How 10 famous bands got their names

Puddle of Mudd, Mr. Mister, The The, Mott the Hoople, and Chumbawamba… These are just a few of the ridiculous band names we’ve come across in the history of music.

But what seems ridiculous to us might just have a delightful story behind it. Ever wondered how some famous bands got their names? Look no further! We’ve got you covered:

Lynyrd Skynyrd



We’ve all had that one teacher who disapproved of us. Whether it was our behaviour in the classroom, our grades or even the way we looked; we have all been there!

Three members of Lynyrd Skynyrd had one such teacher as well – Leonard Skinner. They decided to name their band after him, as a tongue-in-cheek tribute to their former teacher. Though he disapproved of their long hair in school, Skinner eventually became friends with several members of the band. He also capitalized on his fame by opening and naming several bars after himself!

Joy Division

Initially called Warsaw, the band decided to change their name when they learned of the punk band called Warsaw Pakt. They took their new name from House of Dolls, a novella that spoke about prostitution in concentration camps. The brothels in the camps were called Joy Divisions, and were used to reward non-Jewish inmates for their good behaviour.

 
Dead Kennedys

Though the band’s name might seem like a cheeky joke or an insult, Jello Biafra insisted that it wasn’t that simple. The band’s name has nothing to do with the Kennedys, or the assassination. According to Biafra, the band’s name is actually a reference to the death of the American dream!

Weezer

It isn’t easy being the odd kid at school, is it? When Rivers Cuomo was in school, he was often mocked for being asthmatic. What was the nickname he was given? Weezer. When the band got a chance to open for Dogstar in 1992, they decided to use that as a name since they couldn’t think of anything better!

Daft Punk


Before they formed Daft Punk, Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo were part of a rock band called Darlin’. However, this venture wasn’t as acclaimed as Daft Punk. In fact, a reviewer went on to describe their music as "daft punky trash". But being the good sports they are, the duo chose to take inspiration instead of offence, and Daft Punk was born!

Phoenix

Laurent Brancowitz, who plays the guitar in Phoenix, was also a part of Darlin’. When they parted ways, Laurent’s new band took inspiration from one of Daft Punk’s first singles. They named their band after Phoenix, a song we’ve all grown to love!

Hootie and the Blowfish

Friends can be the best source of inspiration sometimes, and Hootie and the Blowfish are proof of that. When he was in college, Darius Rucker had two friends with unique names. One of his friends who had an owlish face was nicknamed "Hootie", whereas the second friend had puffy cheeks and was nicknamed "Blowfish". These came together to name the band!

Vampire Weekend

In the summer between his freshman and sophomore year of college, Ezra Koenig watched a vampire flick called The Lost Boys. It inspired the singer to make his own short film, entitled Vampire Weekend. Though he eventually abandoned the project, it did inspire the name of the band as well as several song titles!

Guns N’ Roses

Tracii Guns of L.A. Guns fame was a part of the original Guns N’ Roses (then known as Hollywood Rose) line-up. When he and Axl Rose decided to join forces, they incorporated both their last names as the band’s name. That’s how Guns N’ Roses was born. Though Tracii was quickly replaced by Slash, the name stuck and we’re glad it did!

 
Arcade Fire

A fire in an arcade… Seems pretty straightforward, right? But what if it was a real fire? When lead singer Win Butler was in school, a fellow student told him a story about a fire at Exeter’s Arcade. He claimed that the fire had burned down the arcade and killed several people. To this day, the musician isn’t sure if the story was true!

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