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Initials Only, Please

Have you ever given any thought to bands that go by nothing but initials? There are bands that have regular names that prefer to shorten to initials. And don't forget the bands that had initial names that used to stand for something...but then evolved into nothing over time. Plus, some bands have names that "may or may not" have a secret meaning.

Let's break it down, starting with bands that have regular names...but usually shorten to just initials. You know, Stone Temple Pilots (STP) or Guns n' Roses (GnR).

What about Y&T? In the beginning, the California rockers were known as Yesterday and Today. Overtime, the name just became Y&T - no acronym needed, thank you very much.

Then there are the punks: True Sounds of Liberty or T.S.O.L.

What about W.A.S.P.? It may or may not stand for "We Are Sexual Perverts." Then KISS (which I believe was never meant to be an acronym, but others disagree) may or may not stand for "Kids In Satan's Service" (or other similar sayings).

Some other "initial" bands are, of course, R.E.M., XYZ, UFO, AC/DC, ELO...and many, many more.

I always thought one of the hardest parts about being in a serious band would be picking the name. The wrong name can kill a band. After all, you need a cool name that works for marketing purposes and looks awesome on T-shirts.

I suppose we should make this a game, right? How many metal bands can you name by their initials alone?

Something like A7X = Avenged Sevenfold or SOAD = SYSTEM OF A DOWN

So, Go! How many bands can you name that predominantly go by initials?


Reader Comments (30)

I'll bite...

Off the top of my head...

TNT, U.D.O., MSG, and D.A.D.are the first that come to my mind, though I know there are more...

TNT. Check out their killer album "Realized Fantasies", from 1992. This is their best album, IMHO, as it's totally ROCKIN' Glam Metal as opposed to some of their earlier more AOR sounding albums. Interestingly, their logo has the whole triangle thing goin' on that Al posted about a couple of days ago. Great post idea, Al. It made me go through my collection and will finally comment this weekend back on that post with my take on "The History Of The Heavy Metal Triangle".

U.D.O. The ex-leadsinger of Accept, Udo Dirkschneider's current band. It's curious that the dude's name is Udo but that he named his band U.D.O., initializing his first name. What it means, I'm not sure. Still it's clever and the logo looks ultra-Chrome Metal cool! BTW, no triangles, but lotsa wing action.

M.S.G. Michael Schenker Group. His MSG albums are stunning! Check out the song "Armed And Ready", which is as good as anything he did with Scorps or U.F.O. Hey, wait there's another one! Also note the MSG logo. It's design shows a "$" sign formed by the "S" crossing the ligature of the extended "M" in "MSG". He may have done it for the money but he sure left a whole lotta ART in his wake with this band!

D.A.D. A kick ass band from Sweden from back in the day, I was lucky enuff to see these guys at The Cat Club in NYC back in '89. D.A.D. stands for Disney After Dark. Check out "Sleeping My Day Away" and "Wild Talk" on YouTube. Amazing.

Surely some other folks must know of more bands who are known simply by their initials. I will see if I can think of some more, also and will comment again later!
March 11, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMetalboy!
H.E.A.T. --> Swedish AOR. Not to sure what it stands for, as the band tries to keep it a secret.

RHCP - Not so much, but you see it in this form every so often
March 11, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterspence
XTC- "Dear god sorry to disturb you but............."
March 11, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMarilyn Manson
GTR, HSAS, LA Guns, DLR Band,
March 11, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJeff
XTC! Good one! Saw 'em, too, believe it or not, off the English Settlement album opening for Joan Jett in '82 or something at Painter's Mill Music Fair in Owings Mills, MD.

I also saw AC/DC for the first time there in '78 off the Powerage album opening for Savoy Brown. AC/DC only played for 45 minutes. Needless to say, the place nearly rioted on the same level of the Wisconsin protesters inside the state capital building when they had their rights stripped from them.

Spence -- Dig H.E.A.T. I tried to find out if there was any significance to their name but haven't come up with anything thus far.

Who the h*ll is RHCP?

Here are some more...

Some 70's, some more 80's/90's...

ELP -- Emerson, Lake & Palmer

LSD -- Great double entendre. The band will tell you their initials stand for "Life, Sex & Death. But we all know it's other entendre, heh, heh, heh... These guys TOTALLY kicked ass back in the day. They DESTROYED CBGB's when I saw 'em live there. Killer album from start to finish and check out their YouTube vids including an incredible 15 minute backstage interview with the band, where "special needs singer', Stanley is in rare form.

WWIII -- Killarious band! Saw these characterz at The Troubadour on The L.A. Strip in 1987. Mandy Lion, the leader and lead singer, barked like a dog and looked like a lion, literally, with his huge lion's main and tall stature. They actually had really catchy songs but his awful voice defeated the whole thing. Still, their 1st and, I'm pretty sure, sole album, now quite collectable, is both totally killer AND hilarious!

D.R.I. -- Dirty Rotten Imbeciles. These guys got heavy rotation -- Gosh, it seems like it was every Headbanger's Ball for like 5 months -- for their song, "Suit And Tie Guy". Awesomely ridiculous video! Check it out on YouTube. These guys were funny as h*ll! I think they might actually still be out there.

More to come... Just gotta think of 'em. Where the h*ll are the usual suspects on this? Christian?! Mom2Ross?! Kenny O?! Shadow?! Sweet Lou?! Arch?! Kari?! Where in the h*ll did everyone go? Where the h*ll art thou, Kiki?! What the h*ll?

p.s. Jeff! I know who GTR is. DLR Band is David Lee Roth Band. Who the h*ll is HSAS?
March 11, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMetalboy!
how about this lil gem? Stormtroopers of Death, more commonly known as S.O.D., was a crossover thrash band formed in New York in 1985. They are commonly credited as being among the first bands to fuse hardcore punk with thrash metal into a style sometimes called "crossover thrash". Their 1985 debut album was the Headbanger's Ball intro anthem for many years.
They have also been a subject of controversy due to their politically-incorrect lyrics. S.O.D. member Dan Lilker has stated: "The lyrics were never intended to be serious, just to piss people off.
March 11, 2011 | Unregistered Commentercrued
BOC = blue oyster cult
March 11, 2011 | Unregistered Commentercrued
Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark were widely known as OMD.
March 11, 2011 | Unregistered Commentercrued
All killerz, boyz!

S.O.D. -- Funny, I just got that S.O.D. Headbanger's Ball Theme! They actually used a few, but you know the one -- "Chromatic Death", clocking in at a whopping (and walloping) 48 seconds -- on iTunes and I got the album it's off of, "Speak English Or Die", back in the day. I remember all of those short tracks that MTV used as commercial bumpers were mostly from that album, particularly, the most memorable one, "Chromatic Death"! Normally, I don't go in for this sort of thing but there's no denying, like D.I.R., these dudes had a little more going on that most Thrash/Punk outfits back in the day. Much better than Unibrow popularizer, Scott Ian's regular band, Anthax, as this one of his sideprojects. The 48 second "Chromatic Death" is better than Anthax's entire catalogue combined except for their Joe Jackson and Sabbath covers.

BOC -- Yes! Saw 'em back in '76 at Capital Centre in Largo, Maryland (D.C. Area) off of their platinum "Agents of Fortune" album! I was 4th row! "Don't Fear The Reaper", "Cities On Flame", "Godzilla"! Dudes, believe me, there was plenty of COWBELL!

OMD -- Kidz, as scary as it may seem now, I actually got into this band bigtime when I was in art school (Yes, Metalboy! posed as an art student for a couple of years) and I still have a couple of their picture sleeve 12" singles and 45's. Always thought somebody shoulda Metalized some of OMD's stuff.

Okay, I thought up some more...

But before I lay 'em on ya...

Where the h*ll is everybody!

Doin' Cuervo shots at T.G.I. Crappy's no doubt! Don't you realize this is far more fun! Why not play on your iPhone or whatever. Sheez!...

Okay, now that I got that out of my system...

Here goes nuthin'!...

C.P.R. -- Coven, Pitrelli, Reilly. One off project with Randy Coven on bass and killer Savatage guitarist, Al Pitrelli. With monster contributors Zakk Wylde, Steve Morse and Jimmy Jaeger. Luv the dubble entendre in the name.

TNA -- Great name for obvious reasons. Their album, "Finger On The Trigger" is killerageous! Though recorded in 2001, it sounds like it's out of a time capsule from 1988. This is due to the fact that they were kickin' around NYC in the 80's along with their songs that they've re-recorded here. Very Crue/Skid Row-like.

EZO -- Killer Japanese Metal Band. I've got two of their albums you guyz should check out: Their eponymous first album, particularly the standout track, "Flashback Heart Attack" and their sterling sophomore effort, "Fire Fire", the track, "Cold Blooded", the standout. Trust me, you will LOVE "Fire Fire". It sounds like L.A. was a city in Japan. UNREAL!

M.O.D. -- Yikes! Fronted by ex-Anthax roadie and S.O.D. lead vocalist, Billy Milano, this band tortured New York City audiences from '86 to '97 and again from 2001 to 2008. Despite Ian's involvement, S.O.D.'s masterpiece, 1988's "Surfin' M.O.D." EP is thankfully the brainchild of Milano. This EP is absolutely killarious, featuring covers of the Beach Boys "Surfin' U.S.A., Chicago's "Color My World" and "Shout" by the Isley Brothers, which everyone may recall was the centerpiece song during the Toga scene in the movie, "National Lampoon's Animal House", though that was performed by Otis Day and The Knights. Needless to say this M.O.D. version does the song true justice.

I know I'm now unearthing the hidden gems of bands whose names are initials, but I know there's more. See if you can beat me to the punch. I know I'm missing some obvious ones. Back to scouring my iTunes playlists...
March 11, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMetalboy!
Metalboy -

HSAS was the "super group" that had Sammy Hagar, Neal Schon, Kenny Aaronson, and Michael Shrieve.


Pretty good band, released one album in 1984 - check out Top of the Rock and Missing You, good tunes.

Oh yeah, from and earlier post RHCP = Red Hot Chili Peppers

Rock On!
March 11, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJeff
Jeff! Thanks for the tip! That IS a SUPER group! Anything with Hagar AND Schon, let alone Aaronson and Shrieve, has to be!

I'm scannin' my stax for more initials!...
March 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMetalboy!
Holy Sh*t!

HSAS is unfrickin'believable!


What planet have I been on that I hadn't flagged this one down before!

Thanks again for the enlightenment, Jeff!

p.s. Still perusing for more initials...
March 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMetalboy!
Don't know if they count but Quiet Riot and Van Halen get QR and VH thrown about a lot.

I personally like the version of a supposed KISS acronym Keep it simply stupid but i agree i don't think its supposed to be an acronym.

N.R.G. wrote instruments of Destruction for the Transformers sountrack on the 1986 movie, little info on them, and idk know what it meant.

W.A.S.- the group formed by Chris Holmes, Randy Piper and other former members of W.A.S.P. stands for Where Angels Suffer. This is an example of a bad acronym because you instantly think yeah they're WAS because they're not in WASP any more, they do sound good though.
March 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterShadow
P.O.D = payable on death
NIN = nine inch nails
March 12, 2011 | Unregistered Commentercrued
Slight correction there Metalboy!
D.A.D are from Denmark (still around with a new album on their way) and they were forced to change their name by the Disney corp.
I have some of their earlier stuff where it says Disneyland After Dark on the sleeve.
March 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSnoot
Some pretty good one there...

Here is what I can up with off the top of my head:



T.Y.R. ~Tonight You Rock~ (

RTZ ~ Barry Goudreau and Brad Delp of Boston~ (

W.A.N.T.E.D. (

SMF ~Dee Snider~ (


Then you have a few that used letters along with another name:




Then you have bands with letters and numbers combined:

SR-71 (

ZO2 (


The above song links may not be the band's best.. but they were easy to find.
March 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterROCK-IT
Man, Snoot, I am sorry about thinkin' D.A.D. were from Sweden. I'm doin' this all the time cuz I just space out the Metal Facts so often.

I said Electric Boys were British on the Kiss of The Gypsy post when in fact, they are from Sweden but recorded their best album, IMHO, 1994's "Freewheelin'", at Abbey Road.

Anywho, thanks for settin' the record straight! And I'm jealous as hell you've got stuff with "Disney After Dark" artwork. I was, however, fortunate enuff to see these guys at The Cat Club in NYC back in the day when "Sleeping My Day Away" was in major rotation on MTV!

OTSK! Shadow! Once again, you have risen to The Cause of The Advancement of Glam Metal to Bring Back Glam with your comments.

You clipped me with N.R.G.! I was gonna offer that one up as I stumbled upon 'em last night in my iTunes files. "Instruments Of Destruction" ROCKS!

I was wonderin' what W.A.S.P. stood for besides it's original entendre that's used to describe people like my parent's old friends at the country club.

I had known Allyson's description before but this is the first time I've heard the explanation you are providing.

Ah, yes, Crued! Once again, you have come thru with some names. P.O.D. and NIN good ones. I recall P.O.D. and I'll check 'em out later. NIN -- got tons of their stuff when I lost the plot for a couple of years. I've got all of the albums and CD singles. Nice to see such a talent as Trent Reznor receive Oscars, Golden Globes and Grammys this year for his "Social Network" soundtrack.

Okay, I got more!

TKO is a huge one that belongs in the "Huh-uh-lo-oh!" department for me not thinking of it right away...

TKO -- Killer legendary Heavy Metal outfit from Seattle, they put out the classic "In Your Face" album in 1984. Guitarist Adam Bomb went onto a solo career and b*llsiest of the b*llsy lead singer, Brad Sinsel formed War Babies to modest success. But this shoulda been huge. Unfortunately, lousy production and the usual record company problems buried them alive. Since then, Divebomb Records has done a fairly decent remaster I recommend to all. THIS is Rock'n'Roll!

RTZ -- AOR outfit formed by ex-Bostonites, Brad Delp and Barry Goudreau. Fairly decent, but again, a little too AOR for me and I have a pretty high threshold for that kinda crap as I'm actually into it. In fact, I sometimes have a hard time deciphering Glam Metal with AOR because of all the powerballadry going on in both genres.

FM -- Speaking of AOR, these British dudes have to be some of the cheesiest but do manage to have a lot of nice fat crunch chords anchoring their songs to try and counteract all the fluff floating around. Still, I'm a sucker for some of their stuff like the superb "Someday" which was also recorded by King Kobra/Signal legend, Mark Free, on one of his solo records. And for some good laffs, YouTube 'em to check out the juxtoposition between the battle of the mullets of the two brothers, Steve and Chris Overland, who were the bands fearless leaders (until Chris quit for reasons that are obvious in the videos), in contrast with the hairdo of secret weapon keyboardist/resident alien, Dig Digital. Oh, and these guys also have a chrome TRIANGULAR logo that belongs in Al's previous post on Metal Triangles which I'm still going to comment on more extensively soon. I guess that makes these guys a double whammy like TNT. Initials for the name and a triangle as part of their chrome band logos.
March 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMetalboy!
@ Crued -- I can't believe I did not think of that one considering I have a tattoo of them. Still stand by that name as the most unique and bizarre in Rock n ROll history ... that could be the next BBG post?
March 12, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterspence
@ metalboy! -- Nice one with EZO. Love that band. The singers voice just gets under my skin in an awesome way. Just so badass.
March 12, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterspence
Yeah, Spence, EZO are KILLER!

Hey, so, I went to the local indy record store and checked out the P.O.D. bin. And they LOOK like KILLERS!

Tryin' to think of more Initially named 80's/90's acts and it's gettin' harder.


Just thought of another one...

TYR -- Tonight We Rock. And they sure do. Check 'em out. Totally '80's Glam Metal! You can get their stuff as one of those ghetto Retrospect Records jobs, but, hey, it's worth it to get the music. They are frickin' awesome.

In the meantime, I'll keep thinkin'...

Of course, we could always go with bands that have initials IN their names like...

Sweet F.A., Babylon A.D., T.T. Quick, K.K. Wilde, XX Badboy, T.O. Joker, KC Rose, TX Barryt... Killers all, except TX Barryt. I can stand bands that don't hide the fact that they have poseur-like qualities. TX Barryt, on the other hand -- PHONIES!
March 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMetalboy!

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