A band’s name is a crucial part of their identity. It should be memorable and original while conveying something about the band’s music or personality, preferably in the span of just a few catchy words. After all, the first thing most potential fans will hear of a band is their name and a good first impression is important in a medium where listeners have thousands of bands to choose from. Band names are, like virtually everything else in life, totally subjective. This makes it difficult to agree on which ones are actually good or bad.
Some even say The Beatles is a bad band name because it relies upon a pun, though I’d argue the pun is easily ignored and the name is just simple enough to be memorable without being completely generic, like The Animals. So many bands squander their first impression by picking a lousy band name that’s likely to offend or confuse rather than intrigue potential listeners. The following are a few of the worst offenders. While their music might have plenty of merit, it can be difficult to get past band names like these.
Warning! Some of these band names may be offensive or disturbing to some readers.
1. Diarrhea Planet
You should definitely listen to this raucous six-piece garage punk band from Nashville, whose studio albums are loaded with classic rock vocal hooks and overblown guitar interplay courtesy of their four separate guitarists. Just try to ignore the name, which the band members reportedly came up with when they were still playing college parties just for kicks. Despite the horrible name, which recalls everyone’s least favorite type of bowel movement, Diarrhea Planet has gained some deserved attention as rock revivalists with the energy and sound to make it semi-big.
2. The Devil Wears Prada
This Christian metal band made the poor decision to name their band after the title of a 2003 chick-lit novel by Lauren Weisberger. Though the band’s intent was apparently just to convey the idea that materialism and evil are closely related, the novel was turned into a successful film in 2006, a year after the band formed. This only further diluted the band’s poor attempt at branding themselves. The name also reflects an irritating trend among new metal and emo groups to use titles that are full sentences like Bring Me the Horizon, Texas Is the Reason, or Captain, We’re Sinking.
3. Anal C*nt
We get it, you’re a hardcore punk band and don’t particularly want mainstream recognition. It’s one thing to be offensive, but the name for this grindcore band reeks of desperation. It’s often abbreviated as A.C. or AxCx — for those who don’t want to confuse them with air conditioning — because few radio stations and record stores are willing to promote a band with a name like that. Even when their records displayed only their initials, the band still found a way to be inflammatory by drawing the letters to resemble, respectively, an anus and a vulva.
4. Penis Flytrap
I don’t even want to explain this one. A name that relies so heavily on a pun is immediately annoying, let alone a pun that uses the word penis and suggests some kind of violence to the male genitalia. I might listen to their Misfits-esque brand of horror-punk a lot more if their band name didn’t make me cringe in my seat as I type it out. Penis Flytrap. Ugh.
5. Panic! At The Disco
Most would agree that Panic! At The Disco isn’t a very good name. It’s long and a little too specific, referencing an out-of-vogue genre that has little to do with the pop-punk sound of this Las Vegas-based band. But with that unnecessary exclamation point the name goes from mildly bad to completely horrible. Especially considering that the band predated a long list of groups with pointless punctuation marks in their names, like Fun. or Portugal. The Man. Yes, those periods are supposed to be there.
6. Fucked Up
There are way too many bands with the word “fuck” in the title. I picked the Toronto-based hardcore punk band Fucked Up to represent the whole lot of these ill-advised artists. Like Diarrhea Planet but with extra profanity and less potty humor, they’ve found mild success and recognition despite their unappealing name. Their soaringly ambitious brand of hardcore attracts punk fans who don’t mind having to cuss whenever they talk about their favorite albums.
7. Limp Bizkit
Limp biscuit is one of many names for a game supposedly played in British, Australian, and sometimes American schools, where a group of boys form a circle around a biscuit or other pastry and masturbate until they ejaculate onto said pastry. The last one to finish has to eat it. Gross. One of the most despised rap-rock bands of the ’90s not only named themselves after this vile middle school dare, but they changed the spelling to add an extraneous z.
This should go without saying, but fans should be able to pronounce a band’s name without getting into a full discussion about it. This Sacramento-based dance-punk band’s name is apparently pronounced “chk chk chk,” but I personally had to read their name for years before finding out this was the intended pronunciation. How do you recommend a band whose name you have no idea how to pronounce?
There are five members of this bafflingly successful boy band, so what do they call themselves? Five, of course — but wait, that’s too simple. They decided to throw in the actual number five to clarify, even if it means logically that their name should be pronounced “five-ive.” How this name got the go-ahead from the record producers will never make sense to me.
10. Up Up Down Down Left Right Left Right B A Start
How many times do you have to read or say this band’s name before you can actually remember it? This name is overly long and difficult to remember, unless you happen to be familiar with the Konami code — a common cheat used in Konami video games. This knowledge might be useful for old-school gamers, but it has no reason to be a band name. At least the band displayed some awareness when they named their 2007 LP Worst Band Name Ever.
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