Tuesday, April 15, 2008


As we saw in the previous post, one way to come up with a name for your band is to name it after a handy nearby intersection. I think that’s an admirable way to do it. The Hollywood Argyles might not have been the first to use this method, and there certainly could be others out there since. Maybe you know some. The closest I can come is the E Street Band and Highway 101 (not truly intersections). Then there’s the more contemporary Sleater-Kinney, which is actually more of an off-ramp than an intersection, but hey, why be picky at this point.

If you can’t even come up with a general category of name for your band, you might go to Dave Marsh’s weighty tome, “The Book of Rock Lists.” There you might consider any kind of critter: bird (The Ravens, Counting Crows), four-legged (The Spaniels) creepy-crawly (The Scorpions) or the slimy (The Arrogant Worms)…. Or maybe you could try places in the larger sense. Beyond mere streets and intersections, there are bands named after towns and cities (Boston, Chicago) bodies of water (Little River Band) states (Kansas) provinces (Manitoba) regions (Kamchatka) whole countries (The United States of America) and continents (Asia). I hear there's even a band called Earth. Then there’s deep space; a huge untapped source of band names as far as I can tell. I don’t think Clownface Nebula is taken yet.

Still not finding what you want? Some bands named themselves in tribute to other songs. The Rolling Stones (after a Muddy Waters tune) and The Lovin’ Spoonful (after a Mississippi John Hurt number) are two well-known examples. I found a song by Beck titled “Satan Gave Me a Taco.” Your band could be The Satanic Tacos! See how it works? In the later sixties, band members started coming up with real trippy names, like Strawberry Alarm Clock and Chocolate Watch Band. I call that process the Three Hat Method. Two hats for adjectives, one for nouns. It may take a while to prepare all the little strips of paper and find a wide variety of interesting words, but once you’re done, you can name dozens of bands without taking a break. And then there are the really obscure band names; ones that come from references to pop culture, literature, or one of the best sources ever…out of thin air. Here’s a link to Wikipedia’s article on Band Name Etymologies. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_band_name_etymologies I highly recommend it for study before naming your band. Find out what it takes to come up with something truly memorable and endearing like Flaming Lips or Beastie Boys.

Finally, there are groups who take their names from other people. Edison Light House comes to mind, and also a group from the dim days of the 1958, Dickie Doo and the Don’ts. This groups, known for several hits, including “Click Clack” “Tears Will Fall” “Flip Top Box” and my particular fave (and the only one I truly remembered) is “Nee Nee Na Na Na Na Nu Nu.” I know what you’re thinking. Who the dickens is Dickie Doo?? Well, the story goes that the band took their name from the son of the legendary Dick Clark of American Bandstand. Though he was officially Richard Clark Jr., papa Dick’s affectionate nickname for the little fella was Dickie Doo (he was a toddler at the time). It’s not too much of a stretch to come up with the "Don’ts" after that. I think it’s a terrific group name. It’s going to be a tough act to follow, name wise, but I know you’re up to it.

Here's Dickie Doo and The Dont's...get ready to dance! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mmX6NhyHtTk

P.S. - I don’t think Alphagetti On Toast is taken either.

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