Say My Name, Say My Name

This column breezily explores the inverse relationship between the quality of a band’s name and their ultimate success, a phenomenon which has always amused me. And of course, I’ve whiled away many a dull moment by wondering what I’d name my band, though I usually take it for granted that we’d be destined for failure and therefore feel free to be a bit loopy.

  • The Meaningless Plurals: No prizes for guessing which sorts of bands we’ll be satirizing. But we’ll also play the occasional Motown cover, with great tenderness.
  • The Google Sex Perverts: Not originally my idea. Jonathan, who was once the only South African reader of this site and is now possibly one of many South African non-readers of this site (because I haven’t heard from him for a while) came up with it in a hilarious comment thread on the previous incarnation of this site, and I’ve never forgotten it.
  • I Am Spartacus: Yes, our songs will all only have 3 words and be very repetitive. How’d you guess?
  • Boutros-Boutros Kweli: We will be the ultimate “positive hip-hop” supergroup. Common will beg to work with us and we’ll say “Phooey, you’re boring!” We’ll let Hi-Tek produce us, but he’ll have to change his name.
  • Frau Farbischener: An all-girl Franz Ferdinand tribute band.

What would you name your band?


  1. At a time in 97/98 when suffixes like “star” (Dogstar, Dubstar) and “head” (Radiohead, Portishead, Propellerheads) and words related to sounds (Hooverphonic, Stereophonics, Audioweb) were very much in vogue, I thought of calling my band (if I formed one) “AUDIOSTAR”. Our first album would be called “Audiogasm”.

    I wish.

  2. don’t know if you were there at one of the CAP dinners (was it 2002?), but the councilor guys formed a band call We Rock and penned a pseudo song called The Best Song In The World, complete with air-drums, air-guitar, air-bass, air-vocalists, and spit-drumming. there can be no better. :P

  3. i could sit here all day thinking of band names.

    but i have a new genre of music. it’s called kampong glam rock.

  4. wasn’t there a band called schrodinger’s dog?

    if not i call it for my band of spotty ex-trekker geeks who are seriously influenced by the music of bacharach and the pogues.

    we specialise in love songs that sound more meaningfull when half plastered

    we also do weddings and barmitzvahs

  5. Like Don, I noticed a tendency of late to prefix band names with ‘the’ e.g. The Hives, The Frames, The Libertines, The Killers.

    Thus my band would be named The Definite Articles.

  6. I always wanted to have a band (or a club) called “Murder too coolito” named after the way that I mis-heard the shouty bits on Jesse Valez’s “girls out on the floor” when i was a teenager. Our sound would be a blender-mix of the types of sounds that revivals always pass by, like the 80s gated snare drum, or the 1/16 stuttering 808 drums on early house, or the kiddie-sex out of tune vocals from latin freestyle. Actually, that would make it sound pretty much identical to “Girls out on the floor”. Which would be fine by me.

  7. One night, Mayee and I formed the ‘Something Brothers’, actually recorded our first single simply titled ‘Angry Song.’ No, we didn’t write it ourselves, but we wore orange wigs, plastic chains and machine guns for the music video. We also became very hungry during the long shoot and disbanded that very same night.

    A couple I know few years ago came up with ‘Spiritual Strawberries,” who are so indie that they will never release any album nor will they split up. (No, they had not heard of Sarah Records back then, yet.)

    More recently, we are more pragmatic and are bent on a gossips-only band, hence taiwanesely-named ‘San San Ba Ba.’ (multiplying the numerical boy-band fads of course.)

  8. My friends called themselves “Je Suis Rock Band” – their first album (now aborted) was to be titled “Je Suis Saves”.

  9. Je Suis Saves is a fantastic album name! My first album was going to be This Is My Day Job Help Me God, and my “difficult sophomore album” was going to be Music For Flotation Tanks, in which I would of course experiment with horribly abrasive dissonance.

  10. Looks like everyone’s not only naming their bands but describing them as well.

    Me, I’m so egotistical I actually want to be in TWO bands. One would be an amalgamation of The Verve, Suede, Radiohead, and Explosions in the Sky. I’ve actually written songs for this fictional group, though I seriously doubt they do any justice to the influences just mentioned.

    Another would be a completely different concept: a retro futuristic electropop band. We’d rip off Kraftwerk shamelessly with minimalistic, robotic tunes celebrating technology and modern life. We would only accept to perform at the Science Centre and at the Sentosa musical fountain. Of course, we wouldn’t really *play* anything live; we’d just pretend to, after putting on our CD.

    The only song I’ve written for this group is here:

  11. frau farbischener is a fantastic name!

    another good one is The The’s. although i think there’s a band with that name already…

  12. Yeah, The Thes already exist. All Music Guide (I think) had to rework its search service to accommodate them.

    Other good random band names:


    I’m Sorry About Dresden

    Why does everyone get on Usher as a bad name? It’s his first name, yeah? Shouldn’t make fun of real names…

  13. actually, people do that all the time. as in make fun of real names. especially when one was younger. i have been continually amazed by young kids’ ingenuity in devising cruel nicknames out of almost any name you can find…

  14. Let us consider the name Grrrls Without Vowels. A nineties cover band, of course. Every member would be required to sport a plaid shirt and/or wear their hair in interesting ways.

  15. Gracet – you have to admit that gracet is a pretty unusual name. I wasn’t ever bullied for being called Matt, but naturally, people found other things to give me grief about.

    I wanted to call a band Mildenhall. It’s a boring little town in Suffolk, and it’s not a particularly interesting name, but it’s radio friendly, the stress is on the first syllable, and I reckon I could top album charts with a name as middle-of-the-lexicon as that.

  16. Hi Matt, gracet is shorthand for “grace t”, where t is short for her real surname.

    Btw, I’m a cultural ignoramus but for what that’s worth, Mildenhall sounds rather Nordic to me. Dunno any other bands that took their names from their hometowns apart from Portishead, though…

  17. East 17 named themselves after their post code.

    Oh, and am I right in identifying the one non-boring thing in Mildenhall as the Mildenhall Treasure? I remember reading about it in a Roald Dahl book!

  18. Don – I had guessed as much, I suppose I’ll have to revise my sense of humour in future.

    Michelle – A search on google for Mildenhall produced details of RAF Mildenhall (though not too many details), Mildenhall Naturist Swimming Club, Mildenhall Speedway (the home of no less a speedway team than the Fen Tigers), Mildenhall Rotary Club, and indeed, the Mildenhall treasure, found in the Second World War.

    And Japan were a 70s British rock group, but, evidently, not from Japan.

  19. Can I just say how much I love everyone’s comments on this post?

    Pharaon’s genre is hilarious.

    Brian, if I ever see your band perform, I intend to request When You Say Nothing At All, but I want it done klezmer style just to hold you to your promise of being able to play bar mitzvahs.

    Laces, my misheard lyrics band name would probably be have to be ACtion so GROOvee. (As opposed to ANcients of MU-mu in KLF’s 3 AM Eternal. I totally think mine makes more sense.)

    Daryl, I like !!! but I don’t like the way it’s apparently supposed to be pronounced. Instead of “chk chk chk” I would prefer a sudden, silent, wide-eyed, gobsmacked facial expression.

    Shaocong, I have a mild preference for The Velvet Underground Dance Dance Revolution !!! !!!, but yours is great too.

    Orlando, why not Grrls Wtht Vwls?

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