After the Ampersand: Pickled Priest's 25 Best Backing Band Names of All-Time

Let's face it. There are a lot of bland and generic backing band names out there. There may be a great front person in charge, but not enough thought is often given to naming that person's backing band. That said, there are many bands who got it just right. Here are our favorite 25.

THE RULES 1. The list isn’t “Top Backing Bands,” it's "Top Backing Band Names,” which means great bands with average names won’t make it and bad bands with great names might. Hence, The E Street Band and The Revolution aren't on the list. They're fine names, but aren't particularly noteworthy out of context.


2. The backing band cannot be a band that originally started with only the backing band name, but then changed it after the fact to add someone’s name to the front of it. Examples: Iggy & The Stooges, Jonathan Richman & The Modern Lovers, Diana Ross & The Supremes. All were well known by most as the group name originally. In the Supreme's case, they are also disqualified since the Supremes were all singers and not a formal backing band. Sometimes, a band didn't get their notoriety until after the band changed their name to "Blank & The Blanks, so I may make an exception in such cases.


3. The first half of the band name must reference a real person in the band, be it a person's real name or a common nickname. So June & the Exit Wounds won’t qualify (there was no June). Same goes for Hootie & the Blowfish (which wouldn't have made the list anyway because it's dumb). On the other hand, KC and the Sunshine Band would be allowed. The singer’s last name was Casey, hence the KC. (Also not on this list since The Sunshine Band sounds like a kid's show or "Up With People"-type group.)


4. The band name does not have to start with a formal “The,” although most do. So Michael Franti & Spearhead would be eligible if we thought it worked (it doesn't).


5. We’ve tried to narrow the list down to reasonably well-known artists with established and consistent backing bands. I know your neighbor sister Jackie was pretty clever when they called their band “Jackie & the First Ladies,” but they aren’t eligible here.


6. We’ve limited this list to mostly rock & roll bands (and a couple other crossover artists). Look for other genre lists to come at some point.


7. The band name can’t be one that was assembled for a one-off tour. Each artist can only have one backing band in consideration. Hence, Graham Parker and the Rumour, yes. Graham Parker and the Shot, no.



25 THE NIGHT SWEATS

Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats

Levi Strauss & The Mustache Rides

I haven't done a formal study, but it seems like there has been a precipitous drop in band names using the "Blank & The Blanks" naming convention in the 21st century. The fact this hard-working band is the freshest face on this list tells me that it's no longer cool to go old school when naming a group. That saddens me. Mainly because I have the world's second largest stockpile of great backing band names stored in my basement in case they're needed. What will I do with them all now?


Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats, a bit of a mouthful, is a bar band first and foremost. They got some notoriety because Nate writes consistently solid songs and the band works their collective asses off on stage—success the old-fashioned way, you might say. So it's no surprise he named his formidable and budget-straining seven-piece band The Night Sweats. The main goal of a bar band is to get the crowd drunk and sweaty, in that order. So, while the name comes from a symptom of a fever, it also translates perfectly to a hot club circa 1:00am. That's when band is going to be working its hardest and you're going to be getting into it, you know, gettin' involved. Everyone is hot and sweaty and happier and better off for it. It's the #1 indicator that you're having a good time. Side-effects don't always have to be bad.



24 THE HEARTBREAKERS

Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers

Tom Petty & The Pornstars

You've got to be careful when judging band names not to give more credit to a name just because the affiliated band is one of your all-time favorites. I think I've avoided that on this list for the most part. On its own merits, The Heartbreakers works brilliantly as a backing band name because it glorifies the boys in the band, which is a smart and easy way for the main attraction to spread some love to those making a fraction of what they bank on a nightly basis. It's only common courtesy. By proclaiming them, deservedly or not, studly enough to love and leave scores of adoring fangirls while on tour, it potentially mitigates any "petty" jealousies that typically surface between bandmates. The fact the name was blatantly stolen from Johnny Thunders & The Heartbreakers is irrelevant.* Tom and friends made the name the revered institution it is and when most think Heartbreakers, it's Tom Petty who comes to mind first and foremost. I also like a backing band name that comes with its own built-in warning: girls with hearts beware.


*Technically, Johnny Thunders & The Heartbreakers came after The Heartbreakers, so it doesn't qualify for this list anyway under Rule #2.



23 THE BLACKHEARTS

Joan Jett & The Blackhearts

Did you guys notice you're all wearing leather jackets?

In my book, The Heartbreakers is a good name, but The Blackhearts is markedly better. Heartbreakers might leave some tears in their wake, some lessons learned perhaps, but Blackhearts will leave you damaged, debating your sanity and questioning your judgement. Blackhearts don't abuse love, they're incapable of even knowing what it is. Rock & roll at its best is a little dangerous. With great risk can come great reward, but don't come crying to me if you become collateral damage in its wake.



22 THE CATHOLICS

Frank Black & The Catholics

Overdressed for mass

This blog substitutes records for religion, but we don't mandate that approach. That said, there's something inherently taboo about invoking the Catholic faith in your band's name. Personally, I like that it shows just the right amount of contempt for organized region while not outright mocking its congregants. It would've been easy to do so, but I submit that the name wouldn't be nearly as effective with any additional modifier: i.e. the Lapsed Catholics, the Devout Catholics, the Guilty Catholics, the Pedophilic Catholics, et al. That would've been trying too hard. And if you've ever been to a Catholic church service, you know Catholics don't try very hard. Most show up looking like they've just rolled out of bed or are on their way to a tailgate or something. Torn jeans, football jerseys, baseball hats, cutoffs, you name it. No fucking respect for the fictional man upstairs. If I were a deity, I'd be pissed at the disrespect. So it makes perfect sense that a rock band adopted the name as its own. If it tweaks the ego of just one real, unpickled, priest, it will have accomplished its goal.


21 THE ITALIANS

Holly & The Italians

Italian descent unverified

Where there's Catholics, there's Italians. You can't have one without the other. This name works because when you think of rock & roll, you don't immediately think of Italians, but without Italians we wouldn't have Frank Sinatra, Frankie Avalon, Madonna, Lady Gaga, Frank Zappa, Frankie Valli, Steven Tyler, Joe Perry, Bobby Darin, and countless others from throughout popular music history. Granted, you take the good with the bad, too. In the bargain you also get the ludicrous Jon Bon Jovi (formerly Bongiovi) and guitar wankers like Joe Satriani and Steve Vai. How many nationalities would effectively work as a backing band name? Not many. The Germans doesn't have the same cachet and the Holocaust affiliation eliminates it on principle. The French sounds predictably pretentious, not to mention oddly awkward in translation. The Australians has been rendered unusable by Crocodile Dundee stereotypes and is also a few too many letters. The Chinese or The Japanese seems culturally insensitive, perhaps due to current events or a history of unfair treatment in America. The Russians could get you poisoned if you're not careful. The Iranians is way too soon (unless you want an FBI file started on you). The Mexicans or The Africans? Too controversial. But somehow The Italians works. So why does it exactly? Mainly because Italians have a reputation as a fun-loving, wine-guzzling, pasta-eating, wedding-dancing, family-kissing group who know how to live it up with open hearts and open mouths. Sure, they also know how to execute a hit against another warring faction, but even that is a bankable stereotype that makes you think twice before saying any cross words to someone from the old country. They are, therefore, the perfect nationality to name a backing band after.*


*Also acceptable: The Bulgarians, The Brazilians, The Canadians, and The Micronesians.



20 THE DELAWARE DESTROYERS

THE DESTROYERS

George Thorogood & The (Delaware) Destroyers

"We will make a song destroy"

-Rogue Wave


Rock and roll is all about destruction. Barry McGuire's #1 hit foretold the "Eve of Destruction" and Iggy & The Stooges delivered "Search and Destroy." Kiss titled their breakthrough masterpiece Destroyer and the Soft Boys made it personal with "I Wanna Destroy You." Rock and roll was created to obliterate anything and everything in its path. It is my continuing claim that band names are usually best when they're simple, to the point, and don't try too hard to be clever or cool. From all of these perspectives, The Destroyers is hard to beat. What else would you want a backing band to do? Answer: Go out there and destroy them! That's all.


Note: I docked the band a few places because they dropped the "Delaware" from their name early on. While I usually follow the "less is more" mantra, in this case, I liked the longer version better. Mainly, because of the idea that destruction can come from anywhere—even from tiny, unassuming, harmless Delaware, Vice President of the Itty Bitty State Committee (Rhode Island being President). The state also had a rich history in military shipbuilding, so it made double sense to name the band after a once-booming local industry.



19 THE SCORCHERS

Jason & The Scorchers

Cowardly lion on guitar

If you're a great live rock band you take no prisoners. You even slash and burn the cornfields on the way out of town. You come, you play, you conquer. Otherwise, why do it? All great bands follow this kind of scorched earth policy. So why not name your backing band just that? Jason Ringenberg wasn't stupid. He rode into town, announced his intentions (with a super cool spoken intro, no less), and then burned the place down night after night, all with the help of his flame-throwing band. The word "scorcher" connotes heat—oppressive, blazing, uncomfortable heat. Scorchers is the perfect name for playing the devil's music.


18 THE PHARAOHS

Sam the Sham & The Pharaohs

The first documented pyramid scheme

Sam was a real guy. His name was Domingo "Sam" Samudio. He took the name Sam the Sham after someone made a joke about his terrible singing ability. Good news, however. When your big hit is a smash Top 2 novelty hit like "Wooly Bully," where most of the words aren't really sung in the traditional sense, vocal talent is optional. Nobody seemed to care in this case. To capitalize on their flash fame, Sam came up with the memorable shtick of wearing a turban and robe onstage while his band members, The Pharaohs, dressed up as King Tut's children (one, the black sheep I assume, a shepherd). It's doubtful such a politically incorrect ploy would last the afternoon in today's cancel culture, but this was the 1950s*! Nobody cared about offending people then! Yul Brynner was all the rage after playing the Pharaoh in The Ten Commandments, so it was a hot concept at the time and Sam seized on the trend. Taken on its own, out of that context, there's no denying that the image of a Pharaoh is stoic, mysterious, and powerful, someone able to rule over his vast Egyptian realm with the wave of a golden fist. If the Pharaoh could play the guitar, he'd surely have started a rock band.


*This wouldn't be the end of Egyptian imagery in rock and roll, of course, what with Steve Martin capitalizing on the King Tut craze with his own monster novelty single, "King Tut," in 1977 ("He gave his life for tourism!") and again in the late-80s when the Bangles gave us the novelty song, "Walk Like an Egyptian" (technically not intended to be novelty song in the traditional sense).



17 THE MUFFINS

Martha & The Muffins

Post-Seinfeld, name would've been Martha & The Muffintops

You have to be real careful, but picking a good backing band name may benefit from a little "reverse psychology" now and then. While most groups of the era were picking edgy or tough band names, this band of Canadians (that explains it!) realized the merit of going completely in the other direction—choosing something uncool, unthreatening, and just plain harmless instead. By doing so, just being alone on the other end of the spectrum makes you cool by being uncool. It's genius really. I personally would take great pride in telling my grandkids someday that I was once, back in my glory days, a Muffin.



16 THE WAILERS

Bob Marley & The Wailers

You the weed guy?

The Wailers is perhaps the ultimate name for a reggae backing band. Yes, I'm breaking my own rule here since The Wailers technically existed as an entity in the early-60s, but the majority of the American public wasn't aware of this earlier incarnation, so I'm making an exception. An exception I need to make because The Wailers couldn't be more perfect as a backing band name. This, after all, is what bands do—they wail! Wail on their drums. Wail on their congas and bongos (both, in this case). Wail on their guitars. There's just a whole lotta wailin' goin' on! Wailing is also historically important to the black experience. It has been associated with pain, grief, oppression, and anger over the years and wailing is often used as a release of sorts. In a way, this band name takes all that wailing and puts it in a new context, one striving for unity, joy and harmony. If a backing band can combine do all that, it's got to be on the list.


15 THE COMMOTIONS

Lloyd Cole & The Commotions

Young Elon Musk, far right

Considering Lloyd Cole is begging to be nicknamed "Llo-Co," it's surprising his band wasn't named the

Locommotions to capitalize on it. Probably a good thing in the long run. The song "The Loco-Motion" had already reached #1 twice (for both Little Eva and Grand Funk) by the time Lloyd formed his band in 1982, so it would've been a little played out by then anyway. If they'd gone that route, they wouldn't have made this list either. Instead they did the right thing and avoided cute and went with a name that stirs up images of frantic activity, which is what rock music is all about. So, since Motown miraculously hadn't used the name for one of its groups already, Lloyd seized the moment and a cool sounding backing band was born.



14 THE MOTHERS OF INVENTION

Frank Zappa & The Mothers of Invention

Grody to the max

Including this legendary backing band in the Top 25 was a necessity, to state the obvious. It's also a fitting name for a band known for their wildly experimental approach to music (driven by their demented leader of course). This is perhaps the best example of singer/backing band name congruity on this list. Their mantra: If something doesn't exist, create it. If nobody has thought of something, think of it. And best of all, if someone hasn't played it, let's play it ourselves. The name is a tribute to the creative process and is to be celebrated for that.



13 EL RAYO-X

David Lindley & El Rayo-X

This is how people took photos in the 80s

What makes frequent Jackson Browne collaborator David Lindley's band name special is its mysterious and intriguing undertones. What is an El Rayo-X exactly? A Spanish anti-alien weapon? The Mexican CIA? A cabal of underground criminals? The answer is less exciting—it's Spanish for "X Ray"—but it wouldn't be the first time an English word has sounded much better, and far more exotic, in another language. In this case, despite that fact, it still sounds pretty fucking cool.


12 THE CONTORTIONS

James Chance & The Contortions

We're not taking the picture until he ditches the saxophone

Certain words just ooze rock and roll. Contortions is one such word. Bringing to mind a carnival sideshow act who can stuff his or her frame into a small box by dislocating appendages and bending things in ways they aren't supposed to bend, it's the ultimate in doing anything and everything to entertain a crowd. Which is very rock & roll. When I think contortions, I think Iggy Pop twisting, turning, and gyrating all over the stage. I think Alice Cooper singing while strapped into a guillotine. I think of Pink swinging upside down on a rope over an amazed audience. Your backing band should bend over backwards, sometimes literally, to please an audience. The Contortions were built to do just that.



11 THE SILVER BULLET BAND

Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band

Someone's been trying out his "Silver Bullet" Hair Dryer!

The Silver Bullet Band. It rolls off the tongue in a pleasing way, requiring some heavy lip action along the way. Surprisingly, it's also the only group on this list that includes the word "Band" in its proper name. You may then ask: Is the word "Band" even needed in a band name? Isn't that implied? Why not just Bob Seger & Silver Bullet? It might've worked, actually. If we had only known them as Silver Bullet since they formed in 1973, we probably would still consider it a pretty good band name. But there's something to be said for getting used to something over time, and in this case, the flow of the name seems to work much better as it is. It's an announcers dream. Since Bob Seger is such a short, generic sounding name, it seems natural to augment it with a longer, flashier band name. Silver Bullet alone would've made the introduction of the band a bit choppy and halting. Much like parents with a super-basic last name can afford to give a snazzier first name to their child (Dehavailland Smith, for example), so it goes with band names. Dehaivalland Smith and The Silver Bullet Band would've been way too much of a mouthful (just ask Nathaniel Rateliff). But sub in Bob Seger and you've got something with some real panache.


The main reason this is a good band name, however, is the concept of the "Silver Bullet" itself, whose origin is primarily based on every boy's (and some girl's) childhood hero, The Lone Ranger, who was a hugely popular action hero for much of the 20th century. On the show, the "Silver Bullet" was proof of the Lone Ranger's authenticity, often used as a symbol of justice, and symbolically demonstrated an inherent respect for human life (silver bullets ain't cheap, so don't waste one without serious thought). The silver bullet was an integral part of his moral code and was also super cool to impressionable youngsters everywhere (although they aired episodes while my family was in church each week, which really turned my fucking crank against organized religion, to be honest with you). That said, the term "Silver Bullet" has gone on to become a universal term for a "magical" solution to a vexing problem. In a pandemic, the "Silver Bullet" could be a newly developed vaccine. In law, it could be a surprise piece of evidence at a murder trial. When killing a werewolf it could be, uh, a silver bullet actually. Well, you get the idea. In other words, it's a secret weapon, capable of making something happen when nothing else will do. And it's no secret to Bob Seger fans that the Silver Bullet Band is his not-so-secret weapon. After all, it's right there in the name.



10 THE FAMILY STONE

Sly & The Family Stone

Original member Andy Samberg, far left

Is this cheating? It technically qualifies, so here it is in the Top 10. I'll get to the why in a moment. Sly Stone is the leader of this "family" band, without a doubt, so he wisely gets top billing. His "family," comprised of a couple real family members and many "adopted" band mates, is everybody else who is brave enough to live in Sly's wonderful but whacked universe. Words are important in band names. If the band was called Sly & the Stone Family it wouldn't be as interesting to me. But with those two words reversed, I love it. It adds a level of regal propriety to the name, like they are being announced by a British butler, about to descend into a high society banquet at Windsor Castle. Ladies and gentleman, Sly and the Family Stone! There's also something heartwarming about a name that includes everyone at the table, not just immediate family. Everyday is thanksgiving when you're a member of the Family Stone. But fair warning: I'd pass on the LSD-infused mashed potatoes.



09 THE MINDBENDERS

Wayne Fontana & The Mindbenders

Stoned for the first time

The name was inspired by a 1963 movie of the same name and came at the start of what could be explained as a mortal fascination with the possibilities of the human mind. Supernatural powers, brainwashing, altered states, you name it, came into vogue at this time, along with science fiction movies and books. So the name was not only cool sounding, but trendy, too. The connotation was that this band of adorable Brits could, perhaps with their songs, alter your very mind. It should be noted that all this happened well in advance of the era where super-illusionists like Uri Geller found fame claiming a supernatural ability to do amazing things with their minds, like bending spoons! What a practical skill! In truth, rock & roll was a form of mind-bending, as least if you believe freaked-out parents and priests who were sounding warning alarms of its unintended consequences back in the late-50s and 1960s.


08 THE BANSHEES

Siouxsie & The Banshees

Children of the Corn ten years later

It sounds like it must've been inspired by a crabby parent yelling at a bunch of unruly kids in the family basement ("Stop screaming like a bunch of banshees down there!"), but alas, no such backstory. Just the perfect name for a group of uninhibited musicians playing godawful music that'll ruin your eardrums if you don't turn it down now! The name benefits from a pleasing rhythm, with two metered syllables on each side of the ampersand, rhyming in the process. The intriguing spelling of Suzy (a very 50's malt shop name) on one side and her band of wild-eyed Banshees on the other makes for instant edginess, too. The only issue: a "banshee" is technically defined as "a female spirit whose wails warn of impending death," but the backing band members are all male. But the more I think of it, that only makes the name better, doesn't it?



07 THE VOIDOIDS

Richard Hell & The Voidoids

Rule #1: Never wear your own band's t-shirt during photo shoot

The Voidoids is a great backing band name because it is a completely bespoke word created to describe both the band members and their fans. Broken down, it's a perfectly descriptive slang term for Richard Hell's so-called "Blank Generation," a morally and mentally vacant group of young rebels whose altar was the stage at CBGBs in the latter half of the 70s. These zombie-like acolytes existed happily in this empty void in the Bowery, hooked on myriad habits, communing with likeminded voidoids, and worshipping punk bands who looked just like them, only cooler.



06 THE BLOCKHEADS

Ian Dury & The Blockheads

Naming of band by old lady actually caught on camera

Funny, self-deprecating, memorable. What more do you want? It gets even better if the group succeeds, as this one did (although much more in the UK than the US). From that point on, you can forever say, "I am/was a Blockhead" and people will be impressed by it rather than be sad for you in a Charlie Brown kind of way. In a pursuit as inherently absurd as rock stardom, often seen as the only viable career for many otherwise ill-equipped musicians, being called a Blockhead would clearly could be considered a delightfully high compliment—perhaps a best case scenario even—by those in the band.



05 CRAZY HORSE

Neil Young & Crazy Horse

Think twice before implementing "office casual" dress code

They could've gone with "Wild Horses," but didn't, and thanks to the Stones, it wouldn't have worked out long-term anyway. There's something inherently more rock & roll about a "crazy" horse anyway. Not only wild, but also fucked in the head—that's rock and roll in a nutshell, especially in the 70s. Thankfully, they didn't go with "The Wild and Crazy Horse" which might've stripped us of a classic Martin/Aykroyd SNL skit in the process. So, we get Crazy Horse instead, smartly not pluralized which heightens its impact, although there is an air of historical insensitivity associated with it, since Crazy Horse was a Lakota Indian war leader who fought American settlers in the 19th century. Is a Washington Redskins-esque name change in the offing? Is appropriation of culture by a sports team better or worse than a rock band? I don't know. We make no such judgements here. It's a cool backing band name and that's all we require.



04 THE ATTRACTIONS

Elvis Costello & The Attractions

Elvis Costello & The Awkward Poses

This perfect backing band name works on multiple levels, which is what elevates its seemingly simple post-ampersand word pluralization to greatness. An "attraction" could be a number of things, but I first think of its traveling carnival connotation. There is a main act in the center ring, surrounded by a bowl of adoring men, women, and children of all ages. Here, we find the ringmaster, who will guide us through an evening of amazing feats of wonder and daring. That's Elvis Costello. But on the carnival grounds, if you poke around, you will find the Bearded Lady, Tattooed Girl, the Siamese Twins, The Human Pincushion, the Two-Headed Frog, and my personal favorite, Things In Jars. These side-show exhibits are The Attractions—viewed and appreciated, perhaps spoken of later in hushed tones, but definitely subservient to the grandeur of the main event when the evening ends. Hence, it's the ultimate name for a backing band. On another level, there is the concept of physical attractiveness. And with the, let's say "unconventionally bestowed," looks of Elvis Costello front and center, it makes sense to acknowledge the elephant in the room by admitting the supporting cast is more traditionally alluring to the opposite sex (thankfully looks alone aren't everything, but they do matter in terms of first impressions). There are not many groups where the frontman isn't also the sex symbol of the band and this is one of them. But the star eventually gets the last laugh, of course. Just ask Diana Krall.


03 DOUBLE TROUBLE

Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble

Taylor Swift & Double Trouble

The fact that they don't look like double trouble is unfortunate, but ultimately irrelevant to this discussion. Stevie Ray, who made one dubious fashion decision after the next throughout his short career, didn't help matters either. We can partially blame the 80s for this, but his band couldn't have been less dangerous looking—single trouble on a good day, but double trouble? Not a chance. Just look at these dudes. Tommy Shannon (far left) comes closest to a distinctive look, shown here after he and Stevie got back from an afternoon outing to Chess King. Chris "Whipper" Layton (second from right), relatively tame for once here, spent most of the 80s oscillating between looking like a member of the Stray Cats and Wham!, but always ended up looking like a douchebag frat-boy at a costume party instead. And Reese Wynans, keyboardist, not backroom accountant as promised by this photo (far right), couldn't have be more tame and unassuming. Could they bring it? Absolutely. That's what's of primary importance. Musically, they were undoubtedly Double Trouble.


02 THE BABYSITTERS

Baby Huey & The Babysitters

Just give him his stuffed lamb and send him to bed early

He wasn't born a Baby Huey (given name James), but he grew into one. A giant man, credited mainly to a glandular disorder, he owned his appearance, adopting the name of a huge cartoon duckling in the process. Gotta give the boy credit—he waddled with the cards life dealt him. He and his band followed the trajectory of the Temptations, smooth lite-soul early, heavy psychedelic soul late. It wasn't surprising that he bowed out of this life young, a victim of both his size and his drug addiction (a lethal combination). But when it was time to choose a backing band name could the decision possibly have been easier? Could there have been any other contenders? Ease and creativity in selection is no concern here—sometimes these things take work, sometimes they fall in your lap. Bottom line: the name is memorable, humorous, and visually appropriate, especially when your lead singer is a sweaty, oversized, baby-faced belter like Baby Huey. And, as it turned out, he really needed someone, perhaps a team, to keep a close watch on him. The name, playful as it is, now seems bittersweet as efforts to watch this big baby were ultimately unsuccessful.



01 THE BAD SEEDS

Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds

Even the current version of The Bad Seeds would slit your throat without hesitating

Rock & roll was built on rebellion, we all know that. It's a place where outsiders go to find a home when any other form of existence seems untenable. There's a black leather jacket and motorcycle element to rock & roll that lures in innocent young kids with its dangerous, sexually charged, beat. At least that's what people thought at the outset. To be a rock and roller was to be a bad seed, someone perceived to be a bad influence on others and a danger to society. In other words, the perfect name for a rock and roll band! Or, in this case, a backing band. It's amazing nobody thought to use it earlier than Nick Cave. The Seeds came close. They were an American band (known for their classic nugget "Pushin' Too Hard") from the mid-60s who seemingly were onto the same concept, but for some reason went sans adjective. Enter Nick Cave, who named his post-Birthday Party group after that band's last EP Mutiny/The Bad Seed. And if there's any band in history who fits the name more perfectly, I'd like to hear them. Nick's dark persona oozes from his pores, a riveting form of primal exorcism at its best, and if any artist's music deserves a backing band named the Bad Seeds, it's his. What kind of band can play this kind of gothic, demented, apocalyptic blues night after night? The answer is obvious: The Bad Seeds can.



And of course, for good measure...


Pickled Priest's Top 10 Terrible Backing Band Names...


10 THE CARDINALS

Ryan Adams & The Cardinals

Just what we need. A sexual predator and my least favorite baseball team all in one place.


09 THE PACEMAKERS

Gerry & The Pacemakers

Named after a device that keeps old folks with bad tickers alive. The perfect choice for a hip young rock band.


08 THE SOFT SKELETON

Emily Haines & The Soft Skeleton

If you're a necrophiliac this might be a good thing. Otherwise, no.


07 THE WARM INVENTIONS

Hope Sandoval & The Warm Inventions

Inventions might keep you warm (mittens, electric blanket, coffee, oven, whiskey), but what inventions come warm right out of the box? Fire perhaps? But that was a long time ago.


06 THE BEAVER BROWN BAND

John Cafferty & The Beaver Brown Band

Named after a paint color and of all the possible choices they picked one as boring as watching it dry.


05 THE RANGE

Bruce Hornsby & The Range

It's where the deer and the antelope play, not a band.


04 THE NEWS

Huey Lewis & The News

It has aways bothered me that they weren't called Huey Lewis with the News.


03 THE PINK MONKEY BIRDS

Kid Congo & The Pink Monkey Birds

There's simply too much going on here. Rule #1 when naming a band: Don't look like you put too much thought into it even if you did. That's not rock & roll.


02 THE AQUARIUM RESCUE UNIT

Col. Bruce Hampton & The Aquarium Rescue Unit

Desperate to be clever is no way to go through life.


01 THE CORAL REEFER BAND

Jimmy Buffet & The Coral Reefer Band

This is so funny! Do you get it? It's like if all that coral off the coast of Key West was really weed and you could actually smoke it. Wouldn't that be awesome? This name is not only stupid but also dated by about 80 years, way back to the original release of Reefer Madness back in 1938. It's a bad pun made by some drunken guy in an island bar that sounded so hilarious after 10 pina coladas, but was as rank and unappealing as a red and yellow vomit stain on your bathroom floor the next morning. Coral Reefer!! Whoooo hooooooo! Play "Margaritaville"!


More to come soon. We're getting all lubed up for an active summer!


Cheers,


The Priest