While trying to build a list of terrible band names I came to the following conclusions:
1. Musicians are stupid-smart. Meaning, they are probably not literally mentally retarded, but they often make decisions based on retarded logic (and I apologize in advance: there is no better synonym for ‘retarded’; I will be using it repeatedly). A band name is a precious life, like a baby, and should be treated as such (i.e. would you name a kid ‘Hoobastank?’).
2. Musicians are pretentious. They have to be, otherwise the world would be filled with songs about getting audited or checking Facebook 1,735 times a day, and nobody wants to hear that. We need talented, attractive artists to take our boring feelings and interpret them as beautiful bastions of verbal bliss.
3. Musicians have a sense of humor. It’s possible.
What follows is by no means an extensive list. I’m sure that somewhere there exists a band with a truly horrific name like Diarrhea Jiz Baby Eaters or something, but I tried to select at least moderately reputable/notorious artists (it’s more fun to ridicule someone who could legitimately sue me for “character defamation”).
…And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead
Vu brought to my attention (and a quick perusal of the entire Internet confirmed his claim) that the band originally called themselves…(sigh)…The Clouds That Fondle Jagged Crags and Raging Storms Conspire and You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead. It physically hurts, doesn’t it. According to Wikipedia, the name started as an inside joke; unfortunately, this doesn’t justify anything. It’s like getting a vanity plate that says “BIRDLUV” because you actually hate birds and enjoy irony, but everyone else just thinks you’re a homely bird enthusiast.
I Love You But I’ve Chosen Darkness
What’s surprising about ILYBICD is that they are not high school Hot Topic employees.
Death Cab for Cutie
I know, I know, Death Cab is a serious, important band. Forgive me. By the way, have I told you about my new musical project: Deceased Taxi for Sexycheeks? (Let’s christen this the Thesaurus Test. Death Cab for Cutie: 0, the English Language: 1.)
Echo and the Bunnymen
Will Sergeant once mentioned that they chose Echo and the Bunnymen because it was the least shit name from a list of shit names (even though they all agreed that the name was still a shit name). This is retarded logic (see #1). I wonder what happened between “we need a name” and “I hate this name, but I suppose it will do.” Did they simply give up? Is Echo and the Bunnymen the band name equivalent of stretch pants and an oversized embroidered sweater?
Sometimes having a really, really dumb name doesn’t prevent a band from major success. Take Butthole Surfers, which sounds like an elementary school insult (and also a euphemism for anal sex)—dumb name. And yet, loved by Dead Kennedys, Sonic Youth, Kurt Cobain, and regular people (sold records). The problem is maturity: do you want that Mickey Mouse tattoo for the rest of your life? Do you want to be the Butthole Surfers for the rest of your life? Do you want young, nubile hot chicks saying “hey, there’s that Butthole Surfer dude. Isn’t it sad that he’s totally old now and still trying to be gross and funny and talk about balls or whatever? Let’s not fuck him, it’s too sad.”
Gay Witch Abortion
I know what they’re trying to do. I know it, and I can do it better: Fat Wizard Pedophilia. We can all play this game, it’s easy. Step 1: think of a non-offensive word that when used in a specific context becomes offensive; Step 2: witch, wizard, sorcerer, dragon, bear, turnip, it doesn’t matter; Step 3: ‘Gay Witch’ alone is kind of funny, kind of gay, but add a mildly taboo/generically topical issue, and voila! a mirage: seems shocking, but upon further inspection is actually a harmless rock formation.
!!! / Sunn O))) / 00|00
Guide to pronunciation:
!!!: “…Pronounced 'Chk Chk Chk' or any three repetitive sounds” (from Official Website). I pronounce it ‘… … …,’ which is the sound of rolling eyes.
Sunn O))): Pronounced ‘sun’; the ‘O)))’ is supposed to mimic the logo for the amp brand Sunn, the band’s namesake, and roughly translates as “lifetime supply of free amps.”
00|00: Pronounced “oh-oh-eye-oh-oh.” They’re Japanese.
If a band requires instruction to talk about, I don’t want to talk about it. So I won’t.