Guide to Choosing a Band Name

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According to WordPress, this was my most read post back in the day. Here it is reproduced in all its glory. I think this essay is pretty solid, if you ask me.

If you’re in a band the most important thing you can do is choose a good name. Music, as with most bands, is of secondary importance, if any at all. If you wish to be famous it is imperative that you choose a memorable name.  A catchy name. A name that says “Hey, we are the coolest thing going for the next ten or fifteen minutes.”

Take a look at the band names the kids are using these days: My Chemical Romance, Panic! At The Disco, Death Cab For Cutie. If you want to be popular you should make sure that your name doesn’t make a lick of sense. You can achieve this effect by writing a bunch of words on paper, throwing the paper into a hat, and choosing at random. You’ll get a lot of clunkers like “Farty Bubble Bakery” or “Car Dog Orange” but if you keep at it you’ll get some winners like “Troubadour Pandemonium,” “Buncha Funky Monks,” or my personal favorite: “Bone Toe Potato.” All of these are excellent band names. You can also accentuate the band name with random, unnecessary punctuation – “Troubadour~Pandemonium?” or “Buncha!Funky%Monks)”.

Now if you’re in a metal band you really have to be a bit more careful. Think about what kind of metal you play. Is it the sad-sack, whiney nu-metal? Then go one word that tells everyone how little your parents hugged you like “Bereft” or “Solitude.” Are you a power metal outfit? If so your name should reflect the fact that you can’t write lyrics about anything but The Lord of the Rings. Actually, just go ahead and pick your name from that trilogy and you’ll be off to a good start. Put a dragon on the album cover and watch the nerds flock! If you’re playing rap metal you can pretty much get away with anything because it can instantly be made “ghetto,” “street,” or “real” by misspelling it. At first glance a band called “French Maids” wouldn’t sound very cool, but if you spell it “Phrench Maidz” your awesomosity level goes up at least 7 points.

On the off chance you get popular you can separate from your original group and make music on your own (or at least get producers to make music just for you), you can actually use your own name as the band name! Sometimes this will work right out of the box (see Dave Matthews Band) but for the most part you’ll want be famous first so that people will recognize your name and buy whatever garbage you put out. Your name emblazoned on the cover will be all the review they need. Though if your name is something like Basil Von Poopington, IV you might want to think about changing your name. Though I don’t know Basil Von Poopington and the Pooptones sounds pretty cool to me.

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