YOUR BAND NAME (PROBABLY) SUCKS
In my 25-plus years as a working journalist, the only article I ever wrote that elicited a call directly to my home phone was one like this
The last time I wrote an article like this, I received threats of violence on my home voice mail. You may be wondering, “What, pray tell, was that article about? Was it your ‘Godless in the Bible Belt’ cover story? Or possibly the one about Jacksonville’s underground bondage community? Or the thing you wrote about the child molester?”
Nope. In my 25-plus years as a working journalist, the only article I ever wrote that elicited a call directly to my home phone comprised a list of the worst local band names. That’s right, a fan of Hot Cotton, which I picked as the worst local band name at the time (about a decade ago, though memory fails on the precise date), felt so compelled to defend his favorite band’s honor that he found my home phone number and left a profanity-laced Southern-drawl tirade on my voice mail.
It’s been a while since I’ve been threatened for putting words to page, so I thought I’d give it another go-’round. Truth is, most band names suck, and picking the worst is akin to shooting fish in a barrel — lots of dead fish in a very shallow barrel.
There are categories into which most band names fall, some specific to a decade or genre while others are universal through time. For instance, in the ’90s, the worst band names had female names in them: Alice in Chains, Naomi’s Hair, Jennifer’s Car, Jane’s Addiction and Marcy Playground are but a few cringe-worthy examples. There was a time when “wolf” names were considered cool, but most of them sucked, too: Wolf Parade, Wolfmother, Wolf Eyes, Wolves in the Throne Room. Metal and doom bands are notorious for horrible names: Prostitute Disfigurement, Job for a Cowboy, Goblin Cock, Behold … The Arctopus (ellipses included).
And then there is the Holy Crap This Band Has the Longest, Stupidest Name Ever variety. In this category fall … And You Will Know Us By The Trail of Dead (again, ellipses included), The Presidents of the United States of America, and The World is a Beautiful Place and I am No Longer Afraid to Die. And possibly the dumbest band name in history: !!!, which I’m told is pronounced “chk chk chk,” which somehow makes it even stupider.
So this brings us to today in Northeast Florida, and the five worst band names I’ve seen around town. Keep in mind, this isn’t a comment on their music. I haven’t even heard some of these bands. This is an aesthetic judgment only, one that may lead to me getting my ass kicked over the phone. So, without further ado … here it goes. (Had to throw in some ellipses of my own.)
• The Plan B Band: Why, oh why, would you name your act The Plan B Band? The first (and only) thing that comes to my mind is the morning-after pill, and I think I speak for the majority here. A Top 40 cover band, Plan B dresses to the nines, plays a wide variety of likeable music and specializes in weddings. No word on whether they provide the bride with emergency contraception.
• Askmeificare: Maybe I have a general disdain for intentional misspellings and combining several words into one, but this irks me. And I confess, I like this band’s tune “Ex-Boyfriend.” It reminds me of Orange 9mm’s heavier stuff. But the name, if it’s supposed to imply rebellion, suggests mere laziness. Askmeificare. Eh, not really.
• Stump Water: Yes, there is a band called Stump Water. A quick Google search reveals that stump water is a backwoods remedy used to cure warts. Yum!
• Ultra Suck Mega Fuxxx: Not sure what they’re shooting for here. If they’re going for offensive, they missed the mark entirely. Instead, those three Xs reek of desperation. If there’s a joke in there, inside or otherwise,
I don’t get it. It was funny when Primus did it back in the ’90s. Sort of. But if they’re hoping to give off a low-budget gonzo porn film distributor vibe, well, BINGO!
• Stayne Thee Angel: There are so many things wrong with this name, I don’t know where to begin. The intentional misspellings might suggest there’s a double meaning, were a comma employed following “Thee.” Still, being stained by an angel seems less threatening than simply unpleasant. This band’s drummer wears a gas mask, which certainly adds an air of menace to the proceedings. But in the end, what we have is yet another unsuccessful attempt to twist an innocuous phrase into something deep, dark and meaningful.
By the way, there are a handful of local band names that I really appreciate. Ginormous J and Squeedlepuss come to mind. But the A-number-1, top-of-the-list, greatest band name ever?
Jacksonville’s own … Glitterpiss.