Band Names: Smart, Outrageous And Downright Insane!

funny band names

What do Cans Of Piss, Sex Maggots and Tony Flow And The Miraculously Majestic Masters Оf Mayhem have in common? They’re all real names successful bands used before they became big. Ever wonder how your favorite band’s title came to existence? Here’s a list of some of the most interesting origins and meanings of famous band names:

Green Day

Green Day Band Picture

The band was fond of their first name – Sweet Children, but in 1989 (fourteen years BEFORE Pirates Of The Caribbean came out!), they dropped it, as they found another group was called Sweet Baby. Luckily, they were also fond of other things so they renamed themselves to ‘Green Day’ which, according to Bay Area slang, is a day dedicated solely to puffing – you guessed it – marijuana.

30 Seconds To Mars

30 Seconds to Mars Band Picture

According to bassist Matt Wachter the name originated from a thesis of a former Harvard professor who suggested that the human race is “30 seconds to Mars” on an exponential technological curve. Sophisticated stuff! Too sophisticated to be true? You decide.

Fall Out Boy

fall out boy band

Funny one: Fall Out Boy was a character from The Simpsons. On their second gig Pete Wentz tried to present the band with a new name but apparently the crowd was already too attached to the original one.

System Of A Down

system of a down band picture

It turns out band member Daron Malakian was into poetry. The name comes from a poem he wrote named “Victims Of A Down”. “System” was chosen as a stronger word, able to represent society rather than particular people.

Queens Of The Stone Age

queens of the stone age picture

“Rock should be heavy enough for the boys and sweet enough for the girls. That way everyone’s happy and it’s more of a party.”, Josh Homme said – “Kings would be too macho.” Talk about male security!

Linkin Park

Linkin Park Band Picture

Chester Bennington used to drive past Lincoln Park in Santa Monica on his way to the studio. And the domain “Linkin Park” wasn’t taken. Yep, sometimes life is simple. Rejoice.

Slipknot

slipknot band picture

Another simple one: Corey Taylor and co started off as Meld but one night decided to rename themselves and became Slipknot, after their song with the same title.

Coldplay

coldplay band picture

First they were called Pectoralz, then changed to Starfish.  Finally, a fellow student who once had a band named Coldplay decided he no longer needed the name so Chris Martin and co took it. The first Coldplay’s title was taken from an anthology of children’s poems.

Bring Me The Horizon

bring me the horizon picture

If you thought naming your band after a Simpsons character was weird, listen to this one: The British rock band was legitimately named after a line by Jack Sparrow from Pirates Of The Caribbean. Wow, how is that movie thirteen years old already?

The Beatles

Photo of The Beatles; from Left to Right: Ringo Starr, George Harrison, Paul McCartney, John Lennon - posed, group shot - jumping on wall, Used on the Twist & Shout EP cover (Photo by Fiona Adams / Redferns)

These legends were struggling to choose both a permanent drummer and a name. The following are all titles they used: The Beetles, The Beatals, Johnny And The Moondogs, Long John And The Beetles, The Quarrymen, The Silver Beatles. Finally, in 1960, they settled on The Beatles and essentially took over the world.

Red Hot Chili Peppers

Members of the band Red Hot Chilli Peppers pose for a portrait shoot with football helmets.

If you have a hard time pronouncing the whole thing, you should know that their original name was Tony Flow And The Miraculously Majestic Masters Of Mayhem but record label attention lead to a swap. RHCP doesn’t sound so bad now, does it? I’ll let you sleep on it.

Black Sabbath

Black Sabbath Band In The 70s

Named after a brand of talcum powder Ozzy saw in his mother’s bathroom, the band was originally known as The Polka Tulk Blues Band. Once the guys decided they were actually going somewhere with their music, they shortened it to Polka Tulk and then renamed themselves completely, becoming Earth. Apparently Ozzy hated it so he was fairly happy when they realized there was another band called Earth. Their last name, Black Sabbath, was the title of a 1963 horror movie.

Muse

Muse Band Picture

This is as indecisive as you get. Gothic Plague became Fixed Penalty which later became Rocket Baby Dolls. Once they decided they were a serious band, they picked the name Muse, supposedly inspired by lead singer Matt Bellamy’s art teacher, but more importantly – better for posters.

Foster The People

Foster The People Band Picture

The intended name was actually Foster & The People (after lead singer Mark Foster) but most people just misheard it. The first few shows the band did were for charities anyway so it still worked just fine.

The Who

the who band picture

After they spent some time as The Detour, the band renamed themselves to The Who in 1964. Later that year, under the management of Peter Meaden, their name changed to The High Numbers. When their next single didn’t sell very well, they went back to The Who, changed their management team and became one of the best bands that ever existed.

Creedence Clearwater Revival

creedence-clearwater-revival-band-picture

The authors of Proud Mary, Have You Ever Seen The Rain?, Bad Moon Rising, Down On The Corner and many more began their career as The Blue Velvets. When they signed a contract with Fantasy Records they were renamed to The Golliwogs. Later on new label owner Saul Zaentz told the boys to pick a new title. The band’s first suggestion was Creedence Clearwater Revival. Apparently the name consisted of the following elements:

  • Tom Fogerty’s friend Credence Newball, whose name they changed to form the word Creedence (as in creed);
  • a television commercial for Olympia beer (“clear water”); and
  • the four members’ renewed commitment to their band.

Queen

queen-band-picture

Imagine for a second Freddie Mercury as the lead singer of ‘Smile’. This was their original name. There probably isn’t a person in the world who wouldn’t agree that going for the more fitting ‘Queen’ was a good, good decision.

Pink Floyd

Pink Floyd Band Picture Black and white

Ready? They’ve been called Sigma 6, The Meggadeaths, The Abdabs, The Screaming Abdabs, Architectural Abdabs, Leonard’s Lodgers, The Spectrum Five and The Tea Set. “Pink Floyd” is a combo of blues singers Pink Anderson and Floyd Council. It came to be just before a show when Syd Barrett found out another group called The Tea Set was performing the same night. The original name was “The Pink Floyd Sound” but it was later shortened.

The Goo Goo Dolls

goo goo dolls band picture

In short, we should all be very thankful this band didn’t stick with its original name. Hold on to your seats… Sex Maggots. Yep, Goo Goo Dolls sounds like the best name ever now, huh?

R.E.M.

REM band picture

Our next contender for the grossest name in history award is one of the titles R.E.M. went by at some point. Names these guys have said they’d considered were Twisted Kites, Nego Wives and (yes, seriously!) Cans Of Piss. I’ll let that one sink in – pun intended.

Led Zeppelin

Ledn Zeppelin Band performing

This one is, by far, my favorite! You might have heard that Keith Moon (drummer of “The Who”), when asked to play with the group, thought the idea was so bad, it would go down like a “lead balloon”, as the common phrase goes. However, he wanted to emphasize on the severity of the situation, using the word “zeppelin”, as zeppelins were, well, bigger. This story is pretty well-known, but did you know the rest of it? Jimmy Page liked the phrase and took it for the band’s name BUT the guys decided to misspell the word “lead” because they were sure Americans would not be smart enough to pronounce it correctly. That’s how we got the “Led” bit.

Now you know. Stay tuned for more weird, funny, curious and useful info about music.

The Drooble team :)

2 Comments

  1. Dominika Novak

    Huge research! Thanks for you time, I was curious about most of them!

  2. Stephan Muller

    Hahaha funny stuff, I’m glad they ended up the way they are now 😀

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