Choosing the right band name and avoiding names like “Triple Sundae Melt”

I don’t want to go to Sunset Strip I don’t want to feel the emptiness Bold marquees with stupid band names I don’t want to go to Sunset Strip Warning: This may sound like a sort of “Old Man Yells at Cloud” story – particularly since I’ve addressed this topic previously – but I will not apologize for that. If you’re a fan of Cake (the band, not the dessert), you probably recognize those lyrics.

I am here to help you avoid being one of those bands with a stupid band name. Now, I’m not talking about bands like Foo Fighters, in which Dave Grohl himself has admitted that it’s a stupid band name. No, I am talking about those bands who take totally generic names. You know, like you were doing Mad Libs and one of the blanks specifically called for generic noun(s). In fact, The Generic Nouns would be a better band name than some that I’ve heard. I’ll give you an example, which on first glance doesn’t appear to be an existing band name, but if it happens to be your band name…well, it’s a stupid band name, and you should have chosen something else. The Necklaces is a good example of a generic band name. When you Google The Necklaces, the first result is a short story by Guy de Maupassant. Then of course you’d get into the websites for jewelry stores as well as “entertainment news” stories about necklaces worn by celebrities.

Now ask yourself this.

If you have a band name, why would you choose something like The Necklaces for your knowing that your fans will have to wade through a bunch of results about literature and jewelry before they get to your music? And if you really feel compelled to give your band the name of some generic noun, at least add another word. Sticking with the example of The Necklaces, make it The Garlic Necklaces, which gives it an anti-vampire vibe. Or add the word Atomic or something like that. Just do anything to make that name unique to your band. Why am I so concerned with what you call your band? Frankly, if you want to give your band some generic name, that’s up to you. I am merely giving you the perspective of a music journalist. I get loads of music submissions all the time, and guess what. If your band name is generic, the chances are pretty good that I’ll forget it, and therefore your music. And it’s not just me. Other people that see your band perform will probably be hard pressed to remember your name if you choose something nondescript. Furthermore, if it comes right down to it, and I have to search for your band, I’m going to have to wade through a lot of non-related results, and I may not even find your band after all. Let me just boil it down like this.

There are a million bands out there, so getting noticed at all is hard enough. But then if you choose some band name that is not memorable, fans and potential fans won’t remember you. You’re basically saying “We like playing music, but we don’t really want anyone to find us.” Well, how hipster of you. There’s no problem if you just want to get together and play music with some friends. But in that case why would you bother giving yourselves a performance name? It’s basically the same if you do come up with a band name like The Necklaces. Why bother if that’s the best name you can come up with? All I am saying is to avoid being one of those stupid band names on a Sunset Strip marquee or anywhere else. Choose a name that belongs to your band alone and not to a bunch of other topics completely unrelated to your music.

-End rant-

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