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How to Ruin Your Band Name

By Dan Ozzi

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You know that phrase your mom taught you, “Don’t judge a book by its cover?" Well your mom’s a naive idiot who needs to step into the real world. Covers are a great way to judge books. If you look at a book with Ann Coulter on the cover, for example, you know right up front that you’re better off jacking off with sriracha as lube than wasting one second reading even a single word of her deliberately abhorrent horseshit about how liberals eat babies. Same goes for band names. If a band can’t come up with a good name for themselves, it’s a pretty good indicator that they can’t make music worth a damn either. Here are a few classic ways in which people ruin their band names:

 

BAND NAMES THAT START WITH “I / WE”

Worst Offenders: We Butter The Bread With Butter; I Am The Avalanche; We Are The In Crowd; I Set My Friends On Fire; We Were Promised Jetpacks; I Killed The Prom Queen; We Came As Romans

Hey, asshole. No one asked for your life story. We just need something we can stick on a flyer. You might as well name your band We Are Unfamiliar With The Concept Of Editing or I Should Not Have Been Left In Charge Of Naming The Band.

 

BAND NAMES THAT ARE AN ENTIRE SENTENCE

Worst Offenders: The World Is A Beautiful Place And I Am No Longer Afraid To Die; ...And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead; This Bike Is A Pipe Bomb; Cute Is What We Aim For; The Number Twelve Looks Like You; Someone Still Loves You, Boris Yeltsin

If the acronym for your band name is longer than most band names, you should really consider letting someone else name your band for you—perhaps a three-year-old or an invalid. Band names should be no more than three words. Four, max. 

 

BAND NAMES THAT TELL PEOPLE WHAT TO DO

Worst Offenders: Skip The Foreplay; Bring Me The Horizon; Escape The Fate; Sing It Loud; Say Hi To Your Mom; Imagine Dragons; Get Involved!

I’m not about to take orders from a band name.

 

BAND NAMES WITH PUNCTUATION

Worst Offenders: Panic! At The Disco; Godspeed You! Black Emperor; Does It Offend You, Yeah?; The Academy Is…; You Say Party! We Say Die!; 

Wow! What a cool way to make your band pop... Add an exclamation mark! Or maybe, a question mark? Would that make it cool too? And! Just stick it in! Anywhere? Doesn’t have to make sense! Or… some ellipses!

 

BAND NAMES WITH UNFORTUNATE ACRONYMS

Worst Offenders: Jimmy Eat World; Saves The Day

Before you settle on your band name, do a quick check: do the letters spell out something potentially embarrassing like POO or ASS or KKK?

 

ABUNCHOFWORDSTHATRUNTOGETHER

Worst Offenders: Boysetsfire; Skycamefalling; Lostprophets; Alexisonfire; Highasakite

Whatisthepointofthis? Isyourspacebarbroken? Throwagoddamnspaceinthere.

 

BAND NAMES WITH UNNECESSARY NUMBERS

Worst Offenders: blink-182; Death from Above 1979; Sum 41

The Jackson 5. That makes sense, there are five Jacksons in the band. 4 Non Blondes. They were four dark-haired women, totally reasonable. But when you just take a random-ass number and stick it into your band name, it really makes no sense 823.

 

BANDS WITH MISFITS REFERENCES

Worst Offenders: American Nightmare, Some Kind Of Hate; Texas Is The Reason

Misfits songs are already references to b-horror movies, so no need to make your band name a reference to a reference and throw us down this band name Inception hole.

 

DELIBERATELY LOWERCASE BAND NAMES

Worst Offenders: letlive.; fun.; blessthefall

This wouldn’t be so annoying if these bands weren’t always the types of people who make a point to say, “Actually, the first letter is lowercase. Can you change that?” you are obnoxious. go fuck yourself.

 

BAND NAMES WITH REFERENCES TO GOD / RELIGION

Worst Offenders: mewithoutYou; xDISCIPLEx A.D.; Underoath

First off, if you’re in a Christian rock band, chances are less than .0001% you’ll actually be listenable anyway. So it actually makes sense that you would name yourself something terrible, sort of like the way a skunk uses its foul odor to warn people to stay away from it.

 

BND NMS THT DLT THR VWLS

Worst Offenders: MGMT; RVIVR; DNTEL; The Weeknd

T-shirt companies don’t charge you by the letter, guys. Go ahead and splurge on the vowels. Otherwise just sound like a bunch of fckng mrns.

 

BAND NAMES WITH TV / MOVIE REFERENCES

Worst Offenders: Fall Out Boy; Atreyu; Say Anything; Save Ferris; Veruca Salt; Mogwai; Chunk! No, Captain Chunk!

Having a band name that references a movie or a TV show says one of two things: You are a supernerd who doesn’t get out of the house much and/or you are too lazy and original to come up with your own name. No one wants to listen to a band named after The Nutty Professor or whatever.

 

BAND NAMES THAT ARE BOOK TITLES

Worst Offenders: The Devil Wears Prada; Of Mice & Men; As I Lay Dying; Fahrenheit 451

Band names shouldn't sound like something from the bargain bin at Barnes and Noble. If you come up with a band name that’s also the title of a book, you have failed and need to start over. That name has already been taken and the author probably doesn’t want their book associated with your shitty metalcore act.

 

JUST A BUNCH OF RANDOM SYMBOLS AND NUMBERS AND SHIT

Worst Offenders: 3Oh3!; Sunn O))); (həd) p.e.; !!!

Make it easy on the poor person designing your merch. Don’t make people have to bust out the character map just to put together a show poster.

 

BAND NAMES WITH ANY OF THE FOLLOWING: BLOOD/BLEED, DIE/DYING/DEATH, KILL/KILLING, BURN/BURNING, BURY/BURIED

Worst Offenders: Too goddamn many to list.

Yeah, we get it. Your band is a bunch of tough guys. No need to drive that home by making your band name all murder-y.

 

SUPER EMO BAND NAMES

Worst Offenders: The Juliana Theory; From Autumn To Ashes; Further Seems Forever; Planes Mistaken For Stars

Just avoid words like “theory,” “stars,” “sky,” or anything else that sounds like it came out of Emo Mad Libs.

 

BEACH SHIT

Worst Offenders: Beach House; Best Coast; Wavves

Sort of ironic that these bands are always filled with people who need to apply SPF 600.

 

ANIMALS

Worst Offenders: Grizzly Bear; Golden Retriever; The Mountain Goats; Foals; Panda Bear

Nothing says you got stoned and watched a documentary on the National Geographic Channel quite like naming your band after a breed of animal.

 

BAND NAMES THAT ARE MISLEADINGLY BADASS

Worst Offenders: Warpaint, Death Vessel

Your band name should represent who you are as a band. If you name yourself something badass, you’d better downtune your guitars and crank out blast beats or sing about killing cops or something. Or at the very least, don’t sound like some sissy indie rock band.

 

Which ones did we miss, you internet smartasses? Tell us how wrong we are on Twitter - @NoiseyMusic 

Dan Ozzi is an editor at Noisey and former member of the band 1000 Dying Ashes In The Øcean of SDNSS!})[¡}. Follow him on Twitter - @danozzi

Also check out: 

What Your Regrettable Scene Tattoo Says About You
 

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