Firstly, let me say that I am a man who loves his music, all the way from Al Di Meola straight to Frank Zappa, with hundreds of names and many, many genres in between. It's good to keep an open mind about it, especially with new groups and new material coming out all the time. But, open mind or not, there are just some artists I'll never be able to take seriously. Why? Their ridiculous, absurd and/or pretentious names, that's why.
Bands used to have simple, properly spelled names like Rush, The Beatles, and The Who. And did the names matter all that much? No. All that mattered was that they played fantastic, rocking tunes. Now it seems in order to get noticed, you need a name that stands out somehow. As a result, we've ended up with horrifying names like Limp Bizkit, or blatant Simpson's references like Fallout Boy.
Is band naming easy? I don't think so, but some just don't work. Many come across as fun and original, and others just seem silly and overdone. I say, let the music speak for itself, especially since names can lead to lofty expectations.
Here are a few of modern rock's worst offenders:...And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead -
From last.fm: "According to the band’s website, the name is taken from both an ancient Mayan ritual chant and an Egyptian burial text. Band members have also claimed that they made it up because it sounded cool and discovered the association after the fact."
Really? The first reason would be almost OK (maybe a bit snobby) if the name wasn't so damn long. But the second reason erases that completely by making the name seem lazy. Rather than being poetic and taking the time to find fewer words to express a larger idea, they just went with a long drawn out phrase that's almost as annoying to say as supercalafragalisticexpialadoshus. From Autumn To Ashes -
Oh! Let me try to figure this one out! Is their music the spark that sets all of autumn's dry leaves on fire, leaving nothing but ash in its wake? Bad. Ass. Right? Frankly, they could have called themselves 'My Throat Is On Fire' (and let's face it, the singer's must be), and achieved the same goal. Puddle Of Mudd -
Now here's a case where the name is awful and also indicative of the music itself. In the same amount of words, they could have been 'Pile Of Crap' or 'Puke On Rye' and still been the exact same band, albeit more honest about their craft. Staind -
When I think of Staind, I think of how deeply emotional their fans seem to get about the music. But then, in addition to the missing letter 'e', I start to think about coffee stains, love stains, skid marks, and blood on the carpet. Once I've gotten there, I'm more concerned about avoiding laugh induced pee stains, and the cycle breaks itself. Panic! At The Disco -
I could probably forgive their effeminate, heavily eye-lined look, and the ever-present onslaught of downright didactic lyrics if not for the name. It fits the modern mold too well: an artsy sounding moniker for a band with sharp-dressed men whose hair shows obvious signs of product abuse.
If the band Helmet could get away with a simple name, and played their metal in t-shirts and khaki's, why are we now faced with such a stylized mess? What other bands have names that just don't do it for you?