What’s in a band name?

ABBA – Abba is “father” in Hebrew but the band claims that to be unintentional – rather it is an acronym for the first names of the band members: Agnetha, Björn, Benny and Anni-Frid (Frida).

AC/DC – 1) It is said that one of the band member saw it on an appliance and thought it had something to do with power. (It does mean “alternating current / direct current”.) The band used it not realizing it was also slang for a bisexual- the band claims NOT to be bisexual.
2) In the vogue of other anti-everything bands it stands for Against Christ/Devil’s Children.

ALICE IN CHAINS – a funny rumor is that they were named after a lost episode from The Brady Bunch series!

AMBOY DUKES – Ted Nugent’s original band – taken from the title of a 1940’s book about street gangs by Irving Shulman.

ANTHRAX – A dangerous bacteria that used to infect many cattle in Europe & could be used for terrorism.

ASPHALT BALLET – The name came from a motorcycle accident Julius was in where the motion of the bike rolling over on the asphalt road was termed an “Asphalt Ballet.”

AQUA – suggested by a Danish AQUArium poster that was hanging in their recording studio.

BIG BAD VOODOO DADDY – this neo-swing band takes its name from what legendary bluesman Albert King wrote as an autograph for the band’s leader, Scotty Morris… “To the big bad voodoo daddy.”

B-52’s – The beehive hairstyle popular in the 1950’s (worn by band members) was called a B-52 after a type of large US Air Force bomber plane with that designation.

BACKSTREET BOYS – The Backstreet Market was a store in Florida where the guys used to hang out.

BAD COMPANY – A 1972 modern cowboy movie starring Jeff Bridges.

BAD ENGLISH – One day the band members were playing pool and thinking about a name for the
band. John Waite went to take a shot and missed. Someone made a comment on how bad his “English” was – English referring to the spin you put on a ball according to where on the ball your stick hits.

BAUHAUS – an artsy name, after a style of graphic design and famous school of architecture.

BEASTIE BOYS – According to Michael Diamond, BEASTIE stands for Boys Entering Anarchistic
Stages Towards Internal Excellence.

THE BEATLES – 1) original member Stuart Sutcliffe came up with THE BEETLES , as a play on Buddy Holly’s group THE CRICKETS who they loved. They were using the name THE QUARRYMEN and sometimes THE SILVER BEETLES – later it became THE BEATLES emphasizing the BEAT aspect of music (and poetry?). 2) Lennon lists the influence of the film “The Wild One”, which featured a motorcycle gang called the Beetles (unconfirmed). John Lennon is generally credited with combining Beetles and Beat to come up with THE BEATLES spelling. Lennon was also fond of saying he had a vision as a child of a flaming pie in the sky that said “You are Beatles with an “A”

JOHN CAFFERTY and the BEAVER BROWN BAND – did the classic soundtrack to the movie Eddie and the Cruisers. The band from the Cranston Rhode Island area was practicing in one of
the band member’s garages when they saw a Dutch Boy paint can that was called Beaver Brown.

THE BEE GEES – the 60’s soft-rockers now best known for disco. “Saturday Night Fever” – some say the BG comes from “Brothers Gibb” since they were brothers named Gibb… however an article on the group suggests that they used the names of 2 friends that helped them get started: Bill Goode and a DJ named Bill Gates… I’ll go with the first version.

BELLE and SEBASTIAN – was a French T.V. series in the early seventies about a little boy and his dog, a Saint Bernard named Belle. Belle was put to sleep after she injured another child.

THE BLACK CROWES – it was originally named Mr. Crowe’s Garden, after a favorite children’s book. They sang under that name until they signed with Def American Records in 1989. They renamed themselves at the suggestion of a producer.

BLACK SABBATH – from a 1960’s cheap horror movie starring Boris Karloff , suggesting a holy day of witchcraft.

BLACK UHURU – Uhuru is Swahili for freedom, therefore “Black Freedom”.

BLIND MELON – slang for an out-of-work hippie (Weren’t they all?) – they were called that by Shannon H’s dad – also recalls an old blues singer, Blind Lemon – Melon being an anagram for Lemon.

BLINK 182 – Blink 182 supposedly has NO meaning at all but the band fosters stories on origins. Sample: used to be just “Blink” but was threatened by a lawsuit from a little known Irish band with the same name, so they added the 182 which is the number of times the f-word was said in one of the members favorite movies.

THE BLOODHOUND GANG – was a segment on the PBS kid’s show 3-2-1 Contact! in the 80’s
about 3 kids who were detectives, solving mysteries and fighting crime and such.

BLOTTO – source: http://www.blotto.net/ – “Blotto actually began as the Star Spangled Washboard Band, a bluegrass combo with plenty of country corn. With their live show, ” Radar Beans ” and tracks like “I Get a Charge Out of You” and the medley “The Battle of New Orleans / Does Your Chewing Gum Lose Its Flavor,” the Washboard Band received enough acclaim to appear twice on the televised Mike Douglas Show. Then the group folded. Four alumni from the Washboard Band continued their musical careers by performing monthly at the Saratoga club “17 Maple Avenue”. They later added a bass player, a drummer and a female vocalist, and renamed their band Blotto, after the dog in the 1930’s novel Nightlife of the Gods.” 2) the word is also slang for being totally drunk.

BLUE CHEER – 60’s nickname for high-quality LSD, and coincidentally a brand of laundry detergent (the band used the detergent idea on their album cover with “New, Improved, Blue Cheer” – surprised they didn’t get sued for it.

BON JOVI – from the New Jersey bandleader Jon Bon Jovi, whose real name is John Bongiovi, Jr.

BOOKER T. & THE M.G.’S – Booker T. led the band and M.G. stands for Memphis Group not the once-popular car.

DAVID BOWIE – born David Jones, he changed his name to avoid confusion with David (Davy) Jones of THE MONKEES.

BUCK CHERRY – possibly a goof on the often heard speaking disorder wherein the speaker will interchange the first letter{s} in two successive words i.e. “I have just received a Blushing Crow
{crushing blow} Metallica uses such a device in their album entitled “Cunning Stunts.” Buck Cherry would then equal Chuck Berry, famous classic rocker.

CHERRY POPPIN’ DADDIES – the leader of this modern big band, Steve Perry, says it comes from an old R&B record and that it “sounded sexy.”

WENDY / WALTER CARLOS – Walter Carlos was a synthesizer composer who had a big hit with “Switched on Bach”, after getting a sex change operation, he became she and goes under the name Wendy. http://www.wendycarlos.com/

CASSANDRA COMPLEX – an allusion to Greek mythology; Cassandra had the gift of prophecy with the curse of no one ever believing her

CHEAP TRICK – they say the band members asked a Ouija Board what they should call themselves.

CHICAGO – Their first album was released as “Chicago Transit Authority”, but the city of Chicago sued them because Chicago Transit Authority is the name of Chicago’s public transportation department so they shortened it. Don’t record companies check these things before they release them?

CHUBBY CHECKER – the host of American Bandstand (once the most popular American music TV show) Dick Clark’s wife thought up the name as a take off on singer Fats Domino. Chubby “invented” the dance called “the twist”

CHUMBAWAMBA – In a band member’s dream, he didn’t know which door to use in a public toilet because the signs said “Chumba” and “Wamba” instead of “Men” and “Women”

COLLECTIVE SOUL – a term used in the popular novel “The Fountainhead”, by Ayn Rand.

COLOR ME BADD – Sam Watters said the name was an attempt to remove racial, sexual and musical overtones – “If you want to color us as anything, color us as badd.” Originally called TAKE 1 (but another group was using the name), Jon Bon Jovi asked them to open a Bon Jovi / Skid Row concert with “Daddy’s Home” sung a capella. Jon said, “You guys think you’re pretty bad. Let’s see how bad you are in front of 15,000 people.”

COUNTING CROWS – Comes from old English nursery rhyme which had to do with predicting the future from the numbers of birds seen. Originally the rhyme was about magpies, but as people came over to America, crows were used instead. From the song “A Murder of One” one of the versions of the rhyme goes “one for sorrow, two for joy, three for girls, four for boys, five for
silver, six for gold, seven for a secret never to be told…” Adam Duritz liked the rhyme…

THE CRANBERRIES – originally called Cranberries Saw Us ( a joke on Cranberries SAUCE) they changed it to the shorter form later.

CREED – This popular Florida band was named after former bassist Brian Marshall’s
earlier band Mattox Creed. www.creednet.com

CREEDENCE CLEARWATER REVIVAL – unconfirmed origin: after Norvel Creedence, a friend of John Fogerty’s . His favorite beer was called Clearwater, after a brief absence from the marketplace it was re-introduced by another brewery – hence Creedence Clearwater Revival.

THE CULT – Goth/Rock band ‘The Cult’ were once known as ‘The Sudden Death Cult’, then
shortened to ‘Death Cult’, then finally just ‘The Cult’.

DEACON BLUE – took their name from a song of the same name by STEELY DAN.

DEF LEPPARD – Joe Elliot, lead singer, wanted to use the idea provided by the band Led Zeppelin’s logo and transformed what he originally had as deaf leopard.

THE DEFTONES – Because when they started out, people thought they were so bad
that they called them tone deaf – transposed to def tones.

DEPECHE MODE – from the name of a fashion magazine, meaning hurry up fashion

DEVO – shortened form of “de-evolution” – the opposite of evolution – expressing the band’s opinion on what the planet is going through.

DEXY’S MIDNIGHT RUNNERS – named themselves after the slang term for a pep pill called DEXEDRINE even though the band themselves had a policy of no drink or drugs!

DION AND THE BELMONTS – BELMONTS after a street in their Bronx, New York neighborhood where they would hang out & sing street corner harmonies.

DMX – Dark Man X

DOOBIE BROTHERS – a doobie was 60’s slang for a marijuana joint.

THE DOORS – Jim Morrison read poet William Blake who said “if the doors of perception are cleansed, everything would appear to man as it truly is, infinite. “He was also influenced by author Aldous Huxley who referred to the same line when he titled his book on drug experimentation The Doors of Perception. “There are things known and things unknown and in between are the doors” Official Doors web site is at http://www.thedoors.com/

DURAN DURAN – named after a character in the Jane Fonda movie Barbarella.

BOB DYLAN – His real name is Robert Zimmerman – he liked the poet Dylan Thomas.

DYNAMITE HACK– A line in the movie Caddyshack describing marijuana.

THE EAGLES – originally called TEEN KING AND THE EMERGENCIES , they liked the American sound of Eagles and the way it was aligned with THE BYRDS who had a great influence on them.

ELTON JOHN – Real name: Reginald Dwight. Created from two other British musicians: Elton Dean and Long John Baldry.

EMINEM – from his real name Marshall Mathers he took M&M and rewrote it phonetically as Eminem.

EVERCLEAR – Named after the “Everclear” brand of 190 proof grain alcohol used to make dangerous alcoholic drinks.

EURYTHMICS – a method of music instruction from the 1890’s that emphasizes physical response to the music..

EVERYTHING BUT THE GIRL – from an ad for a British clothing store that would sell you “Everything but the Girl” that you saw in the ad.

EVE 6 – a phrase they heard in an X FILES episode.

FASTBALL – from a porno film the band saw – Mike Zuniga says it was “a typical porno movie but about baseball. It’s like a really raunchy Bull Durham.”

FOO FIGHTERS – a term used by World War II pilots to describe strange flying fireballs they sometimes saw.

FLEETWOOD MAC – a simple one. They just took the last name of drummer Mick Fleetwood and a form of bassist John McVie’s last name.

FAITH NO MORE – named after a race horse they saw listed on a racing form.

FOUNTAINS OF WAYNE – the name of a garden center on Route 46 in Wayne, New Jersey. http://home.earthlink.net/~johncw/fow/html/gen_info.html

GARBAGE – Either lead singer Shirley Manson’s father yelled down to the band at one of their basement practice sessions, “Play more quietly – you sound like garbage.” or from a friend of Butch Vig (the drummer of Garbage), who said “This stuff sounds like garbage!” check their site at http://www.garbage.com/

GENESIS – The first book in the Bible – their first album’s title was “From Genesis to Revelation”

GIN BLOSSOMS – slang for the “blossoms” (burst blood capillaries) on the face particularly the nose from drinking too much alcohol – in the late 1800’s gin was a popular cheap alcoholic drink.

GODSMACK – The metal band “Godsmack” was much thought to be named after the Alice in
Chains song of the same name. But according to the band they arrived at the name after one band member made a particularly inappropriate comment and another remarked “God will smack you for that one”. Hence forth one would receive a “Godsmack” for bad behavior.

GO BETWEENS – from a film directed by Joseph Losey.

GOO GOO DOLLS – used to be called the Sex Maggots, and when they were told that local newspapers wouldn’t print that name, Jonny Rzeznik picked up a magazine from the early 60’s with an ad for a doll that cried Goo Goo when you turned it upside down.

GOLDFINGER – after the James Bond movie.

GRAND FUNK RAILROAD – a version of “The Grand Trunk Railroad” ; a Michigan landmark.

THE GRATEFUL DEAD – originally called The Warlocks, Jerry Garcia found out that another band had the same name. Supposedly, he looked in a reference book at random and found a folk tale about a troubled soul who is put to rest by a traveler. The spirit then helps the traveler with his own quest.

GREEN DAY – 1) It may have come from the sci-fi movie Soylent Green when they said “Tuesday is soylent green day.” Soylent green was a food produced by a corporation to feed the way overpopulated masses; turns out they were also making it from the masses! 2) Another story is that when they dropped out of school to be musicians, their principal said “It’ll be a green day in hell before you make anything of yourselves”. 3) Some say that in drug slang – if you smoked pot and goofed off all day, it was a “Green Day.”

GUNS ‘N’ ROSES – originally two bands L.A. GUNNS and HOLLYWOOD ROSES. Hollywood Roses was headed by Axl Rose, Tracii Guns headed the other band which also featured Slash. The two frequented clubs and played there and were friends.

HEAVEN 17 – took their name from a group mentioned in the novel A CLOCKWORK ORANGE by Anthony Burgess that was made into a popular film by Stanley Kubrick. In a scene in Kubrick’s film Alex is browsing in a futuristic record shop and checks out an album by the ‘Heavenly 17’.

HOOTIE AND THE BLOWFISH – from the nicknames of two friends of singer/guitarist Darius Rucker – one with owl-like eyes (Hootie), another with the puffy “Blowfish” cheeks.

JANE”S ADDICTION – The band got it’s name from a girl (Jane) that Perry Farrell knew back in L.A who was a prostitute and called it her addiction.

JETHRO TULL – popular 70’s band that is named after the rather obscure inventor of the farmer’s seed drill.

JUDAS PRIEST – originally a mild curse said to avoid saying “Jesus Christ” – also from the Bob Dylan song “The ballad of Frankie Lee and Judas Priest”.

KMFDM – KEIN MEHRHEIT FÜR DIE MITLEID, loosely translates as “no sympathy for the majority.” Founded by SASCHA KONIETZKO from Germany. When Englishman RAYMOND “PIG” WATTS joined the band he never pronounce the name so he just started calling it by the initials.

KING CRIMSON – from the official website http://www.elephant-talk.com The band’s original lyricist, Peter Sinfield, created it as a synonym for Beelzebub, which is derived from the Arabic phrase “B’il Sabab”, meaning “the man with an aim.” (Another, more common etymology of “Beelzebub” is that it is Hebrew for “Lord of the Flies.”) In John Milton’s ‘Paradise Lost’, Beelzebub was Satan’s chief lieutenant among the fallen angels. Often seen as a red (crimson) figure, he is King of the underworld.

KING MISSILE – is a popular Japanese comic book character.

KISS – According to Paul Stanley, Kiss just sounded dangerous (kiss of death) and sexy at the same time. Kiss denies the rumors that the name stands for “Kids In Service of Satan” or the saying “Keep It Simple Stupid.”

KORN – There are many stories as to how the name originated, however the most believable is that Korn starts with Kern County which is where Jonathan worked as a Coroner. From that came “KoRn”. It was then decided that it would be written like a child would write it, hence the K
instead of a C, and the backwards R.

LED ZEPPELIN – Jimmy Page was drinking with Moon and Entwhistle, who were bitching about their band mates Daltrey and Townshend. They joked about the two of them starting a band with Jimmy, and one of them said “Yeah, that will go over like a lead balloon”. When Jimmy formed his own band, he remembered this and thought “Lead Zeppelin” would be good, both from that conversation and the heavy/light contradiction similar to the band named IRON BUTTERFLY. They decided to drop the “a” so Americans wouldn’t mispronounce it.

LEMONHEADS – a type of candy.

LEVEL 42 – 1) From the supercomputer in the great & hilarious novel The Restaurant at the end of the Universe, (part of the “The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy” series) computed the meaning of life to be 42 2) Also a possible reference to a sign in the strange film Brazil that says “Level 41”.

LIMP BIZKIT – Got the idea from Fred Durst’s dog Biscuit who has a limp.

LL COOL J – for “Ladies Love Cool James”.

LOVE AND ROCKETS – a popular comic book title.

LOVIN’ SPOONFUL – 1) from the lyrics of the old song “Coffee Blues”. Possibly a drug reference to the spoon used to heat & melt drugs such as heroin for use. 2) Also that the amount of the sperm ejaculated by the average male is about a spoonful (see also the band 10cc

LOS LOBOS – Spanish for “The Wolves”

LYNYRD SKYNYRD – Named after Leonard Skinner, an annoying gym teacher/coach some of the members had in high school. Leonard is said to have moved on to sell real estate in Jacksonville, Florida.

MARCY PLAYGROUND – frontman John Wozniak would look out the window of his third grade classroom and see that playground and wish he could play there – but he didn’t because there were bullies there that would beat him up… must have been traumatic.

MEGADETH – Dave Mustane was inspired by a government pamphlet he saw after leaving METALLICA. A Megadeath is a military term for one million dead (making World War II an 80 Megadeath)

MELVINS – You give someone a melvin by approaching from behind, and yanking up on the waistband of their underwear as hard as you can (also popularized on SEINFELD as a “wedgie” A “Melvin” was also a nerd synonym.

METALLICA – Lars Ulrich was helping a friend think of a name for a metal fanzine. The choices were Metal Mania and Metallica. Metal Mania was chosen for the magazine & he used Metallica for his band.

THE MIGHTY MIGHTY BOSSTONES – This ska/punk band from Boston originally called themselves the BOSSTONES in tribute to their hometown. An ad for one of their gigs called them “The Mighty Mighty Bosstones” and it stuck.

MIND BENDERS – This 60’s band that appeared as themselves in the film “To Sir, With Love” was named after a 1962 British horror movie

MISFITS – A 1961 movie starring Clarke Gable and Marilyn Monroe.

MONSTER MAGNET – 1) Dave Wyndorf, lead man in Monster Magnet, collects sci-fi/Horror collectibles, one is a model called “The Monster Magnet” 2) The Mothers of Invention’s first LP Freak Out has that title as its first track.

MOTHERS OF INVENTION – Frank Zappa’s highly experimental band was originally just called the Mothers, their record label asked them to change it (because it could be taken as an obscenity) and out of necessity they added “of Invention” since “Necessity is the mother of invention.”

MÖTLEY CRÜE – A friend said “What a Motley looking Crew” – motley meaning “of great variety” and once describing the appearance of a court jester. The re-spelling was their own invention using the umlauts (those funny dots over letters) came to them while they were partying & drinking Lowenbrau beer.

MOTORHEAD – British slang for a drug user who uses a lot of speed

NIRVANA – In Buddhism it means the state of perfect blessedness attained through the annihilation of the self.

‘NSYNC– Justin’s mother came up with the name. N is the last letter in Justin, S is the last letter in Chris, Y is the last letter in Joey. N is actually from James Lance Bass because Chris gave him the nickname ‘Lansten’. Since Lance doesn’t end with a N, they used his nick name,
Lansten. C is from J.C. That’s how they came up with ‘NSYNC. (info from T.J. Gernon, Illinois & Andrea in San Diego) The whole thing is, of course, a play on In Sync – a term which comes from the movie industry – meaning when the picture & soundtrack are properly aligned or synchronized.

NO DOUBT – a favorite phrase of John Spence, it became the name of the band prior to his suicide.

NOBODY’S ANGELS – inspired by the U.S, TV series and later film Charlie’s Angels.

OASIS – local British origins: a Manchester cab company, a chain of women’s clothing stores, a local Indian restaurant and more likely a local club that The Beatles played in during their early years (the band are avowed Beatles fans

OUR LADY PEACE – The band took their unusual name from a 1943 poem by American poet Mark Van Doren. link to information

PANTERA – Spanish for Panther and also a pretty cool car.

PEARL JAM – 1) Eddie’s grandma supposedly made a peyote (hallucinogenic drug) jelly/jam , which as kids they called pearl jam. 2) I’ve heard a couple of times that “Pearl Jam” comes from NBA player Mookie Blaylock — it’s his nickname. Band members Stone Gossard and Jeff Ament
were huge fans of Blaylock, loved his peculiar name and wished to just call their band “Mookie Blaylock” but Blaylock protested, so they used his nickname “Pearl Jam” instead.

PHISH – A play on drummer John Fishman’s last name… altered spelling as in THE BEATLES.

PINK FLOYD – taken from the names of two Georgia bluesmen Pink Anderson and Floyd Council – from the early days when the band saw itself as a blues band.

PORNO FOR PYROS – 1) Perry Farrell was reading a fireworks catalog on tour when a friend said the magazine looked like “porno for a pyro(maniac)” – a pyromaniac being one who loves fire. 2) Perry Farrel was up one night late watching the TV coverage of the LA riots and the fires and
couldn’t take his eyes off the screen. He said it was like “porno for pyros”.

PORTISHEAD – The name of their home town in England.

PROCOL HARUM – terrific art rock band was named by lyricist Keith Reid – a term he thought to be Arabic for “beyond that which is” – also the name of his cat.

QUICKSILVER MESSENGER SERVICE – Some of the band members were into astrology,
and noted that one or more of them were born under the House of Mercury. As Mercury
is the name for both the messenger of the gods and the liquid metal, the latter of which is also called quicksilver, Quicksilver Messenger Service was born.

RADIOHEAD – Named after a Talking Heads’ song called “Radio Head.”

RAMONES – Paul McCartney used to call himself Paul Ramone. The Ramones all use the last name Ramone even though it’s not their given name.

REO SPEEDWAGON – the name of a fire engine made by Oldsmobile in the 1930’s. “R.E.O.” was the initials of Ransom Elliot Olds, the founder of the Oldsmobile Car Company.

THE REPLACEMENTS – Legend has it that they were given a gig after another band failed to show – when asked who they were they replied “We’re the Replacements”.

R.E.M. – in the study of dreams, the abbreviation refers to rapid eye movement or that time during sleep when an observable movement of the eyeball occurs indicating that the person is in a dream state. Band member Michael Stipe has said that this is not why the band picked the name.

THE RIGHEOUS BROTHERS – The Righteous Brothers supposedly changed their name when a fan at one of their appearances yelled “That’s righteous, brothers.” I don’t know what they called themselves before. Righteous being a late 1950’s slang for great, cool etc.

THE ROLLING STONES – from the Howlin’ Wolf blues song “Rolling Stone” – Keith Richards was a fan of the version recorded by Muddy Waters.

SAMHAIN – The Celtic New Year, which has evolved into Halloween – the spirit of Halloween sometimes Americanized to Sam Haines.

SAVAGE GARDEN – a phrase from an Anne Rice novel “Interview With The Vampire”

SAVE FERRIS – a sign you’ll see if you watch the movie Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.

SEPULTURA – the Brazilian death metal band Sepultura name is the Portugese/Spanish word for a grave or burial tomb.

SEVEN MARY THREE – a police radio code for 7M3, it was also one of the motorcycle cops radio name on the old TV show C.H.I.P.S. (California Highway Patrol ) mid-70’s.

SILVERCHAIR – 1) The Silver Chair is one of the titles in C.S. Lewis’ “Chronicles of Narnia” in which Prince Rilian of Narnia is held captive under the spell of the witch who killed his mother.
During brief moments of returning sanity he is restrained in a silver chair. He is rescued when two children magically transported from earth, and a dour resident of Narnia find him and destroy the chair thereby lifting the curse. 2) A combination of “Sliver” by Nirvana and “Berlin Chair” by You Am I. They were requesting the songs from a radio station and the name was inspired by notes a band member made to himself to remember the song titles while he was calling the station. * Original name of band: Innocent Criminals.

SIMPLE MINDS – taken from a line in the David Bowie song “Jean Genie”.

SISTERS OF MERCY – A tribute to the Leonard Cohen song of same name; also an order of nuns.

SKID ROW – Slang for a rundown inner city neighborhoods where alcoholics, junkies, street people can afford to live.

THE SMITHEREENS – Inspired by the cartoon character Yosemite Sam’s classic line, “I’ll blow you varmints to smithereens”.

SOFT MACHINE – The name of a William Burroughs novel.

SOUNDGARDEN – A garden of kinetic sculptures that makes music when wind blows through them… a sculpture in Seattle called “Sound Garden”.

SPEEDBALL – A deadly drug cocktail mix of heroin and cocaine.

SQUIRREL NUT ZIPPERS – an oddly titled type of candy.

SMASH MOUTH – football players use this slang term in any game with a lot of blocking or tackling.

STEELY DAN – taken from William Burrough’s book Naked Lunch. In it Steely Dan is the nickname given to a giant steam-powered dildo (see cover photo on their first album)

STEPPENWOLF – in the words of band leader John Kay “Steppenwolf was originally a book written by Herman Hesse, (a German author) and it was a book I was totally unfamiliar with when the band that became Steppenwolf was in its infancy. The young man who lived next door to where Steppenwolf started to rehearse (by the name of Gabriel Mekler, born and raised in Israel) he had read the book. When it came time to put a name on the demo box that was going to go to the first label, he said “Well, what is the band called?” and aside from the obvious joke names and other obscene suggestions which were not marketable, he finally said, “Well look, how about Steppenwolf’? I think it’s a word that looks good in print, and it denotes a certain degree of mystery and power and you guys are kind of rough and ready types.” Everybody said that sounds pretty interesting and if we don’t get a deal we can always scrawl another name on the box and send it to somebody else, so let’s go with that for now. Well, that’s what it’s been now for many years and, to be honest, it’s been a very good name.” source John Kay & Steppenwolf

STYX – named after the river of death found in Greek mythology and in Dante’s Inferno.

10,000 MANIACS – extension of an old horror movie called “2000 Maniacs”.

10 CC – the average amount of ejaculate from a healthy male.

TALKING HEADS – probably from the video jargon for a camera shot showing only the head & shoulders of a person. Newscasters are usually shown this way and it makes for boring TV. Another story says they were inspired by a military experiment involving talking mannequin heads.

TESLA – from the largely unknown but important inventor Nikola Tesla who did important research in alternating current, radio, fluorescent lights, X-rays, microwaves…

THEY MIGHT BE GIANTS – named after the cult film favorite starring George C. Scott about “loonies.” The film is also referencing Don Quixote, by Miguel Cervantes. In the book, the title character says “they might be giants” when referring to the windmills he attempts to fight.

THIRD EYE BLIND – Our third eye is the imagined one that gives us a kind of sixth sense (telepathy, ESP, etc.) and the band felt that most of us are blind in that sense. There is also a symbolic third eye (all knowing eye) that appears on the back of a U.S. dollar bill.

THOMSON TWINS – two characters in the Tintin comics by the late Belgium artist Herge.

THREE DOG NIGHT – Inspired by an Australian Aboriginal custom of sleeping with a dog for warmth on a cold night – a three dog night would be very cold, plus the band had 3 lead singers.

TLC – nicknames of band members: Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins, Lisa “Left Eye” Lopez and Rozonda is “Chilli” Actually Crystal was going to be the C of TLC, but when they auditioned for Laface, an exec didn’t like Crystal’s voice, so they replaced her with “Chilli”. TLC was going to originally stand for Tionne, Left Eye and Crystal. The idea of “Tender Loving Care” must have worked for them too.

TOAD THE WET SPROCKET – A skit from Monty Python’s Flying Circus which is about a weird rock band.

311 – “One of P-Nut’s friends (Jim Watson) was arrested, cuffed (naked) and taken home to his parents. He was issued a citation for a code 311 (indecent exposure). We thought this was funny, so we took it as our band name. After the humor of the name wore off – we still kept it because we liked that it was just abstract and that it did not define us in anyway. The name did not describe our sound or our politics, it just let the music speak for itself. Since most interviewers always ask us “What does 311 mean?”, we have come up with lots of different answers over the years. Some include…. Nick – “five friends making music”, Tim – “a number dictated to me by a higher intelligence”, P-Nut – “knowing a little numerology and studying a little magic, which I do; in some factions, three is man and 11 is magic. So 311 is like male magic.” from their official site http://www.311music.com

T PAU – after a high priestess from the planet VULCAN in the American TV series STAR TREK

U2 – Three possibilities: 1) A type of spy plane used by the United States in the 1960’s – made famous when Gary Powers’ U2 plane was shot down over Russia and he was taken as a
prisoner during the Cold War. 2) U2 as in “you too” referring to the audience and its role in the musical experience 3) a U2 is an unemployment form in Ireland (see UB40)

UB40 – Code number of a form people in Britain have to fill out to receive public assistance or welfare. Known in the UK as a signing-off form when you get a job. Hence the title of their first album Signing Off.

ULTRAVOX – Latin for “the greatest amount of voice”

URGE OVERKILL – The name of a Parliaments’ funk song.

VAN HALEN – after Alex and Eddie Van Halen – suggested by David Lee Roth as being better than their original name “Mammoth.” They might have been called ‘Daddy Longlegs’ if Gene Simmons of KISS had gotten his way – he partially financed and produced one of their original demo records and suggested names and artwork.

VERUCA SALT – from a female character in the movie Charlie and the Chocolate Factory ( AKA Willy Wonka) played by Julie Dawn Cole (who is not in the band)

THE VELVET UNDERGROUND – 60’s experimental band associated with pop artist Andy Warhol, they took their name from a paperback book they found on the street – the book was about sex in America.

WEEZER – Band member Rivers Cuomo had the nickname Weezer in school because of a breathing problem.

WHITE SNAKE – from a white albino ball python snake owned by David Coverdale while in DEEP PURPLE.

WHITE ZOMBIE – An old horror “B” movie.

WINGS – Paul McCartney’s band – 1) in the Paul/Beatles song “Blackbird” you’ll hear “Take these broken wings and learn to fly” which is what he did in his next album – a solo effort. 2) When Linda McCartney was giving birth to their daughter Stella, Paul was pacing around hoping everything was going well and he was praying and started thinking of angels and wings. Wings just stuck in his mind.

YO LA TENGO -translates to “I have it” from Spanish – said to be the phrase called out by Hispanic baseball players when fielding a pop fly ball. Singer/guitar player Ira Kaplan got the expression from a book he was reading about baseball called The Five Seasons.

ZZ TOP – taken from the name of a Texas Blues man ZZ Hill. Though a rumor is that they got their name by combining Zig Zag and Top, two well known brands of “cigarette” rolling papers.