We’ve already picked the brains of a few insiders on the best bands names of all time. But what of the opposite end of the band mantra spectrum?
Not all stage names are the same, this we know. Flock of Seagulls is boring, Korn isn’t nearly creative enough, and what on earth is Chumbawamba? Or a Hoobastank for that matter?
Some band names are so bad they’re legendary. Like a train wreck or a great white shark hunting for seals, you simply can’t peel yourself away from the tragic nature of it all. It makes you wonder if there were think tanks and such involved in their creation, as they seem so awful they can’t exit your memory.
The Airborne Toxic Event
It’s OK to be wildly specific but these words just don’t flow well together. That, and having “event” in your name seems absurd for a musical act. You are the event. The LA post-punk revivalists must have lost a bet or something. And now that the world is dealing with a pandemic that’s essentially an airborne toxic event, it’s riddled with negative connotations.
This one is so bad that it’s on the verge of being good. All I can think about is the Sherwin Williams logo with poo instead of paint. Credit to the former Nashville garage-rockers for embracing the all or nothing approach to the name game. Yet, there’s nothing at all good about diarrhea and when it’s ratcheted up in scale to planet-size, it’s overwhelmingly gross. But hats off to the group for evoking so much.
I’m prepared for the backlash that comes with including this name. The band is classic rock royalty after all. Yet, popular and epic as the Southern rock band’s music is, the name remains a failed attempt at cheekiness. The name was chosen to mock a high school physical-ed teacher named Leonard Skinner. Maybe there’s more to its clumsy spelling and bumpy rhyme scheme. Maybe not. The act should have stuck with one of its original names, The One Percent.
It’s an average name for a middle school mascot, but as a title for an extremely popular performer with an international presence? Come on, Pitbull, you can do so much better. If your reggaeton and crunk-y sounds had more bite, it might make more sense. And no, you don’t get any credit for fusing the words pit and bull.
While an all-star band capable of occasional greatness and led by one of the best vocalists of all time (RIP Chris Cornell), Audioslave falls short in terms of its title. It’s a bit of a stab at the system, evoking a band enslaved by the music industry and the FM dial. But it’s lacking the deftness and intensity of the band’s presence and overall sound. Audioslave is one of the best rock bands of the modern era but I can’t help thinking it could have climbed to even greater heights of greatness with a tweaked mantra.
It’s hard to know where to begin here. The spelling? The ill-advised use of the letter z? The fact that it’s all, well, limp? Fred Durst’s rap metal band from Florida had a nice run in the late 90s, attracting a large audience with its high-energy, guitar-backed flows. But it also dropped an album named Chocolate Starfish and the Hot Dog Flavored Water, which is pretty much inexcusable.
Names that require extra training wheels for proper pronunciation are tough. Even bands with bonafide talent, like !!!. Don’t get me wrong, you can do great things with spelling alterations and format, just look at ultra-cool band names like Wavves and Com Truise. But !!! feels phoned-in and open to way too much interpretation. Technically, the band goes by “Chk Chk Chk” but how the hell are you to know that?
This San Diego dub-rock outfit opted to show just how baked its name is by going with a misspelling. We get it guys, you smoke a lot of weed and can’t be held down by conventions. You party hard and do it all over again the next day. Sometimes, you gotta grow up. And it starts with how you present yourself in the form of a solid band name.
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