BY ALBA DESANTIAGO
Here at eventseeker, we come across a lot of different types of bands when we’re on our hunt for awesome musicians and events. Sometimes, what we find is amazing, and sometimes, what we find is just a bit special. To share some of our discoveries with you, we’re starting a series of posts that focus on the aesthetic atrocities of band names.
Clearly the best way to become a famous rock band is to name your band after somebody famous, right? That seems to be the reasoning behind some of these unique, ridiculous and even offensive celebrity-inspired band names. Some of these bands end up finding success, while others end up suffering legal nightmares.
Recently, a little-known indie-rock duo named Beck & Cauthean was in the news because Beck, the well-known singer, producer and multi-instrumentalist asked it to change its name. Legally speaking, a band may be forced to change its name if a) it causes confusion with the name of another artist or b) the name is a misrepresentation or is misleading. In this particular case, Beck did not want to confuse his fans into thinking that he had started a new musical outfit in Texas, of all places. Beck & Cauthean complied, but not without issuing a rather sassy statement on their band website: “We don’t want to create confusion with Beck, or for that matter Jeff Beck, Glenn Beck, Beck’s beer, or any other Beck.” The band’s new name is Sons of Fathers, which frankly, does not make a whole lot of sense but at least gets its members out of a lawsuit.
Natalie Portman’s Shaved Head, a rock/electronic band from Seattle changed its name to Brite Futures; one has to assume that the talented actress was not amused. At least in this case, the band seemed to harbor some sort of admiration towards Portman. Other bands have not been so kind to their celebrity muses. John Butler Fucks Kidz was swiftly dealt a cease and desist order and ended up changing its name to Whatevermortal. BoNO MUST DIE also faced legal action from the U2 frontman, and much to the dismay of its fans, changed its name to oRPHANS, which actually seems quite fitting for a British death metal band.
Choosing a celebrity-inspired name does not necessarily guarantee utter failure and a crushing lawsuit. There are a few bands that not only managed to keep their names but have also enjoyed relative success. Portland’s The Dandy Warhols, best known for the 2001 single “Bohemian Like You,” took its name from the famous American pop artist. Interestingly enough, Andy Warhol himself was known to have a sick fascination with celebrities and fame. The members of Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. first considered calling themselves Counting Crows Part 2, but settled with naming themselves after the famous NASCAR driver. Dale Earnhardt Jr. was gracious enough to see this as a form of flattery and even contacted the band to say that he enjoyed its music. The band has also been known for performing in NASCAR racing jumpsuits and helmets—talk about dedication to the name. Scottish band, Dananananakroyd, not only took its name from the Canadian comedian, but also manages to evoke the classic Batman TV theme song. Gay for Johnny Depp, from New York, professes its admiration for the actor not only with its band’s name, but also through their song lyrics, which are often homoerotic and sometimes unbelievably profane. Youth Pictures of Florence Henderson, or YPOFH for short, is a Norwegian band that got its name from a line that they heard on television. The original line they heard was “nude pictures of Florence Henderson.” Swapping “youth” for “nude” seems to be a strategic move—who would want to ruin the wholesomeness of The Brady Bunch mom? John Cougar Concentration Camp, however, obviously did not have any regards to wholesomeness at all. The San Diego punk band with the morbidly hilarious name reformed in 2009 after a ten year hiatus. Someone Still Loves you Boris Yeltsin, by far the most romantically tragic sounding band name on the list, drew inspiration from the Russian president’s resignation on the brink of the new millennium.
If you want to pretend for a minute that you know more than we do about music, go ahead, send us your thoughts. Hit us with your best shot, we dare you 😉