The Shit List: Top 25 Worst Band Names EVER!


Gorky's Zygotic Mynci: "Hey guys, look, we finally topped a chart!"
We've all gasped in disbelief upon seeing an awful band name and wondering how stoned out of their minds they must have been during the "band name brainstorm session" to not only come up with such a name, much less stick with it. Here are some of our "favorites", if you will...in no particular order.

Gorky's Zygotic Mynci

I still have a hard time believing that an otherwise intelligent Welsh band chose to go with such a ridiculous name, That they succeeded in maintaining a rather successful career, culminating in a deal with Mercury Records, is quite an accomplishment, all things considered. Truth be told, they were actually quite listenable - imagine if The La's sang in both Welsh and English and you'll get the idea - up until they finally called it a day in 2006.

Apparently, what might seem like complete gibberish was actually derived from the following:

"Gorky" was school slang for "dimwit", "Zygotic" is a biology term meaning "fertilized egg cell", and "minci" is a direct spelling translation of the word "monkey".

For the rest of their lives, the members of this band get to tell anyone who might be interested one of two stories: 1) How much bigger they might have been if they'd chosen a different name, or 2) How big they became despite one of the most unpronounceable (not to mention difficult to spell) names to ever grace a marquee.

Geggy Tah

For years, I have seen this name staring back at me from the dollar bins of most used CD stores, but I've never ever heard a note of this band's music. Why, you ask? Because the name sounds like bohemian slang for "jock itch".

In actuality, this band is comprised of core members Tommy Jordan and Greg Kurstin. The name "Geggy Tah" is taken from the fact that each had a younger sister incapable of pronouncing their first name correctly, hence "Geggy Tah". The band cut three "critically-acclaimed" (i.e., poor-selling) albums for David Byrne's Luaka Bop label between 1994 and 2001.

Greg Kurstin is now a member of current hipster favorites The Bird & The Bee.

The The

Matt Johnson may very well be a musical genius, but you'd never know it due to the rocketing obscurity that calling his band "The The" has afforded him. Seriously, "The The"? Can you imagine the deafening silence on the other end of the phone when a young Matt Johnson starts calling booking agents?

"Yeah, hi, this is Matt Johnson from The The."
"The who?"
"The The"
"You got a stuttering problem, pally?"

If only...

Hootie & The Blowfish

Whose bright idea was it to call a band Hootie & The Blowfish? I mean, for starters, there's nobody in the band named Hootie. Bet Darius Rucker thought he was being really cute when he decided to name his band after two childhood friends of his (neither of which was ever in the band). I gotta wonder, though, if he realized then that he might spend the rest of his life being called Hootie both in front of and behind his back? As far as I'm concerned, that's not even close to being a fitting punishment for forcing us to listen to "Hold My Hand" and "Let Her Cry" a bazillion times in the mid-90's.

Garbage

I still laugh about the time Duke from Garbage was telling me how his mom still gives him a hard time about being in a band called Garbage. At the time, they were still together, at the height of their success, known all over the world, and she was upset that she had to tell her friends that he son was in a band called "Garbage".

Still, it's better than Spooner, I said. I laughed. He didn't. Oddly, we haven't spoken since.

(NOTE: Spooner was the name of the band that Duke Erickson and Butch Vig were in years before Garbage came to be, slugging it out in dive bars throughout the midwest throughout the 80's)

Jethro Tull

I'm sorry, Jethro is just not a name that inspires any sort of interest on my part. Maybe it's because whenever I hear the name Jethro, I, like millions of others, thinks of that backwoods mouth-breather Jethro Bodine from "The Beverly Hillbillies".

Then, of course, when you factor in just how unpleasant the band was to look at...trust me on this one...or that band leader Ian Anderson fancied himself quite the rock & roll flutist...meh.

Where did the name come from, you ask? Jethro Tull was actually a British agriculturist who invented the seed drill. Zzz.

Smashing Pumpkins

The story is that when Billy Corgan told future manager Joe Shanahan that the name of his band was "The Smashing Pumpkins", Shanahan literally begged Billy to change the name. Immediately.

Corgan, of course, refused to listen and the rest, as they say, is history.

Danny Joe Brown & The Danny Joe Brown Band

When Molly Hatchet's lead singer Danny Joe Brown quit the band at the height of their popularity, many said it was because his ego was out of control. Apparently so, as his first post-Molly Hatchet band was called Danny Joe Brown & The Danny Joe Brown Band, as if saying his name once wasn't enough. As if that weren't enough, I remember seeing an advance poster advertising the album's release that actually said, and I quote: "Danny Joe Brown & The Danny Joe Brown Band, featuring Danny Joe Brown." Needless to say, I didn't do a double-take, I did a triple-take and then laughed so hard milk came out of my nose...which is funny because I hadn't drank any milk. Needless to say, DJB and the DJB Band featuring DJB proved short-lived and the singer would eventually return to Molly Hatchet, where he belonged.

Puddle of Mudd

Never has a band's name so perfectly fit the sound of their music and, yet, here they are still putting out records and scoring hits twelve years after their first record sold over five million copies.

Sigh.

Dandy Warhols

I love this band, really I do, but I do so in spite of their horrible name. I'd have actually been into them much earlier if the name hadn't put me off so and, for that, I kinda wanna kick Courtney Taylor in the shins for choosing a name that sucked. I mean, seriously...Dandy Warhols?

Whatever.

Sponge

Thanks to Nirvana, the world of alternative rock was flipped upside down and every band on the planet had a band name that was intentionally lame, so as not to seem as if they wanted any actual commercial success. The members of Sponge were all refugees of the heavy metal world so the selection of the name "Sponge" was an attempt to hop on the bandwagon. It worked, too, for a little while at least. They did manage to put out a couple cool records for Columbia, including their second effort, "Wax Ecstatic" (which also has the distinction of featuring one of the worst album covers EVER!), before disappearing.

Poi Dog Pondering

Another band with a horrible name that still managed to get inked to Columbia. I remember seeing their first album in the record store and just being stunned at how awful the name was. At the time, they were based in Austin, TX, which I found to be oddly fitting. Then they did the unthinkable and moved here to Chicago, which has meant having to see that godawful name in print on an almost weekly basis for the past 20 years. Sigh.

I actually asked band leader Frank Orrall how they came up with such a name and he tried telling me it was the name that best fit the band's amalgamation of stylistic influences. Of course, it makes total sense that a guy who named his band "Poi Dog Pondering" would use the word "amalgamation" in explaining how such a name came to be. Personally, I think what he was trying to say was that the name wasn't half bad if you were stoned out of your mind, which I'm betting he was.

Toad The Wet Sprocket

Egads, do I vividly recall seeing their first album, immediately showing it to my buddy John, and the two of us laughing our ass off for the next five minutes.

"Toad The West Sprocket? Holy shit!!!"

I was convinced that the band would soon disappear into oblivion, as was the fate for most Columbia bands of the day, but damn if these book=wormish fellas didn't stick it out and finally hit pay dirt in 1991 with the hit singles "All I Want" and "Walk On The Ocean".

Still, the name remains just as hilariously awful today as it was the day I saw their first record.

Goo Goo Dolls

Back when the band was making bratty, lo-fi indie rock, I thought the name was absolutely horrible and a detriment to their forward progress. Now that the band is best-known for putting out schlocky mid-tempo movie ballads, it fits perfectly.

Mr. Mister

I think this band did Matt Johnson of The The one better by choosing one of the most innocuous words in the English language and repeating it. They didn't go the easy route and call themselves "Mister Mister" or, for that matter "Mr. Mr", they mixed it up a little and used both the abbreviation and the full spelling. Genius!

The Rembrandts

As much as I love Danny Wilde and Phil Solem, both formerly of one of my fave childhood bands (Great Buildings), calling themselves The Rembrandts was a huge misstep. I mean, for starters, it's not very rock & roll to name yourself after a painter. Secondly, how many people can spell Rembrandt correctly? There is that pesky silent "d" right before the "t", after all. Ugh.

Goblin Cock

Nuff said.

Sigur Ros

They're Icelandic, but still.

Cirith Ungol

I remember seeing an album by this band in a mail-order ad stuck in the back of some rock & roll magazine when I was a kid. The name stuck with me because, at the time, I thought it was the perfect name for a metal band that wanted to spend the rest of their career in absolute obscurity.

The name Cirith Ungol is taken from Tolkien's "The Lord Of The Rings", as the band members were heavy into the "Swords & Sorcery" stuff as kids, but now admit that maybe they'd have been better off coming up with a different name. D'oh!

Marianas Trench

It sounds dirty, doesn't it? Like a derogatory term for the vagina, or something. Of course, I've never heard anyone actually refer to the vagina as a "trench", but there are a few chicks out there for whom the tag would no doubt fit. Courtney Love, for example. Now, Courtney's Trench would be a cool band name, Of course, "Mariana Trench" refers to the deepest part of the ocean, located in the Pacific Ocean near the Mariana Islands. Why anyone in the band Marianas Trench thought that was a great idea for a band name is beyond me. They're Canadian, of course.

Limp Bizkit

Horrible band, Horrible front man. Horrible name. Massive success. Go figure.

Blink 182/Sum 41/Matchbox 20/Maroon 5

Okay, I dunno who came up with the idea to take a lame word...blink, matchbox, etc., and add a number, as if that somehow makes it interesting. It doesn't. Cut it out.

Superior St. Rehearsal Facility

2 comments:

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  2. For me, tUnE-yArDs is a bitch to type, and !!! speaks for itself.

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