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The Worst Band Names of All Time

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

The Airborne Toxic Event - Come On Out (Official Video)

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.

Diarrhea Planet

"Kids" - Diarrhea Planet (Official Music Video)

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.

Lynyrd Skynyrd

Lynyrd Skynyrd - Freebird - 7/2/1977 - Oakland Coliseum Stadium (Official)

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.

Pitbull

Pitbull ft. Chris Brown - International Love (Official Video)

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. 

Audioslave

Audioslave - Show Me How to Live (Official Video)

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.

Limp Bizkit

Limp Bizkit - Rollin' (Official Video)

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.

!!!

!!! (Chk Chk Chk) - Even When The Water's Cold en Mouv'Session

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?

Slightly Stoopid

Slightly Stoopid - “Mexico” - Studio Version #1 Music Video Edit

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.

Mark Stock
Mark Stock is a writer from Portland, Oregon. He fell into wine during the Recession and has been fixated on the stuff since…
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