Band name drought

by Rob Horning

17 February 2010


I was just wondering how it is that doom rock bands from Sweden can get away with giving themselves elegantly concise names like “Witchcraft” and “Graveyard,” while bands in the U.S. feel obliged to come up with something (usually outlandish or unwieldy) that is not already taken on MySpace. And voilà, this WSJ piece comes down the pike about how difficult it supposedly is to name your band. It seems true that a cursory search will reveal that what you thought was a great, original idea was already thought up and acted upon by someone else. (I am still sad that both Black Horse Pike and White Horse Pike have MySpace pages.) It’s enough to make you pine for the legendary days of local garage-band scenes, where every township could have its own group called the Outsiders.

But really, this is not that huge of a problem. The Awl does a good job saying what needs to be said about the piece.

I mean, how hard is it to come up with a unique band name? Armed with only Google, a rhyming dictionary, and an urgency to get a post done, I challenged myself to come up with ten new group monikers for which there were no registered alternatives. It took three minutes.

The list he comes up with is worth clicking through to check out.

All that said, the matter of a band name isn’t something insignificant. It’s arguably as important as the music itself. There are lots and lots of bands, and if some can be ruled out by virtue of having terrible names, then they will be. Rare are the bands that are better than their names: Spoon is the only one I can think of off the top of my head right now. But legion are the bands with bad names that stink. 


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