Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Band Names Origin


You have to like that name because that will be what people will remember you with and call you by. Here are some of the stories behind band names:

  • 3 Doors Down — 3 Doors Down started out with drummer/vocalist Brad Arnold, bassist Todd Harrell and guitarist Matt Roberts. As the band decided to tour outside of their hometown of Escatawpa, Mississippi and into Foley, Alabama, they came up with their official name as they saw a building with a sign with most of its letters fallen off the sign read "Doors Down." since at the time they started out with 3 band members the name stuck and called themselves 3 Doors Down.

  • 311 – 311 is an Omaha, Nebraska, police code for indecent exposure. One rainy day, 311 bassist P-Nut and some friends went skinny dipping in a public pool. They were apprehended by police. One of P-Nut’s friends, Jim Watson, was arrested, cuffed (naked), and taken home to his parents. He was issued a citation for a code 311 (indecent exposure). The band found the incident amusing, so they based their name on it.

  • AC/DC — Malcolm and Angus Young developed the idea for the band's name after their sister seeing "AC/DC" on an electric sewing machine,"why not AC/DC"

  • Aerosmith — Name invented by the band's drummer Joey Kramer

  • Alice Cooper — Alice Cooper was a band before one of its members started a solo career under the same name. Allegedly, Alice Cooper was the name of a spirit members of the band came in contact with through a ouija, though the frontman has also claimed that he wanted their name to contrast with their sound, and Alice Cooper sounds like somebody's grandmother.

  • Alice in Chains — The band's name was originally spelt Alice N' Chainz. Layne Staley shed some light on the subject in a Rolling Stone article in 1992: "The name came from a side project of my old group. We were going to have this band that dressed up in drag and played heavy metal as a joke."

  • The All-American Rejects — The "All-Americans" and "the Rejects", both suggested to the band as names, were merged.

  • Audioslave — According to lead guitarist Tom Morello, the name supposedly came to singer Chris Cornell in a vision.

  • Avenged Sevenfold — taken from the Book of Genesis - from the passage "If Cain shall be avenged sevenfold, Truly Lamech seventy and sevenfold."

  • Babymetal — According to Kobametal (the band's producer), the name came to him by revelation (as a "divine message"). It is a play on the words "heavy metal"

  • Bauhaus — Originally named "Bauhaus 1919" after the German Bauhaus art movement, and shortened to "Bauhaus" in 1979.

  • Beastie Boys — A backronym for "Boys Entering Anarchistic States Towards Inner Excellence"

  • The Beatles — The Crickets were cited as an inspiration for the name. Additionally, the misspelling of "beetles" was a play on words, describing the "beat" of the band.

  • The Birthday Massacre — When the band formed in 1999, they were known as Imagica. This name was inspired from the fantasy novel Imajica (1991) by Clive Barker. In 2002, they changed the name to The Birthday Massacre after one of their earlier songs in order to avoid confusion with another group. The song "The Birthday Massacre" was then renamed to "Happy Birthday". According to their vocalist Chibi: "It kind of works well for the music that we're making. Sort of contrasty, you know? Birthday, and massacre. Light, and dark. Cute, and evil"

  • Black Flag — Suggested by guitarist Greg Ginn's brother, Raymond Pettibone, because "if a white flag means surrender, a black flag means anarchy.

  • Black Sabbath — Originally known as Earth, the group wanted to change their name as another group had the same name. The group saw a local cinema playing a film titled Black Sabbath and marvelled that people paid money to be frightened.

  • Blind Melon — Bass player Brad Smith's father used this term to refer to some hippies who lived in a commune near his house.

  • Blink-182 — The "Blink" was thought up by Tom DeLonge when the band consisted of DeLonge, Mark Hoppus, and their friend Scott Raynor (Before "Blink" called themselves Duck Tape). They were forced to change it because an Irish electronica artist was already using that name, so they added “182” to the end.

  • Blur — The band had been known as "Seymour" until they were signed to Food Records in 1990. The label disliked the band name and suggested the group select a new one from a provided list, from which "Blur" was eventually selected

  • Breaking Benjamin — During a live performance, frontman Benjamin Burnley accidentally knocked a microphone over, causing it to crack once it hit the ground. The microphone's owner appeared on stage to say "I'd like to thank Benjamin for breaking my f*cking microphone." 

  • Bring Me the Horizon — From a line said by Captain Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, "Now...bring me that horizon".

  • Butthole Surfers — The band, who previously changed their name at every gig, was performing an earlier version of 1984's "Butthole Surfer" when the announcer forgot the band's name and used the title of the song instead. They were forced to keep this name after the performance hit fame.

  • Children of Bodom — After being told by Spinefarm Records that the band's name had to change (the group was initially signed on to another label under the name Inearthed), the group looked through a local phone book to search for inspiration, coming across Lake Bodom. The band, like most of Finland, was already aware of the unsolved triple murder which occurred at the lake, claiming the lives of three camping teenagers. The band believed they had found an impacting name with an interesting story behind it, and so chose the name Children of Bodom. Many of their songs have also been named after the murders, such as "Lake Bodom", "Silent Night, Bodom Night", "Children of Bodom" and "Bodom After Midnight".

  • Coldplay — The band were called "Starfish" originally and a friend's group was called "Coldplay". When they did not want the name anymore, "Starfish" asked if they could use it instead. The original Coldplay took the name from a book of collected poems called Child's Reflections: Cold Play

  • Creed — Originally known as Naked Toddler, the band changed its name to Creed at bassist Brian Marshall's suggestion, after a band he had previously played for called Mattox Creed.

  • The Cure — The band's original name was Easy Cure, which was taken from the name of one of the group's early songs. The name was later shortened to The Cure because frontman Robert Smith felt the name was too American and "too hippyish"

  • Dashboard Confessional — Derived from the line in the band's song "The Sharp Hint of New Tears" which is "on the way home, this car hears my confessions/I think tonight I'll take the long way home...".

  • Dead Kennedys — The name was not meant to insult the assassinated Kennedy brothers, but to quote vocalist Jello Biafra, "to bring attention to the end of the American Dream"

  • Deftones — Created by lead guitarist Stephen Carpenter, who wanted to pick "something that would just stand out but you know, not be all cheese-ball at the same time." Carpenter combined the hip hop slang term "def," which was used by artists such as LL Cool J and Public Enemy, with the suffix "-tones," which was a popular suffix among 1950s bands (e.g., Dick Dale and the Del-Tones, The Quin-Tones, The Monotones, The Cleftones, and The Harptones). Carpenter said the name is intentionally vague to reflect the band's tendency to not focus on just one style of music.

  • Depeche Mode — Inspired by a French fashion magazine of the same name.

  • The Doors — The band took its name from Aldous Huxley's book The Doors of Perception, the title of which was a reference to a William Blake quotation: "When the doors of perception are cleansed, things will appear to man as they truly are... infinite."

  • Dream Theater — After a movie house in Monterey, California. The name was suggested by drummer Mike Portnoy's father, who lived in Monterey.

  • Duran Duran — The band played at Birmingham's Barberella's nightclub so took their name from the villain of the cult science fiction film Barbarella, Dr. Durand-Durand

  • Evanescence — When asked where they got their name, they responded, "The dictionary." The word "evanescence" means "a disappearance or dissipation, like vapor." They apparently disliked their previous name and wanted something better. They also wanted to do some artwork (with whatever name they chose) and decided to look under E. They liked the word and definition, likening it to the temporal nature of life.

  • Fall Out Boy — Nameless for their first two shows as a band, at the end of their second show they asked the audience to yell out their ideas for a name. One audience member suggested "Fallout Boy", a reference to the sidekick of comic book superhero Radioactive Man from The Simpsons.

  • Foo Fighters — Adopted from a term used by Allied aircraft pilots in World War II to describe various UFOs or mysterious aerial phenomena.

  • Garbage — Either lead singer Shirley Manson's father yelled down to the band at one of their basement practice sessions, "Play more quietly - you sound like garbage." or from a friend of drummer Butch Vig, who said "This stuff sounds like garbage!"

  • Green Day — "Green day" is a slang term for spending a day smoking marijuana. Billie Joe Armstrong wrote a song called "Green Day" about his first experience with the drug, and it soon replaced "Sweet Children" as the band's name.

  • Guns N' Roses — An early incarnation of the band included Tracii Guns whose band was called L.A. Guns. Axl Rose, who had formed Hollywood Rose, combined his band with Tracii's to form Guns N' Roses.

  • HIM — An acronym for His Infernal Majesty.

  • Hoobastank — Derived from a street where Doug Robb's brother, the vice president of BMW Motorcycles who lives in Germany, called Hooba Street "or something like that".

  • Hootie and the Blowfish — Lead singer Darius Rucker derived the name from two friends from college. One had an owlish face and was nicknamed "Hootie", while the other had puffy cheeks and was called "the Blowfish".

  • Iron Maiden — Steve Harris named the band after the iron maiden torture device as shown in the 1939 film The Man in the Iron Mask.

  • KISS — Peter Criss, the original drummer of KISS and the 3rd member to join KISS, was in a car riding around with Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley and Ace Frehley in New York. All three members knew that Peter used to be in a band named LIPS. They were trying to think of a band name at that time. Paul blurted out, "How about KISS?" Ace Frehley designed the KISS logo in 1973 which is still used today. There was a rumor going around in the early 1980s that it stood for (K)ids (I)n (S)atan's (S)ervice.

  • Led Zeppelin — The band name "Led Zeppelin" refers to the Hindenburg disaster and a joke made by Keith Moon and John Entwistle. The two were discussing the idea of forming a band with some prominent young guitarists at the time. Moon and Entwistle suggested that a supergroup containing themselves, Jimmy Page, and Jeff Beck would go down like a "lead balloon", a British idiom for disastrous results. They intentionally misspelled the name to ensure correct pronunciation by announcers.

  • Linkin Park — Their name came from the lead singer, Chester Bennington, because they had to change their name due to copyright issues, and he drove past Lincoln Park on the way home from band practice. However, the domain "lincolnpark.com" was more than they could afford, so they changed the spelling to 'Linkin Park'


  • Matchbox Twenty — Originally titled "Matchbox 20," the band took its name from a softball jersey with a "20" on it and a patch that had "Matchbox" written on it. The band altered its name to "Matchbox Twenty" after the release of its debut album Yourself or Someone Like You.

  • Megadeth — While Dave Mustaine was traveling back to his home in the Bay Area on a bus after getting kicked out of his former band, Metallica, he would write lyrics on the back of a handbill to pass the time. The handbill itself quoted "The arsenal of megadeath can't be rid no matter what the peace treaties come to," which inspired him to use Megadeath as his band name. He later found out "The Megadeaths" was the former band name for Pink Floyd and dropped the 'A' in 'Death' to keep the name

  • Misfits — The band was named after a motion picture released in 1961 entitled The Misfits. The Misfits' skull logo was derived from the villain of the 1946 motion picture The Crimson Ghost

  • Mötley Crüe — When Mick Mars was playing with his old cover band White Horse he heard someone describing them as "motley looking crew", he instantly took to the phrase and knew that someday he wanted to play in a band by that name. The spelling was eventually changed and umlauts were added.

  • My Chemical Romance — Bassist Mikey Way, before joining the band, had a job at Barnes & Noble. The name came from Irvine Welsh's Five Tales of Chemical Romance. Vocalist Gerard Way added the "My" to make the name more personal. It is also said to have been inspired from shoegaze band My Bloody Valentine.

  • Nine Inch Nails — Sole constant member Trent Reznor chose the name because it "could be abbreviated easily" and denied the name had any "literal meaning".

  • Nirvana — Before settling on a permanent name, the band had played under many different names including 'Throat Oyster' and 'Ted, Ed, Fred'. Nirvana is a profound concept that comes from the Buddhist belief that one can, through spiritual practices and meditation, transcend the cycle of rebirth and human suffering and ultimately achieve nirvana. Kurt Cobain chose the name and defined it to his bandmates as a word that describes the 'attainment of perfection' .

  • No Doubt — Back-flipping original singer John Spence formed an Orange County-based 2 Tone ska group named after his favorite expression, with keyboardist Eric Stefani. After Spence's death, the name stuck.

  • NOFX — guitarist Eric Melvin says that he came up with the name, inspired by the broken up punk band "Negative FX". The name is also meant to symbolize the band's rejection of gimmickry that the band was seeing in music at the time.

  • Oasis — Evolved from an earlier band called The Rain, composed of Paul "Guigsy" McGuigan (bass guitar), Paul "Bonehead" Arthurs (guitar), Tony McCarroll (drums) and Chris Hutton (vocals). Unsatisfied with Hutton, Arthurs auditioned acquaintance Liam Gallagher as a replacement. After Gallagher joined the group, the band's name was changed to Oasis, which was inspired by a place where The Inspiral Carpets played. One of the venues on it was the Oasis Leisure Centre in Swindon.

  • The Offspring — Band members Dexter Holland and Greg K decided to form a band after attending a Social Distortion concert. The band was called Manic Subsidal, who suddenly changed their name to The Offspring in 1986.

  • Panic! at the Disco — Lifted from the lyrics of a song called "Panic," by Name Taken: "Panic at the disco/Sat back and took it so slow."

  • Pantera — Named after guitarist Dimebag Darrell's car, a De Tomaso Pantera.

  • Paramore — According to lead singer Hayley Williams, the name "Paramore" came from the maiden name of the mother of one of their first bass players.] Once the group learned the meaning of the homophone "paramour" ("secret lover"), they decided to adopt the name, using the Paramore spelling.

  • Pearl Jam — The band's first name was "Mookie Blaylock" after the All-Star basketball player, but the name was changed to "Pearl Jam" due to trademark concerns. Vocalist Eddie Vedder claimed in an early interview that the name was a reference to his great-grandmother Pearl Brunner. In 2006 guitarist Mike McCready said that bass player Jeff Ament came up with "Pearl" and that "Jam" was added after seeing Neil Young live.

  • Pink Floyd — Playing under multiple names, including "Tea Set", when the band found themselves on the same bill as another band with the same name, Syd Barrett came up with the alternative name The Pink Floyd Sound, after two blues musicians, Pink Anderson and Floyd Council. For a time after this they oscillated between The Tea Set and The Pink Floyd Sound, with the latter name eventually winning out. The Sound was dropped fairly quickly, but the definite article was still used regularly until 1970. The group's UK releases during the Syd Barrett era credited them as The Pink Floyd as did their first two U.S. singles. 1969's More and Ummagumma albums credit the band as Pink Floyd, produced by The Pink Floyd, while 1970's Atom Heart Mother credits the band as The Pink Floyd, produced by Pink Floyd. David Gilmour is known to have referred to the group as The Pink Floyd as late as 1984

  • Portishead — After the English town of Portishead, Somerset, the hometown of one of the band's founding members, Geoff Barrow.

  • The Prodigy — Bandleader Liam Howlett's first synthesiser was a Moog Prodigy

  • Queen — Were originally called Smile. Singer Freddie Mercury came up with the new name for the band, later saying: "Years ago I thought up the name 'Queen' … It's just a name, but it's very regal obviously, and it sounds splendid … It's a strong name, very universal and immediate. It had a lot of visual potential and was open to all sorts of interpretations. I was certainly aware of gay connotations, but that was just one face of it."

  • Radiohead — Originally known as "On a Friday", the band was given two weeks after signing to Parlophone to change their name. The band renamed themselves after the 1986 Talking Heads song "Radio Head" on the album True Stories, claiming it as the "least annoying song" from the album.

  • Rage Against the Machine — When the band formed in 1991, they chose the name of a song Zack de la Rocha had written for his old band, Inside Out.

  • Rammstein — The band was named after the 1988 Ramstein air show disaster. At first, the band had denied this and said that their name was inspired by the giant doorstop type devices found on old gates, called Rammsteine. The extra "m" in the band's name makes it translate literally as "ramming stone".

  • The Ramones — Paul McCartney used the alias Paul Ramon when booking hotel rooms. So the band decided to use the last name Ramone even though it's not their given name.

  • R.E.M. — Vocalist Michael Stipe drew the acronym randomly out of the dictionary. The term refers to the rapid eye movement phase of sleep. Stipe says that is not the reason why the band is named R.E.M.


  • Seether — Originally Saron Gas. The band was asked to change their name due to Saron Gas being a homophone of sarin gas, a deadly nerve agent. The band changed its name to Seether in honor of Veruca Salt's song titled, "Seether".

  • Sepultura — Means "Grave" in Portuguese. The name was chosen after co-founder Max Cavalera translated the lyrics to the Motörhead song "Dancing on Your Grave".

  • Sevendust — After discovering their name Crawlspace was already taken, band bassist Vinnie Hornsby renamed the band after a brand of plant pesticide he found in his grandmother's garage named Sevin dust.

  • Skillet — Each starting band member was already in a separate band, and all decided to start a side project. Since each other band had a different sound and style to it, the side project was said to be like putting all of those styles in a big skillet to come up with something unique.

  • Slipknot — Drummer Joey Jordison suggested renaming the band from "Meld" to "Slipknot" after their song that eventually appeared on the band's demo Mate. Feed. Kill. Repeat

  • Smashing Pumpkins — Frontman Billy Corgan had come up with this name as a joke years before the band had ever formed. Whenever people asked if he was in a band, he would tell them it was called Smashing Pumpkins for a laugh. The name stuck after the band formed, despite dissension from fellow band members.

  • Staind-The band was originally called "Stain". They added the D when they found another group which then became Kilgore Smudge and Lit already had it.

  • Stone Sour — A cocktail made up of one part whiskey and a splash of orange juice. The group describe their music as one part pure rock adrenaline with a splash of melody.

  • System of a Down — Derived from a poem written by the guitarist Daron Malakian, named 'Victims of a Down', which was changed to System of a Down to place them closer alphabetically to their idols Slayer

  • Taking Back Sunday — A song by Long Island band The Waiting Process who were inspired by their grandmother, Tina, that they should take back Sunday from the Christian people in Long Island

  • Thirty Seconds To Mars — The name of the band came after a thesis of an ex-professor of Harvard. One of the sub-sections was titled as "Thirty Seconds To Mars" and talks about the technological advance that connects with humans and it said that we were literally 30 seconds from Mars. The band on their origins said that that phrase describe their music in a nutshell.

  • U2 — Bono once said that the band name came from its interactivity with the audience, as in "you too." U2 is also the name of a famous spy plane, as well as the name of the subway line that connected East and West Berlin, on which Zoo Station (also the name of a song on the album Achtung Baby) is found.

  • Van Halen — The last name of the band's lead guitarist Eddie Van Halen and drummer Alex Van Halen. Although initially called Mammoth, the band changed its name when it found out Mammoth was already taken by another band.


  • The Who — Were originally called The Detours, then changed their name to The Who after a suggestion by guitarist Pete Townshend's friend Richard Barnes. Their first manager, Pete Meaden, renamed them The High Numbers, and they released one unsuccessful single, "Zoot Suit", under that name. When EMI dropped them, the band sacked Meaden and went back to being called The Who. Another possible reason was because of Townshend's grandmother, who would always refer to popular bands as "The Who?", due to her impaired hearing.
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