Archive | August, 2012

Best Band Names Ever Part 3!!!

8 Aug


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Well its time for another installment of the Best Band Names Ever list. It seems that I get request to do more all the time and I will not let you down. Plus there is an endless ocean of right awesome names to pick from. So lets skip dipping our toes in the water and dive right in.

My Bloody Valentine

This Irish band from Dublin are named after the 1981 horror film of the same name. They are often referred to as the inventors of the shoegaze sound that blew up in the early 90’s. Shoegaze was an alternative rock genre that used heavy distortion, reverb, and bleak lyrics often with bands standing still or barely moving while staring at their shoes during shows. Their album “Loveless” was a watermark in the genre and is still viewed as a masterpiece. Rumors have swirled that recording the album almost bankrupted their record label, Creation Records, at the time. But there have been conflicting stories about that depending on who you believe. The band has not released anything after that album, but reunited in 2008 for live performances with promises of new material but nothing has surfaced as of yet.

Mt. St. Helen’s Vietnam Band

Mt. St. Helen’s Vietnam Band are a relatively young band alternative rock band from Seattle, WA. They gained word of mouth buzz early in their career with the use of comical PSA videos before their live performances. Their sound is a discordant guitar heavy sound similar to Modest Mouse, Bishop Allen, and Cursive. They do good stuff, check them out.

Killing Joke

Killing joke are a Punk/Post-Punk/Industrial band from Notting Hill, London, England. The two main members are Jaz Coleman, and Geordie Walker. The band formed in 1978 and their sound has evolved all over the musical map. They have been described a everything from punk, post punk, goth, electronic, industrial, synth pop and even metal. The band has been controversial with images on album covers and shown on projections during live performances. Coleman dabbled in occultism, and once moved to Iceland to sit out the Apocalypse, and has had more than a few run ins with journalists. The band has been off and on over the years and just recently released a new album MMXII in April of this year. The band name comes from a British phrase referring to an ironic or paradoxical situation. As of this writing recent reports have come out stating that Coleman has been missing. The band were set to tour with The Cult and The Mission. Reports are that Coleman was less than enthused about this, ranted on a Facebook post, and then has disappeared with no contact. Let’s all hope he is O.K.

The Chain Gang of 1974

The Chain Gang of 1974 are an alternative, post punk project from main member Kamtin Mohager, out of Denver, CO. Their sound is a retro throwback to the 80’s new wave sound of bands like Talk Talk and Tears For Fears and the darker cooler side of the new wave genre. Mohager does good things and stands above all the other new wave indie revivalists out there. Check out his version of the Thompson Twins “Hold Me Now” with an epic swath of guitar thrown in.


One of the most glorious noises you will ever hear in year life is the music of Superchunk. This Chapel Hill, NC. band stared in 1989 and are still around and are still as good as when they started. Choosing to stay true to their indie, do it yourself aesthetic the band formed their own successful record label, Merge Records. Although briefly signed to Matador Records they left after that label aligned itself with mega label Atlantic. Superchunk have a penchant for covering Misfit’s songs. Mac McCaughin also has a side project called Portastatic, that does good stuff as well. The name comes from original drummer Chuck Garrison’s name being misspelled in the phone book, it was spelled chunk. So the original name of the band became Chunk, but was later changed, as a Jazz band had already claimed that name. Thus Superchunk was born. You need more Superchunk in your life!

Amon Amarth

This Swedish band formed in 1988 under the very metal name of Scum. The original vocalist or the band was Paul Mäkitalo or “Themgoroth” as he goes by in his current band, Dark Funeral. Johan Hegg, whose imposing frame and bearded long hair look just identifies his viking nature, replaced him in 1991 and in 1992 they changed their name to Amon Amarth. The band is classified as a death metal band and the brutal sound and growled vocals definitely imply that classification. However, their melodic gutiar riffs and lyrical themes of vikings and mythology would actually put them closer to having more in common with Iron Maiden. Guitarist Olavi Mikkonen receives a lot of praise for his  guitar work. The name Amon Amarth is taken from J.R.R. Tolkien books. Its the Sindarin language name for Mount Doom. Sindarin was the language mainly spoken by the elves. Score one for science fiction!

That Petrol Emotion

That Petrol Emotion were an Irish band with an American singer. Formed in the mid 80’s out of the remains of other bands most notably, The Undertones. The band had a few lineup changes through their lifetime. Known in America mostly for the 1990 Album Chemicrazy that produced the minor alternative rock hit “Hey Venus.” The band amassed critical acclaim but never really found commercial success. They held together until 1994 when they split up. After various musical adventures the band has reunited several times to perform. Good band, to bad they were not more famous.

Against Me!

Ah, the saga of the former Tom Gabel, who is now known as Laura Jane Grace. Gabel recently announced plans to become a transgender and to begin medical treatment to live as a woman. Against Me! started as a solo project with Gabel but quickly evolved into a band format with various different band members over their 15 year history. Gabel/Grace has also faced animosity from his own fans for signing to a major label to record the album “New Wave” and has written several songs on the matter most notably “I Was a Teenage Anarchist.” Against Me! are an excellent live band and should not be missed if you get the chance. and as far as Gabel/Grace’s personal life matters we don’t judge, it’s his life we shall let him do what makes him happy. Just keep playing music and giving us that scream.

Half Japanese

This Michigan punk band formed by brothers Jad and David Fair produced one of the best album names ever Loud and Horrible. Also reportedly the band’s t-shirt was what Kurt Cobain was wearing when he died. David stopped performing with band in the early 90’s to focus on family matters and Jad has become the primary member. Jad is known for never really tuning his guitar and not knowing any chords. The band has released many albums. Some of the earlier ones with the help of magician Penn Jillete, of Penn and Teller, who is a huge fan. A lot of the songs deal with monster themes or being young and in love. Its an acquired taste but a good one once you catch it. the name was chosen by putting words into two hats and randomly pulling out words thus Half Japanese was born!

Apostle of Hustle

Apostle of Hustle are a Canadian band fronted by Andrew Whiteman who is also a member of the Canadian super group Broken Social Scene. AOH were formed in 2004. They have released four albums and one ep. Their sound is guitar driven indie pop. Worth checking out. At this time I do not know how they arrived at Apostle Of Hustle for a band name.

Depeche Mode/Yaz/Erasure

Why did I list all of these bands together? Because Vince Clark was a founding member of all of them. Depeche Mode was started by Clark, Martin Gore, and Andy Fletcher, who had all been in a couple bands together. During 1980 in their hometown of Essex, England they asked Dave Gahan to join them thus becoming Depeche Mode. They recorded one album Speak & Spell released in 1981. Clark left the band in 1981. Depeche Mode went on to massive world wide success behind eleven albums and such songs as “People Are People“Strangelove” “Personal Jesus” and “Enjoy The Silence“. The name Depeche Mode comes from the French magazine Dépêche mode, meaning fashion report. The band liked that concept so they took it.

After Vince Clark left Depeche Mode he teamed up with another Essex area talent in Alison Moyet to form Yazoo, which is their official name. The name Yaz is only used in the U.S. thanks to their record label Sire Records. With Yazoo, Clark and Moyet released two albums and had two minor hits with “Situation” and “Don’t Go“. The band went their separate ways in 1983. Moyet went on to have  a successful solo career. The name comes from the blues record label Yazoo Records.

After a brief interlude with a band called The Assembly with Feargal Sharkey of The Undertones, Clark formed Erasure with Andy Bell in 1985. Like Yazoo and Depeche Mode, Erasure’s music was synth pop. Erasure scored three top 20 songs in the United States with “A Little Respect” “Chains of Love” and “Always“. They had many more hits in Europe and South America. Erasure are still together and touring. For the band name, an unverified story is that an engineer at their record label at the time accidentally wrote “erasure” on their demo and the band stuck with it.

Cradle of Filth

I have to admit that for the longest time I thought these chaps were Swedish based on their black/death metal music and their propensity to wear costumes and makeup. But upon a little research I discovered that they are actually from Suffolk , England. You learn something new everyday! COF started in 1991. There musical style has been called black metal, death metal, goth metal, shock metal, symphonic metal and extreme metal. Its a safe bet to say that the music covers all those bases. The band has had a long history and many band members. Dani Filth, the band’s vocalist has popped up with his own column in Metal Hammer magazine as well as episodes of Jackass alumni Bam Margera’s television programs on MTV. Long live the metal!

Flesh For Lulu

For the record, I’m still miffed at this band. I had tickets to see them perform back in the late 80’s and for whatever reason they cancelled the show. Grudge held! Anyways, Flesh For Lulu were formed in Brixton, England in 1982. Their first album Blue Sisters Swing was banned in the many European countries and the U.S. for the cover image of two nuns kissing. FFL are best known for their song “I Go Crazy” which was featured in the film Some Kind Of Wonderful. They had a minor hit in the U.S. with the single “Postcards From Paradise.” The name came from an incident where a band member’s girlfriend named Lulu was sitting in front of an Andy Warhol movie poster for the Movie “Flesh For Frankenstein” thus the name Flesh For Lulu was born. Great band that did good stuff.

Brightblack Morning Light

BBML are a duo consisting of Nathan Shineywater and Rachel Hughes. Their laid back brand of folk music has been described as part of the freak folk scene. The duo are originally from Alabama, but have relocated to Northern California and also been based in New Mexico. They even recorded an album using solar power. The band has released three albums to critical acclaim. So slow things down a little bit and do yourself a favor and check out their harmony driven folk for yourself.


TV on the Radio are a post punk, electro, soul band from Brooklyn, New York. TVOTR were formed in 2001 originally by guitarist David Sitek and vocalist Tunde Adibempe. The band eventually grew to include Kyp Malone, Jaleel Bunton, and the late Gerard Smith who passed away in 2011 from lung cancer. TVOTR’s sound is a mix of rock, punk, soul music , alternative, and funk music. Their music is an interesting mix of styles that works quite well as proven by the fact that a couple of their albums, Return To Cookie Mountain and Dear Science, were voted the best albums of the year by such publications as Spin, Rolling Stone, and The Guardian. And also websites such as Pitchfork, and The Onion AV Club.

Death From Above 1979

This Canadian band formed in Toronto released their one and only album “You’re A Woman, I’m A Machine” in 2004. The band were a duo consisting of Bassist, synth player Jesse Keeler and Drummer, vocalist Sebastien Grainger. The Original band name was simply Death From Above, but a lawsuit from indie label DFA records prompted the duo added 1979 to the name. It references Keeler’s year of birth. Some people believe that it was taken from the 1979 film Apocalypse Now where the helicopters have that phrase painted on them, but the band claims this is coincidental. For a band that played bass and drums they made a noisy dance inflicted racket! You should check them out.

The Pineapples From The Dawn of Time

The PFTDOT were an Australian psychedelic, alternative punk band from the mid 80’s. Hailing from Brisbane in 1985 the band recorded on album Shocker and almost as quickly as they started, broke up in 1988. The band were known for wearing strange costumes onstage. Trippy stuff check them out!

Clan of Xymox

Clan of Xymox formed in 1981 in Amsterdam, Netherlands with three primary members, Pieter Nooten, Paul Moorings, and Anke Wolbert. The band’s synth driven darkwave sound quickly found them labelled as a goth band. The band had a modicum of success in the mid to late 80’s based around the albums Medusa and  Twist of Shadows, and the singles “Blind Hearts” and “Obsession.” In the late 80’s the band name was changed to Xymox. Nooten and Wolbert left the band in 1990 leaving Moorings as the sole original member.  In 1997 Moorings changed the name back to Clan of Xymox. The band continues to release material currently. Still not sure what the band name means or where it came from.

Suicidal Tendencies

This punk/thrash band and their somewhat controversial band name were formed in 1981 in Venice, California. Their most famous single is the legendary “Institutionalized” from their 1983 self titled debut album. The video was featured prominently on MTV. The band appeared on an episode of Miami Vice performing the song in a punk club. The song also popped up in the 2008 film Iron Man. The song will never die its a juggernaut on its own! Mike Muir has been the sole original member of ST through eight albums. The last was released in 2000. There has been no new material but periodic reports often pop up of a new album in the works. Great band well worth your time.

Mental As Anything

Mental as Anything were an Australian band formed in 1976 in Sydney. Their primary success was in Australia and Europe though they did receive moderate attention in the United States mainly in the alternative, and college music genres. They were featured as the opening act for Men At Work on its 1982 tour of the U.S. MAA found the most success in the 80’s. Often viewed as video pioneer in Australia their videos were often humorous showing the bands sense of humor that is often found in their music. The band name is Australian slang meaning something that is crazy, offbeat, or extremely fun.

10,000 Maniacs

This Jamestown, New York band began its long life in 1981. The first two band names were Still Life and Burn Victims. They eventually changed their name for the last time to 10,000 Maniacs which was influenced by the cult horror film Two Thousand Maniacs! The band found its biggest success in 1987 from their album In My Tribe which produced the minor hit “Peace Train” of a cover of the Cat Stevens song which was later pulled from the album after Stevens, who had changed his name to Yusaf Islam, supported the fatwa against Salman Rushdie. The band’s next two albums Blind Man’s Zoo and Our Time In Eden found more hit singles including “Like the Weather”What’s The Matter Here” “Trouble Me” and “These Are Days.” Vocalist Natalie Merchant left the band in 1993 for a solo career. Both Merchant and the band have continued on the own paths.


This awesomely named band are from Mobile, Alabama. Their sound is experimental punk, noise rock. Since their inception in 1998 the band has released seven albums. The late legendary Wesley Willis recorded a song about them, which is a hefty honor in the alternative music circle. If you want your mind blown just take a few listens to this band’s often improvised and experimental music.

Pink Turns Blue

This Cologne, Germany band is often put into the dark wave, goth sub genres and it’s easy to see why with their heavy guitars and synth driven sound. The band had a ten year existence between 1985 and 1995.  The band had more success in Europe than stateside with many hit singles like “Michelle” “I Coldly Stare Out” “Catholic Sunday” “If Two World’s Kiss. ” PTB reunited in 2003 for some festival appearances and released an album “Phoenix” in 2005. The band’s music is very good and holds up well to time, check them out America it’s O.K. to go back and like stuff you may have missed out on.

Oingo Boingo 

This L.A. band were formed in 1975 as a large musical theater troupe under the name The Mystic Knights Of Oingo Boingo which was a take on the secret society The Mystic Knights of Ruby Begonia from the Amos N’ Andy television show. The band actually won an episode of The Gong Show in 1976. The early 80’s found Danny Elfman taking over control of the band from his older brother Richard. Elfman shifted the band to a rock n’ roll format. The band was decreased in size and the name was also shortened to Oingo Boingo. The band found big success during the 80’s with music tied to films like Fast Times At Ridgemont High, Sixteen Candles, Weird Science,  and Back To School. The band retired with a farewell gig at the Hollywood Bowl on Halloween night in 1995. Danny Elfman has gone on to a very successful career scoring music for films and has even been nominated for an a Oscar.

Alice In Chains

THE quintessential grunge band from the early 90’s. Formed by Guitarist Jerry Cantrell and vocalist Lane Staley in Seattle in 1987 Alice In Chains rose to prominence with the grunge movement, which fused heavy metal and punk. The band’s debut album Facelift spawned the single “Man in the Box” which was  a staple on MTV. Their second album Dirt was a major success with hits like “Rooster” “Down in a Hole” “Them Bones.” Their acoustic based EP Jar Of Flies produced the hits “I Stay Away” and “No Excuses.” Unfortunately the band has been touched by tragedy more than once with the early death’s of Lane Staley in 2002 and former bassist Mike Star in 2011, as both struggled with addiction issues. The Band has continued on and in 2009 with new vocalist William Duvall, who sounds eerily like Staley, the band had a hit album with Black Turns To Blue. Of all the grunge bands none were deeper, darker, more depth seeking than Alice In Chains. You should probably own all of their stuff.


The legendary post punk band was formed in 1987 by Ian Mackye in Washington, D.C. Mackaye’s earlier band Minor Threat had ended its run and Mackaye was looking to go in a different direction. Mackaye teamed up with Dag Nasty bassist Joe Lally and Rites of Spring drummer Brendan Canty and shortly after Guy Picciotto also from Rites Of Spring joined. This lineup recorded the seminal 7-Songs and Margin Walker ep’s and the great albums Repeater through 2002’s The Argument. Fugazi were known for their integrity and refusal to bow to commercial pressure. They refused many big money offers to join record labels or headline festivals choosing instead to concentrate on the music and keeping costs affordable for fans. Their concerts were usually 5 dollars or less to get in. Fugazi went on indefinite hiatus in 2003 with the members doing various other side projects and solo projects. As with Fugazi, all of these projects are worth checking out. The band name comes from Vietnam era military slang for “F*cked up, got ambushed, Zipped in (a body bag.) Fugazi should be mandatory listening!


The almighty Slayer! In the annals of the big four thrash metal bands Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth and Anthrax. Metallica always get top billing due to their massive popularity and commercial success. While I love Metallica, my money is always on Slayer. These guys are the heaviest dudes ever! Besides, they never made an album with an orchestra or went “alternative.” Slayer always has and always will be METAL! Their albums are fast, brutal, loud, and glorious, from Araya’s staccato vocal bursts and screams to Henneman’s and King’s riffing and Lombardo’s drums it’s all studiously fantastic. Every album they’ve done is solid. Their song “Reigning Blood” has been the subject of a viral video featuring choreographed Christmas lights on a house that’s hilarious and awesome, you should look it up. Very loud live band but worth it.

Atari Teenage Riot

Atari Teenage Riot are a “digital hardcore” band from Germany. The band’s principal member Alec Empire actually made up and invented that term to describe the band’s music and it is also the name of their record label. The sound is mixture of techno, hardcore punk, metal and industrial. Their music was a political response opposing neo-nazi and fascism sub culture movements that were popping up around Germany in the 90’s. In 2001 the band suffered the loss of original member Carl Crack who died way to early. The band reunited in 2009 to play some festival dates. In 2011 they released an album Is This Hyperreal? with new member CX KiDTRONiK, which is actually spelled like that! Good aggressive music here.

Faith No More

Faith No More formed in 1981 in San Francisco under the early band name of Faith No Man by Bassist Billy Gould and Drummer Mike Bordin. Keyboardist Roddy Bottum joined shortly after. An early singer for the band was Courtney Love. Chuck Mosley joined FNM in 1983. The band name was changed to Faith No More. With Mosley on vocals the band released two albums We Care A Lot in 1985 and Introduce Yourself in 1987. Mosley was kicked out of the band for strange behavior, such as falling asleep onstage, and was replaced by Mike Patton in 1988. The Real Thing was released in 1989, featuring Patton’s vocals that he wrote in just two weeks. The band released Angel Dust in 1992, a critical success worldwide but more commercially successful in Europe and Australia than in their native U.S. Guitarist Jim Martin left the band in 1993. FNM would release two more albums throughout the 90’s before breaking up and moving onto to other projects. Patton had been involved with his original band Mr. Bungle, Tomahawk, Peeping Tom,  and Fantômas as well as doing voice work for video games. Bordin drummed with Ozzy Osbourne. Bottum formed Imperial Teen. Guitarist Jim Martin played with ex Metallica bassist Jason Newstead’s Echobrain briefly and has released solo work. Faith no More are regarded as an influential metal band that fused metal and rap together. They are often viewed as the fore bearers to the late 90’s early 00’s nu-metal craze.

Was (Not Was)

There is a lot of musical history coming out of Detroit. Motown Records and the great soul music it produced. The 60’s era rock n’ roll/punk godfathers MC5 and The Stooges. Ted “Motor City Madman” Nugent. The influential Detroit techno scene of the 80’s and 90’s. Bob Seger, Alice Cooper, the funk of Parliament/Funkadelic, Eminem, and the new boogie master himself Jack White. All these bands and musicians meet at the crossroads that is Was (Not Was). WNW were formed in 1979 by friends David Weiss, and Donald Fagenson. The two would take the stage surname of Was, so they’d be known as David and Donald Was. They released their first self titled album in 1981 featuring the monstrous and still awesome single “Wheel Me Out.” Was (Not Was)  also features two soul singers “Sweet Pea” Atkinson and Harry Bowens. Their albums feature a guest list of various musicians including Wayne Kramer (MC5), Doug Fieger (The Knack), and jazz musician Marcus Belgrave, Mel Torme, and even Iggy Pop! The most notorious guests were Ozzy Osbourne rapping and Kim Basinger cooing along sexily on the song “Shake Your Head (Let’s go To Bed).”

Was (Not Was) sound is filed under pop, but it also electro, disco, Avant-Garde, jazz, rock and punk. They scored a few hits in the 80’s most notably with 1987’s “Spy In the House of Love” and 1988’s “Walk the Dinosaur.” In 1990 the band scored another hit with a cover of “Papa Was A Rollin’ Stone.” Don Was has also produced many, many records for other artists. The name comes from Donald Fagenson’s son who enjoyed putting two contradicting words together, thus Was (Not Was) was chosen as the band name.

Whew! You all wear me out asking for more and more. But I will gladly go the extra mile to appease the masses! There are many more unique band names to be uncovered and experienced and this website and I are the perfect ones to turn you on to them. See you next time. Stay cool out there its been way to hot.