Do you ever hear a band’s name and think, “How would anyone ever think of that?” Sometimes it seems like they pick random words out of a hat, slap it on an album and then go from there. And honestly, some might. Here are 10 bands that have made quite a name for themselves, and the story of where their names began.
- Lynyrd Skynyrd
This southern rock blues group picked their name in a mockery of a gym teacher, Leonard Skinner, who had given the boys a hard time for their long hair when they were in school. According to Independent, this was not the only way they harassed their former teacher, “in 1975, they used a sign from an estate agent business that he had moved on to run as the cover of the album Nuthin’ Fancy, neglecting to remove his name or telephone number. Skinner was inundated with calls from fans from around the world.” Eventually, the feud died out and the teacher became friendly with the band, even introducing them at a concert at the Jacksonville Memorial Coliseum.
There are a lot of rumors around the etymology of Blink-182’s name. Some believed the “182” came from the number of times Al Pacino says “fuck” in the movie Scarface. Another speculation was that the “182” was the ideal weight of bass player Mark Hoppus. However, the truth is simply that the band, whose original name was “Blink” was threatened with a lawsuit from an Irish band with the same name. They added the numbers on the end to avoid this legal trouble.
- The Rolling Stones
While on the phone discussing a gig, guitarist Brian Jones scrambled when asked for a name. Scanning the room he saw a “Muddy Waters” record that happened to have the song “Rolling Stones” on it. The rest is history.
- Arcade Fire
This band name has quite a grim origin. Frontman Win Butler had a classmate tell him a story about an arcade burning down killing a group of kids. This stuck with Butler long enough to become the name of his band.
- Led Zeppelin
This hard rock band took a negative comment and turned it into a name the world will not soon forget. Keith Moon, drummer for The Who playfully said the band would go over like a led balloon. Balloon was swapped out for “zeppelin” which is essentially a blimp.
- Vampire Weekend
Singer Ezra Koeing is an artist of many trades it seems as this indie rock band got its name from a film he had begun shooting a couple of years before the band took off. The movie was about a man in Cape Cod, who must warn the mayor of a vampire evasion. Apparently, he lost interest quickly, abandoning this flick after just one day. He later edited the footage into a trailer for the band, and soon after Vampire Weekend was born!
- Foster the People
This band can chalk their name up to a simple misunderstanding. Bandleader Mark Foster originally dubbed the band “Foster & The People.” People got it wrong and the band just went with it.
- Fall Out Boy
Strangely enough, The Simpsons was responsible for the name of this pop-punk group. Fallout Boy was the name of Bart Simpson’s favorite superhero, Radioactive Man’s, sidekick. They used the name as a jokey placeholder at their first show but when the next show came up and the band tried to introduce themselves as something else a fan yelled out “Fuck that, no, you’re Fall Out Boy!”
AC/DC is an abbreviation for Alternating Current/Direct Current and is supposed to refer to the raw energy the band radiates in their music and at their performances. This name was coined after Marcus and Angus Young’s sister noticed the AC/DC initials on a sewing machine. Much to their surprise “AC/DC” is also bisexual slang. The band didn’t intend for this to happen but said it worked out because it helped them get gigs at “gay-themed events.”
Joey Kramer had this iconic band name picked out all the way back in his high school years. After hearing Harry Nilsson’s “Aerial Ballet” he started thinking up band names with “aero” in them. Eventually coming up with “Aerosmith.” From that day on he would write the name in his school books dreaming of the day he could have a band with this name.