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The Coolest Newspaper Article Ever: How Bands Got Their Names

The Daily Mail recently ran an online article explaining how some bands got their crazy names. Now, obviously, some of the stories we already know (AC/DC) but others were new to me (ZZ Top). The list has a lot of rock bands like Iron Maiden, Green Day, Led Zeppelin and more. Definitely check out the list.

Now, this article was a great thought provoker for me. Obviously, I know how Damn Yankees and Motley Crue got their names...but I can't say the same for Bang Tango. I don't know about Steelheart or Thunder. Babylon A.D. is another band with an awesome name...but I've got no clue where it came from! The thing about Glam Bands is that they just generally have awesome – or awesomely kooky – names. No music genre can touch Glam when it comes to band names. Sure, it's fun to mock the names of emo bands (because, let's be honest, some of their names are just too much) but still. Poison. W.A.S.P. Judas Priest. All are awesome names for metal bands.

A lot of you that read this site have – or have had – your own bands. How did you pick the name? I mean, it's sort of like naming a child – a band's name is of the utmost importance. After all, it will be splashed across T-shirts from here to infinity. Plus, these days you have to worry how a band name will look in a web address and on a Facebook page.

So, can anyone tell me how Steelheart got their name? Or even better, Steeler? How about Kick Axe? Are you a musician...and do you regret your band name?

It's finally Friday, people! Rock on!


Reader Comments (18)

I always thought that the Winger story was funny as hell. They'd bandied around a few names--some of which I thought they could have been done better--but then they'd settled on "Sahara". They were set to go until they got a letter from lawyers representing another band called Sahara. Since Atlantic Records was just about to release the first album, they went with Kip's last name (supposedly, at Alice Cooper's suggestion). But, if you look in the lower left corner of the album cover, you can see "Sahara" because it was too late to change the artwork.

(Most of this is paraphrased from Kip's autobiography on his website, btw).

and TGIF!
September 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterChessie >^..^<
I sing in a garagepunk band called Apa State Mental. We took it from a classic Cramps gig at the Napa State Mental hospital, and got rid of the "N" because Apa means monkey in Swedish (where we're from). I'm happy with, the name fits the music.
September 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSnoot
Great name, Snoot!

The name of my band was...

Mission Control

Now, I'm sure this won't surprise you but I came up with this in high school...

So, guess what the name of the first album was gonna be?

Right... Mission Control!

It was gonna be a double album.

And what was gonna be the name of side three, a 17 minute guitar instrumental?

You guessed it... "Mission Control"!

It's all about branding, folks!

I came up with this because, right or wrong, for better or worse, I was looking for something big like Led Zeppelin, though it certainly duzn't hold a candle to that prestigious name.

Plus, I always thought it would have been cool to have the first video be old footage of Mission Control in Houston like we used to see on TV during a NASA space mission, with the dudes in the white shirts and ties roaming around rows of radar monitors, staring at the big screen and switching knobs and levers, etc.

Of course, instead of the raw black and white live video feed of a space walk or rockets disingaging, it would have been the video footage of us jumping around on stage with flying V's and Gibson Explorers.

And, of course, at the end of the video, after our overextended Judas Priest-like ending (which are always like 3 endings linked together! Hey our songs sucked but our endings were great!), you would have heard one of the astronaut's voices say, as they always, inevitably, would, "Houston, we have a problem..."...

Oh, to dream...

I'd love to know what the stories are behind all of the great Glam Metal band names out there, too! I like the story of how Motley Crue came up with their name and that they were drinking Lowenbrau, which had an umlaut over the "U", so the boyz decided to add those, too!

I wonder where bands came up with such cool names as Hericane Alice, Shotgun Messiah, Quiet Riot, Bullet Boys, Cold Sweat, Kix, Sgt. Roxx, Kidd Wikkid, Sic Vikki, Kinki Stunt, Pound Of Flesh, Rhino Bucket, Finster Baby, Killer Dwarfs (though I know they are short dudes), Ana Black, K.K. Wilde, and one of my faves, D.A.D. (Disneyland After Dark), or even better, Zodiac Mindwarp & The Love Reaction (who I saw at The Bayou in D.C. back in the day, same joint where I saw G'n'R on their last club date they ever played!)? Of course, the list could keep going.

I remember that Cheap Trick came up with their name because they started out as a Beatles cover band and it was such a "cheap trick" because they were close-your-eyes dead ringers and it was a no brainer to get booked as a band that could do The Beatles dead on.

So, it was like they could sucker promoters and club owners into bookin' 'em because who wouldn't want a killer Beatles cover band, as that would be something that could always draw a crowd.

Thanks for the great tip on the article, Al!

T.B.I.F.! (Too Bad It's Friday!, hahaha!!! We used to joke that work was so "great", we wanted to work the weekend, too!, not!)

p.s. Hey, Roy, ask Joel how he came up with his band name, Cats In Boots...
September 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMetalboy!
{MetalBoy} p.s. Hey, Roy, ask Joel how he came up with his band name, Cats In Boots...

If my memory serves me right, I did ask him that when we were in the studio. The only thing Joel said was "Jam" the guitar player had the vision and the name already. I did try to call him last night,{Thursday}, and I left a message.

I remember my band LoveBone got its name came from the song 'I Hate Every Bone In Your Body But Mine'
from POISON.

ARDENT came from someone watching a Soap Opera.

I tried to get a few show dates with The Killer Dwarfs. Can you see the Headlines.
{The first FLM cassette was suppose to be something of a solo project, but the producer said I dont care what you call it, I am going to call it FLM.}

The bass player came up with the name DC STRUT, I think. We had a lot of names. I think we liked STRUT but wanted something else in front of it. We were practicing in DOWNTOWN CANASTOTA = DC STRUT???
We self destruct from too much excess.
September 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRoy
Another one I was wondering about was Bangalore Choir. Where the h*ll did that come from?

p.s. Roy, great band names, Bro.
September 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMetalboy!
MetalBoy! i know the QR story. I believe it was Kevin Dubrow who misunderstood a possible member suggestion a name -"Quite Right" But the person in question had a heavy british accent causing Dubrow to think he said Quiet Riot.

I've heard this story but its been a while.

I've never been in a band but If i ever was I would call it Dreadnaught (the battleship ya know?)

Albums- Salvo, Ghost Fleet etc.
Covering Album- Covering Fire

I can dream can't I? HA! Now my High school's marching band mascot was the wildcats but since I'm the annoucer i needed a cooler name. Silver and Black Bombers is what stuck another cool name for an actual band.
September 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterShadow
September 24, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterd. robinson
OTSK! Shadow! You gotta do it! Great ideas! Love the whole nautical trip! What's stoppin' ya from formin' a band, bro?!

BTW, I was listening to Iron Maiden this morning (hahaha!!!). Bits and pieces of "Somewhere In Time", which you recommended and "Piece of Mind", which Rich recommended. Dunno. I'm tryin', dude.

I will listen to 'em all the way through tonight and let you dudes know what I think. So far, I do like "Wasted Years", "Die With Your Boots On", and "The Trooper", of course. I'll let you know.

And I dig (just carrying through with Mr. D.'s "groovy" terminology here) the Quiet Riot anecdote.

Mr. D. Robinson any stories or ideas? Hu-uh-lo-oh?! Unless "Groovy" is the name of your band, which would be, uh, really GROOVY! I always thought GROOVE would be a cool name for one of those neo-Grateful Dead Tribute kinda jam bands, actually.
September 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMetalboy!
cool article. It should be pointed out though that the iron maiden of steve Harris fame was not the first band to use this name. There was a UK band in the late 60s/early 70s called Iron maiden that put out at least one album that I know of. It was called maiden Voyage. they were kind of a proto doom metal band.

Some of the bands I was in back in the day were: No Frills, Probable Cause, the Molotov Cocktails, Hellbound Snowballs, Mistaken Identity and Total Enclosure.

Hellbound snowballs came from an old country song that goes, "Are we rollin' down hill like a snowball headed for hell." One club that we used to play at named a drink after us that was two parts Wild Turkey and one part Rumpleminz.

An interesting story about Mistaken Identity...We had a gig booked at a bar in Pennsylvania. We called the place that day to see what time we could come in to set up. they told us that we weren't scheduled to play there that night. Needless to say, we were angry, so we all went to the club to find out what happened. when the four of us rolled in all pissed off, the owner pulled a sawed off shotgun from behind the bar which, shall we say, instantly calmed us down. We found out that there was another band in that area called Mistaken Identity who broke up about a month earlier, so this bar, without even checking with us, canceled our gig because they thought we were that other band...Ironically, a case of mistaken identity. :) so, as we sat there and drank with no gig to play, we changed our name to total Enclosure. if you don't know what that is, there are people who like to wrap themselves from head to toe entirely in rubber. They somehow derive sexual pleasure from this. The process is called total enclosure and hence, a new band name was born.
September 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBob
Back in the day I played in one called Cobalt, and another called Tyr (tear). I always wanted to name one "Grandma's Seizure", but I got out-voted every time!! Can't imagine why....Lol
September 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterGary
Try "Can I Play With Madness" from Maiden.

It's a kick ass rocker.

Hallowed Be Thy Name is another fav of this old fella.(A great song to play along with on the axe)
September 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterGary
I was in a couple bands in college. The first was Roach...named after the pest that we saw running across the dorm room floor during practice one night.

The second was That One Band. We had a song called That One Song and were going to call the first album That One Album.
September 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJT
Time knowledge of other people that can play and the fact i have a lot of other things i'm doin right now. As I type this I'm calling my 3rd game this season at my high school its half time and our band has already gone on so i have a five second break.

Oh yeah wasted years is a great song. That actually i think is Maiden's most "metal" song. Sound wise.
September 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterShadow
Chad! Super high concept idea with That One Band! If "That One Song" had gotten on the radio and it was half decent, I think you could have ridden that tune all the way to platinum just based on the DJ banter it would have generated as DJ's all across the country would have had a cool anecdote about the song, "That One Album" and your band! Great frickin' idea!

Shadow (OTSK!)! Thanks for the tip on "Wasted Years", I'll check it out after this...

Gary, what can I say? As soon as I saw the words, "Can I Play With Madness", I was like, "Huh-uh-lo-oh" to my brain. It's in a dead heat, maybe even a little ahead of "2 Minutes To Midnight" on my iTunes Playlists.

I switched out "Bring Your Daughter To The Slaughter" out of my B-List Playlist, "Midnite Metal" and replaced it with this, but I'm tempted to replace "2 Minutes To Midnight" with it on my A-List Playlist, "Heavy Roxx", but the Playlists are equally good, so what the hell am I talking about!

Anyway, how could I ever forget this awesome tune?! I remember watching the video for it (and liking it) so many times on Headbanger's Ball back in '88 when I first moved to NYC and had nothing but a bed, a VCR and some bad 80's clothes (pencil thin legged Guess jeans, anyone?), hahaha!!!

Whoa! Then I used to make video compilations of stuff like my fave vidz from Headbanger's Ball and TV show appearances such as G'n'R's performance of "Patience" and Alice Cooper's performance of "House Of Fire", both on the same show, The American Music Awards!

Then I got robbed and they took my VCR with that video still in it. I was like, damn! I actually regretted that the video with those AMA performances by Alice and G'n'R on it was stolen more than the VCR itself!

Now, that's Rock and Roll!

Unfortunately, I must have known when I missed that tape more than the VCR, that we would not see these performances by G'n'R or Alice posted on YouTube. Oh, here's a couple of shocking details about G'n'R's and Alice's performances:

About Cooper's performance... He loses his voice in the middle of the song and they had to cut to a commercial!

During G'n'R's performance, the camera cuts to a close up of Axl face while he's singing and you can see up his nose which has some kind of powdery white substance in it I don't think was snot!

Too bad these vidz aren't up on YouTube!

p.s. If anyone remembers watching that show, finds the performances on YouTube or has 'em, please let me know!

p.s.s.t. Shadow! You should make the time to do a band. You know your Rock'n'Roll and you have IDEAS! I know you got great Metal Songs in your Soul, boy! Ask Alice... What would he say? And I quote, "Write It!"...
September 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMetalboy!
My favorite band names are some unsigned friends bands in high school, college and beyond.

Amethyst - they just liked it and the logo was sweet [back before we knew what a 'font' was]

Standard Issue - just like this for some reason, we saw them play a frat house every weekend, and we were on the 'band' list as opposed to the 'banned' list which my wife thought I meant for 10 years

Crunchy Frog - using the warner bros 'hello my baby' dancing frog as a logo

Abusement Park - best local unsigned band ever - Va Beach 1993 - I have bootleg cassettes off their sound board. We talked about an album cover with broken, twisted iron gates revealing broken down carnival rides. Best song of theirs is Tip Of The Iceman, all about relationships. "It's crazy what they say love can do in the end - it'll make an angry killer out of the meekest of men."
September 28, 2010 | Unregistered CommenternirVrana
Abusement Park? That name alone sounds awesome!!
September 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterShadow

I asked the Bangalore Choir main man David Reece about the name for you & he said:
"The name means explosive vocals a Bangalore is a bomb and we combine many harmonies so Bangalore Choir".
September 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTony
I remember Abusement Park. I had that cassette with Tip of the Iceman and Don't Say That L Word on it. They were excellent.
January 14, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterCthulhu

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