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Sonic Boom


June 22, 2001|By RICHARD MONTENEGRO, Weekend Ticket Editor

A name can make or break a band. Look at the Crash Test Dummies, Geggy Tah or 4 Non Blondes, bands that flirted with mainstream success only to be relegated to obscurity thanks to a goofy name (and less than great music).

OK, a name may not be the deal-breaker with the popular consciousness, but it is an important component of a band's identity and has a lot to do with whether anybody takes the group seriously.

It for these reasons, and others, that naming a band can be one of most difficult and funnest tasks on Earth.

First, one must decide whether the tone of the band is serious or not so serious. Names such as Blink-182, *NSYNC or Molly Hatchet don't exactly ooze with integrity and artistic statement.


Then again, short monikers such as U2, REM, Nirvana, Saxon or Krokus do little to bring attention to those bands' musical importance and social relevance.

I guess what it all boils down to is what you like and how willing your bandmates are to being saddled with a name for the duration of a career, however obscure that career may be.

For some, naming a band comes easily. In the case of the Spinal Tap meets The Go-Go's band my wife and her friends put together — Pussy Kat Delight, or PKD — a name was chosen and a conceptual direction for the group's next four albums and plans of a national tour were conceived before the all-girl trio ever even learned a song.

In my case it hasn't been so easy.

Having recently played a birthday/keg/another-excuse-to-get-snookered party with buddies Boo Boo and Brandon, we went at it with 13 or so songs and no name.

Sure, we sat down over a couple beers and attempted to name ourselves, but as we got more glazed, naming a band just seemed like work and we didn't want to take what we were doing too seriously.

One of the names we did come up with — Scary Hill — seemed like the best choice because it poked fun at another friend who shall remain nameless.

Nevertheless, naming a band isn't easy.

In my tireless research aimed at bringing about the most thoughtful column of our time, I again consulted the hub of all accurate information and intellectual pursuit: the Internet.

Punching the phrase "band names" into a search engine, I came with all kinds of kooky stuff, including a library of really cool, really weird real band names, as well as a random band-name generator.

Some of my favorites from "The Canonical List of Weird Band Names" include Ancient Chinese Penis, Caltransvestites, The Fat Chick From Wilson Phillips, Hard Drinkin' Housewives, Hugh Jorgan and The Four Skins, Jim Jones and the Kool-Aid Kids, John Cougar Concentration Camp, REO Speeddealer, Richard Cranium, Brian Jonestown Massacre and The Fred Mertz Experience.

There were hundreds of names, and most of my favorites are unprintable as they are sexual in nature. It's been my experience sex and drug references make for the best band names.

If curious, the site is at

The name generator, "Band-O-Matic," at, was of particular interest. Some sort of word scrambler spits forth different names every time you click on the name button with your mouse. After about 30 tries, the generator starts spewing forth variations of earlier names. But it's cool; it's all part of the novelty.

On nine tries in a row, my options were Butt Flambe, The Inferior Catwomen, Digital Sandwich, Loveproof, Infected Ketchup, Broom's Beer, Lace Nimbus, Disease Farm and Red-Nosed Trouser Elves.

(Really, I had done 10 in a row, but the managing editor thought one of the entries was far too nasty for publication.)

The best name, however, didn't come until around 17 or 18 tries into it — Wedded Bris. I'd definitely consider that one.

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