and sequi (to follow). A non sequitur is kindasorta the opposite of a cliché—pairing the completely unexpected and nonsensical instead of the predictable. It can also refer to serious—and seriously flawed—arguments, but we’re on the non sequiturious band name trail, one that was well-traveled by those pioneers of the sixties who left behind a garden of delights: think Ballpoint Banana, for example.

You can find many of these by Googling®. I’d repeat some of them here, but irreverence and scatology (look it up) abound and I’ve already said “suck it” twice (oops, three times) here, so I’d best behave myself.

Gazebos of Destruction is a non sequitur. So is Blue Light Curtain (Is this where the K-Mart special illumination hides when not in use?). I like The Holy Tailfeathers and Civilized Animals too, and The Exploding High Fives creates an appealing mind picture.

More names from Seattle tomorrow.

Baffle and confuse fellow travelers on the road of life today. I am certain that as you write your own non sequiturs and try them out on your friends, three dogs will eat daffodils in the dusty lane alongside the old lady’s house.

My band would be named The Careless Curtains of Calico, a name I chose for its nonsensicality paired with its appealing alliteration.
• Response to the big-ole-whatcha-gonna-name-your-band query, 2005


More Band Names Found Without Even Leaving the Valley I Live In! My Excitement Knows No Bounds As I Peruse a Long Lost Newspaper and Find Tainted Love, Broken Social Scene, and Wasted Days.

May 11, 2010

I have fallen in love with American names, the sharp, gaunt names that never get fat.
• Stephen Vincent Benet

I am easily amused. I have said so before and I do not lie. At least not about this. Please do not ask me if I like your new purple paisley ascot or if that dress with a gigantic ruffle around your midsection makes your you-know-what look big. No. And yes. That is the truth and that is what I will be thinking, but it is not necessarily what I will say. I am likely to admire your choices. Who am I to rain on someone else’s paisley or ruffly parade?

I am truly delighted to find the pink newspaper—the Datebook Pink Section of the San Francisco Chronicle from March 7, 2004—that I’ve saved as part of my band name Collectory project. Many such savings have been lost to household moves and origami projects. (If you’re practicing origami folds, I highly recommend newspaper—it’s big and it’s cheap and it folds easily. A double sheet makes hats that fit children AND adults!) Of course, I can search the internet and find band names, but that’s too easy, although coming across names like Me First and the Gimmeegimmees does make these searches tempting.

I am intrigued by what I find. How did Curse of the Birthmark get its name? Soft Pink Truth is appealing and Rubberside Down’s amusing. Tristan Prettyman sounds like someone who’d date Barbie. As a robot collector, I find The Secret Machine, Head Automatica, and Ima Robot particularly entrancing.

Various artists have their sidekicks in The Pink and I write down a few: The Fly-Rite Boys, The Saddle-Ites, The Bad-Ass Chicken Bones, The Pimp Jones Luv Orchestra, The Voom. And I wonder, what would I be? Nancy and the Drews? Pearl and the Onions? Lolly and the Pops? Zinn and the FanDells?

This is hard. I can’t settle on anything I love and I wonder if that’s what happens to most bands: deciding on names by default when they get tired of trying to think up the ultimate cleverness.

What would your playalong, singalong posse be named?

Frantic Yogurt.
• Band name on a poster in the movie
Kick-Ass (2010).


Six Words a Teacher Dreads Hearing: “I Bet You Don’t Remember Me.”

April 21, 2010

If you want to win friends make it a point to remember them. If you remember my name, you pay me a subtle compliment: you indicate that I have made an impression on you. Remember my name and you add to my feeling of importance.
• Dale Carnegie

I do try. I’m a teacher. I know names are important. I’ve read plenty of advice about ways to remember names and I can associate Barbara Greene with a tall tree (Barb is a tall gal) that has leaves with pointy edges (barbs!). Trouble is, I’m just as likely to call her Felicia Fir or Martha Maple, since the rationale for such memory devices escapes me pretty quickly, seldom lasting long enough to actually try them out in real life. I may still see the tree when I look into Barbara’s eyes, but I won’t remember why.

If you want to win friends, here’s my advice, and it runs contrary to Mr. Carnegie’s comments: Don’t make people play guessing games when you run into them in the supermarket or find yourself behind them in the long line waiting to ride Pirates of the Caribbean at Disneyland. Introduce yourself. Don’t say, “You probably don’t remember me.” Don’t ask if you are remembered. Don’t do anything that will make the other person feel vaguely guilty or off balance when s/he can’t immediately recall who you are or where s/he knows you from. And for goodness sake, don’t be hurt or feel diminished or take it personally if your name doesn’t immediately jump off someone else’s tongue.

Say, “Hi. I’m Joey Albers-McMinnville and I was in your ninth grade English class eighteen years ago at Herman Melville High (Go, Whalers!!).” Let the conversation move along from there. You might even go on to provide context: “I was the one who accidentally destroyed the class set of Fahrenheit 451 with my book-burning demonstration.” Or perhaps not.

People change. When I see a former student at Wal-Mart or Target or Costco and s/he is fifteen years older than the last time we were together and now has children as old as s/he was then, I’m clueless. When I encounter students from five years ago, I almost always remember their faces, but often not their names, and sometimes, not even the context (which course they were in) of our relationship.

Be kind. Take people off the hook. Don’t feel bad if someone can’t immediately recall who you are. Even smart people can’t remember everything. Enrico Fermi, the Italian physicist known for his contributions to nuclear physics and the development of quantum theory, once said, “If I could remember the names of all these particles, I’d be a botanist.”

Some people remember names easily. Others do not. And even teachers who are good at learning and remembering names in the moment may forget them as years pass.

There are three things I always forget: names, faces. . .and the third I can’t remember.
• Italo Svevo

What do you have trouble remembering? What strategies do you use to aid your memory?

If I could remember your name, I’d ask you where I left my keys.
• Bumper sticker wisdom