The Priest's 50 Worst Band Names of All-Time
In the not-so-grand tradition of British one-word band names (Oasis, Blur, Cast, Suede, Muse, Keane, Pulp, Shag, Clinic, Crumpet, James, Lush, Bloke, et al) comes this joint named for a body part best known for ruining the tennis games of middle-aged men and for jabbing blabbermouth husbands in the ribs. While it may house the funny bone, there’s no elbow room for amusement here whatsoever.
Note: the elbow resurfaces yet again in entry #12
Author Dana Fuller Ross (a pseudonym) used to write a series of books titled after extremely boring states. A sample of the thrilling titles in the series: Illinois!, Utah!, Idaho!, Wyoming!, Nebraska!, New Mexico! All of them, for some reason, had an exclamation point at the end, which I remember finding extremely pathetic upon first discovery. I live in Illinois. If ever there is a state that doesn’t deserve an exclamation point, it’s Illinois—Land of the Imprisoned Governor. It’s a tribute to the profound dullness of Kansas, then, that even Ross completely skipped over the state during the series. Kansas is a bland, dull rectangle, worthy of no band names, let alone for a band that gave us the majestic and prophetic “Dust in the Wind.” (Although, to its defense, dust is the state bird of Kansas.)
48 At the Drive-In
If you ain’t a doowop group circling a flaming garbage can, this shouldn’t be your band name.
47 Echo and the Bunnymen
Sounds like a creepy ass children’s book you’d never want to read to your kids. Goodnight Killing Moon. And the red balloon. And the little old lady whispering ‘Hush’.
46 Velvet Revolver
Without scrutiny this one could slip by undetected. Velvet: alluring, seductive fabric. Revolver: aristocratic instrument of death (or Beatles album). How very upper crust of them. Mix the two together and you get a killing machine made from a movie theater seat. Only when you substitute other fabrics does the absurdity of this band name spring to life: Plaid Revolver, Gingham Revolver, 100% Cotton Revolver, Nylon Revolver. You just can’t drape any word in velvet and expect people to suspend common sense. The Velvet Underground was cool because basement walls can actually be covered in fabric—especially effective when decorating a secret sex club—so the name is entirely plausible. But a velvet revolver? It sounds like an unthreatening Clue weapon: Bad music. With the Velvet Revolver. In the recording studio.
45 Modest Mouse
Sounds like a post-Disneyland "Mouse seeking dominatrix..." post on some rodent-based hookup site on the dark web.
44 Super Furry Animals
It’s a fact: the word “Super” almost always ruins a band's name. It’s a screams creative bankruptcy—even if your band is pretty good, like this one. That said, Furry Animals ain't much better. Time to unpack your adjectives boys.
43 Sahara Hotnights
So an all-female group wants to name their band after a low-budget Skinemax “film” set in one of the most sexist regions of the world, huh? It makes no difference that the name actually came from a horse the members bet on once at the track. It’s still a sticky, sandy mess.
Naming your band after a department store section is pretty stupid. Sticking in a random @ as a touch of whimsy is bad fashion sense. I hope they kept the receipt.
41 Bowling for Soup
Some names are offensive, some are bland, but some of the worst just try too hard. Those are the ones that make you hate the band intensely without even hearing a note of their music. Imagine if Metallica or Led Zeppelin went with Bowling for Soup as their name. We got lucky this time; the band sucks and so does the name.
40 Let’s Active
I’m tempted to forgive this one, as almost anything was tolerated (encouraged even) in the 80s. Let’s Activate would’ve kept them off this list, but they chose to go with the shorter version, which is aggravating and trite, not to mention asinine.
39 The Dentists
Nobody really wants to see the dentist, let alone a group of them. So why tempt fate by naming your band after one of the world’s most hated professions? (The same reason there’s no band named the Proctologists.) A better name would’ve been the singular version. Then one could say “I’m going to see the Dentist,” and it would be kinda funny in a non-funny way.
38 Ned’s Atomic Dustbin
First off, few in America even know what a dustbin is, so you’re immediately alienating a country most British bands desperately want to conquer. Also, the name sounds like a children’s story or straight to cable Disney adventure/romp—how absolutely dangerous for a rock band. If you don’t know, a dustbin is actually another name for a garbage can, and that’s exactly where this name should’ve stayed.
37 Archers of Loaf
Had William Tell gained stature shooting arrows through loafs of rye bread off his sidekick's head at 50 paces, maybe this name would’ve made sense. In no other scenario does this come close to being anything but random stupidity.
36 Badly Drawn Boy
Reminds me of the time my 5 year-old son drew a massive cock and balls on his gingerbread man art project.
35 Goo Goo Dolls
One of the creepier names on this list is exactly what it sounds like—the name of a girl’s doll from the back of a comic book. Any time you blend rock and roll and little girls, a red flag goes up.
34 Mary’s Danish
Is this a euphemism for Mary’s bunny hutch? I hope not. Maybe it’s what it seems to be—what Mary has with her morning coffee. Or is she from Denmark? Either way, has there ever been a mystery you didn’t need solved more?
33 Puddle of Mudd
OK, a rock band that loves double-Ds—predictable. But naming your band after a dirty pool of water is just plain ddum.
32 Barenaked Ladies
I may be letting my disdain for this band cloud my assessment of their name’s quality, but I really do feel the name is a cheap, cheeky, and shameless ploy, like the marquee at a C-grade strip club on the side of the highway. Nobody likes a rock band that’s so obviously starved for attention. Earn it the hard way—with music that isn’t quirky bullshit pop.
31 That Petrol Emotion
The band wanted to sum up in a three-word nutshell what it’s like living in Northern Ireland. Instead they came off as pretentious, artsy hack poets who nobody (except pretentious, arty hack poets) will admit to liking one bit.
30 Pooh Sticks
The Pooh Sticks were a sweeter-than-sweet pop band, but they were going nowhere but down the toilet with this name.
29 Prefab Sprout
Infamously, band anchorman Paddy McAloon named his group after misheard lyrics in Nancy Sinatra’s song “Jackson” (“We got married in a fever, hotter than a pepper sprout”). Surely you’ve misheard or sung the wrong lyrics to a song at some point in your life, too. Maybe you have one that is particularly funny (“Like a virgin / Touched for the thirty-first time”). Most others are mildly amusing one time, at best, like this cowpie of a name.
28 The Dandy Warhols
I’ve never liked the music of Portland’s Dandy Warhols—mainly because I can’t stand their lead singer, the cock-punch deserving Courtney Taylor-Taylor. The redundant hyphenation just begs you to clench your anus in rage. I also hated the title of the band’s “breakthrough” album Thirteen Tales from Urban Bohemia, not to mention the album’s lead single “Bohemian Like You.” But all those things don’t count here. Predictably, their band name is a big letdown as well. Taylor-made to evoke a hip underground society crossed with a distinct air of British upper-crust snobbishness, it makes me want to slap them silly with a pair of white servant’s gloves.
27 Portugal. The Man
26 Godspeed You! Black Emperor
25 Panic! At the Disco
I cannot begin to tell you how much mid-name punctuation irritates me. It’s especially painful when the offenders are bands I really like—like Portugal and Godspeed. If you’re a band, why come off as pretentious and quirky before anyone even has a chance to hear your music? The name alone steered me clear of Portugal. The Man for their first couple records. And if it wasn’t for Godspeed’s overwhelming critical splash, I probably would’ve avoided them like the plague, too. (Panic! never interested me in any way at any point.) Isn’t the purpose of having a band to be heard?
24 Poi Dog Pondering
I imagine even the dog is pondering this hot, steamy, slippery, dog shit name.
23 Les Savy Fav
Making your name impossible to pronounce is annoying, but asking people to sound like snobbish French aristocrats when they do get it right (Lay Sah-vee Fah-v) is criminelle.
22 Sixpence None the Richer
Hear ye, hear ye! Thou shan't pick your band name whilst visiting a Renaissance Fair in Texas. If it wasn't for their assassination attempt on the La's "There She Goes" this would've been their biggest affront to modern society.
21 Hootie and the Blowfish
Notice to new bands: When you name your band, you might think nobody will ever hear your music or that your band name doesn’t really matter too much. You may assume you’ll never be popular or sell any records. But even though it’s unlikely, there’s an outside chance you just might. Be positive. You should name your band assuming you are going to be the biggest band on the planet someday. Even if you suck, mediocre rock and roll bands are disproportionately rewarded every day. Why stick yourself with something so profoundly stupid nobody will ever mention it without using a mocking tone or as the butt of a lame joke. Worse yet, if you have one black guy in the band and you name your band Hootie and the Blowfish, the black guy is going to be called Hootie. There’s really no way around it—especially if he’s the lead singer. Did they not see that coming? I don’t care if you named the band after two people in your high school choir; people don’t have time for your "cute" origin story.
20 Enuff Z’nuff
I couldn’t have said it better myself. Intentionally misspelled words hardly ever work, and it’s even worse when both words are butchered, let alone with the same root word. Nuff said.
19 Gigolo Aunts
This is starting to get hard. And I'm getting angry. Yep, this one makes me angry. Just looking at it makes me want to punch the screen. How cute, your aunts are all niche market sex workers or something.
18 Steel Pole Bath Tub
If you want to know how crazed the post-Nirvana band-signing frenzy was, a major label actually signed a band named Steel Pole Bath Tub and didn’t even ask them to change their name. Worse yet, nobody knew what a steel pole bathtub was then, and nobody cares now.
17 Soul Coughing
A supposed euphemism for vomiting, it’s a band name so glib and desperately clever you almost want to drink a case of Strawberry crush and down a dozen apple turnovers so that you can projectile vomit all over it to give it some real deep meaning.
16 Porno For Pyros
From one of the best names, Jane’s Addiction, to the worst; this is when Perry Farrell officially jumped the shark.
15 Plain White T’s
Sounds like a band created to make a commercial for Hanes or Sears, or worse yet, a sale on Hanes Underwear at Sears. Of all the bands named after articles of clothing, this one is the blandest. None more bland. Even Tube Socks would’ve sounded cutting edge in comparison.
When you Google “least favorite words” invariably “moist” is mentioned in the first ten posts. The only word that gets mentioned more is probably “panties” (mostly by women). When you combine the two words together as “moist panties,” you get an unprecedented double-play of hatred capable of lighting up message boards worldwide (and Japanese fetish vending machines). “Panties” makes women’s underwear sound girlish and perverted, not sexy and practical. Pair anything with moist beyond a cake and it sounds creepy. Nothing should be able to describe panties and cake. It’s panties or cake, and that’s the end of it.
13 Fudge Tunnel
The least popular attraction at Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory.
12 Toad the Wet Sprocket
From the Monty Python skit “Rock Notes,” written by Eric Idle, where a newsman reports that a fictional rock band’s electric triangle player has had his elbow removed. That fictional band was named Toad the Wet Sprocket. Idle said he picked a random name that no band would ever use to make it sound more preposterous. Which makes it funny as a skit, but not as a real, fully operational band name. A major rule in naming your band is don’t name it based on a joke, especially one that very few people will even understand, let alone enjoy. It’s no wonder they’ve always regretted the choice. Which doesn’t absolve them of their sin, but at least it was from a revered comedic troupe and not a Howie Mandel routine or something.
A quick look at Monty Python-inspired names that would’ve worked much better…
The Woody Words
The Silly Walk Ministry
The Holy Grail
Two Sheds Jackson
11 Slightly Stoopid
Some band names are so blatantly insulting, no comment is even necessary—they indict and convict themselves. Here, we are to believe the band cannot spell the word “stupid,” but they can spell “slightly,” a far more complex combination of letters? Totally, unequivocally, wholly, entirely, collectively stupid.
I don’t want to know what a hooba is, and I have no interest in why it’s so stanky. Don’t name your band after something a two-year-old might accidently say. Don’t name your band after something that sounds like an STD. Don’t name your band after a backyard game by Hasbro. Don’t name your band Hoobastank.
09 The String Cheese Incident
This band deserves a massive cock punch for letting this name stick. It’s a common story—band chooses band name because they can’t think of anything else, band suddenly gets popular, band is then stuck with stupid band name for eternity as a result. How hard would it have been, in this day and age, for the band to switch their name to something less completely idiotic? Are their fans so fried on shrooms and weed that they can’t figure out a simple name change? Perhaps.
08 Limp Bizkit
While I appreciate truth in advertising—Limp Bizkit’s music was actually more impotent than its name promised, remarkably.
07 Cherry Poppin’ Daddies
If you don’t think about it, the name possibly comes off with a swinging 50’s rockabilly vibe. But then we thought about it, and there was no going back.
06 Anal Cunt
I’ve always wondered what it would be like to be a relative, or worse yet, a parent, of one of the members of Anal Cunt. Although the name was chosen as a joke by band leader Seth Putnam, who desired “the most offensive, stupid, dumb name possible” (mission accomplished), I can’t imagine that explanation providing solace to his mother when asked at the supermarket or beauty salon, “What’s Seth up to these days?” “Oh, his band Anal Cunt just released an album called It Just Gets Worse. You may have heard his latest songs “I Sent Concentration Camp Footage to America’s Funniest Home Videos” and “Women: Nature’s Punching Bag”—they’re really good, give them a listen!” Despite much of the band’s material being social parody, there’s no denying the name’s repulsive qualities. Appealing to the lowest common denominator, like a shock jock, may be a business plan, but it ain’t one that will get you much respect.
05 Death Cab for Cutie
It’s especially sad when a band you kinda like has a terrible name. You might want to see them in concert, you’ll certainly buy one of their albums, and you’ll likely listen to their songs on your car radio. At some point, it’s going to happen. Someone is going to ask, “Who’s this?” And your answer, reluctantly, will have to be “Uh, Death Cab for Cutie.” Tell me you’re not embarrassed repeating the name aloud. Its origins come from a song of the same name by the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band (another poor band name), from their 1967 album, Gorilla. As a one-timer song name, nobody really gives a shit. As a band name, it’s obscure, pretentious, and just plain dumb. If they stopped at Death Cab, the name might’ve even worked in a Tarantino-esque kind of way. Instead, literally went for cute and made a mockery of themselves in the process.
04 Snatches of Pink
If you’ve ever perused the pages of Hustler magazine, you’ll understand the name (they order pink airbrush canisters by the gallon). Much like a bleached asshole, some things are better left in their original, natural glory.
03 Vomit Launch
Vomit is without a doubt one of the most unpleasant words in the English language. Puke, throw-up, regurgitate, barf, ralph, spew, heave, upchuck, etc. are appealing by comparison. It’s a harsh, halting, repulsive word whose first syllable evokes the gagging reflex you hear before someone shatters your day by hurling on your shoes, couch, backseat, carpeting, or airline seat. Vomit isn’t your sister’s cute baby spitting up formula on his onesie. Vomit is vile. Vomit is that guy at White Castle splattering his sliders all over the white linoleum floor while you’re trying to enjoy a midnight snack (I speak from experience). Vomit is that guy behind you at a rock concert who initiates a waterfall of today’s breakfast, lunch (cottage cheese) and dinner that cascades between your shoes (I speak from experience). Vomit dominates its environment. Worst of all, vomit makes others want to vomit, too. If you’ve ever seen domino vomit, you’ll never forget it (I speak from experience). There’s no need to expose yourself to it any more than you already have had to.
02 Lubricated Goat
Animal cruelty—worse yet, animal rape—is implied, and that’s just plain fucked up.
A band name so controversial and unappealing that it actually contributed to the band’s demise. Steve Albini, who has always known how to lose friends and alienate people, took the name from, I’m overwrought with sadness to report, a Japanese comic book aimed at possibly the most pathetic, depressing, and disturbing demographic imaginable: single, middle-aged Japanese men. They should’ve aborted this one at conception.