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21 Unusual Band Names You’ll Wish You Came Up With

One of the toughest challenges faced by musicians is choosing a name for their band. However, some artists make it look easy, coming up with band names which exceed most people’s imaginative capabilities. Here, in alphabetical order, is a list of 21 unusual band names which we’re still trying to get our heads around. You don’t want to miss some of these.

Bowling For Soup

From: Wichita Falls, Texas

Years active: 1994 – present

Members: Jaret Reddick (lead vocals, guitar), Chris Burney (guitar, backing vocals), Erik Chandler (bass, backing vocals, acoustic guitar), Gary Wiseman (drums, percussion, backing vocals)

Genre: Pop-punk

Best known songs: Girl All The Bad Guys Want, High School Never Ends, 1985, Almost

Reason for name: Bowling For Soup’s name is a reference to comedian Steve Martin’s routine about a game show called “Bowling for Sh–.” However, fearing the repercussions of having a swear word in their name, the band opted for Bowling For Soup.

Camper Van Beethoven

From: Redlands, California

Years active: 1983 – 1990, 1999 – present

Members: David Lowery (lead vocals, rhythm guitar, keyboards, bass, drums), Victor Krummenacher (bass, baritone guitar, vocals, occasional lead vocals), Jonathan Segel (violin, guitar, keyboards, sitar, mandolin, vocals, occasional lead vocals), Greg Lisher (lead guitar, backup vocals), Chris Pedersen (drums, backup vocals)

Genre: Alternative rock

Best known songs: Take The Skinheads Bowling, Pictures Of Matchstick, Eye Of Fatima, Good Guys And Bad Guys

Reason for name: The name Camper Van Beethoven was coined by one of the band’s former members, guitarist David McDaniel. According to David Lowery: “McDaniel was into this stuff that would sound like it made sense, but really it didn’t… He’d watch a lot of TV, accept all this mass-media stuff and spit it out all chopped up. I got the whole absurdism influence from him.”

Congratulations on Your Decision to Become a Pilot

From: Oshkosh, Wisconsin

Years active:1999 – 2001

Members: Unknown – however, someone on a forum said that the drummer was their “English professor in college”.

Genre: Alternative rock

Best known songs: Congratulations, Orange Impossible, Why Should You Read Books That Don’t Exist

Reason for name: A friend or family member of the band was passionate about aviation, perhaps? We have no idea!

Crispy Ambulance

From: Manchester

Years active: 1977 – 1982, 1999 – 2008, 2014 – present

Members: Alan Hempsall (vocals), Robert Davenport (guitar), Keith Darbyshire (bass), Gary Madeley (drums)

Genre: Post-punk

Best known songs: Deaf, From The Cradle To The Grave, Are You Ready?

Reason for name: As we’ll discover throughout this blog, friends often have integral roles to play in unusual band names. Alan Hempsall said in an interview: “A close friend (Graham, who did our first single sleeve) thought it up. He has a way with words, and I thought it was such a nondescript name (silly too) that we decided on it. Also, at the time every other band was called ‘the…’ (fill in blank space) whereas our name gave nothing away with regard to image, musical style etc., but at the time captured the imagination.”


From: Glasgow

Years active: 2006-2011

Members: Callum Gunn, John Baillie Junior (both vocals), Duncan Robertson, David Foy (both guitar), Ryan McGuinness (bass), Paul Bannon (drums)

Genre: Alternative rock

Best known songs: Black Wax, Some Dresses, Muscle Memory

Reason for name: As you may have guessed, the band’s name is a play on the name of Canadian actor Dan Aykroyd, star of Ghostbusters and The Blues Brothers.

Echo and the Bunnymen

From: Liverpool

Years active:1978 – 1993, 1996 – present

Members: Ian McCulloch (vocals, guitar), Will Sergeant (guitars, programming)

Genre: New wave

Best known songs: The Killing Moon, The Cutter, Lips Like Sugar, Nothing Lasts Forever

Reason for name: As Will Sergeant explained: “We had this mate who kept suggesting all these names like The Daz Men or Glisserol and the Fan Extractors. Echo and the Bunnymen was one of them. I thought it was just as stupid as the rest.”

Flowers Must Die

From: Linköping, Malmö

Years active: 2006 – present

Genre: Psychedelic rock

Best known songs: Hit, Kompost, Hey, Shut Up!

Reason for name: Flowers Must Die’s name comes from the 1972 song of the same name by Krautrock band Ash Ra Tempel. (For the record, we don’t endorse these cruel views).

Half Man Half Biscuit

From: Birkenhead

Years active: 1984 – 1986, 1990 – present

Members: Nigel Blackwell (vocals, guitar), Neil Crossley (vocals, bass), Karl Benson (guitar), Carl Henry (drums)

Genre: Post-punk

Best known songs: Joy Division Oven Gloves, Dickie Davies Eyes, The Trumpton Riots, Every Time A Bell Rings

Reasons for name: The expression ‘Half man, half biscuit’ is quite demeaning. According to the Urban Dictionary, this expression is used to describe an unattractive female, who looks more like a man than a woman. Ouch.


From: Agoura Hills, Los Angeles

Years active: 1994 – present

Members: Douglas Robb (lead vocals, guitar), Daniel “Dan” Estrin (lead guitar, backing vocals), Chris Hesse (drums, percussion, backing vocals), Jesse Charland (bass, keyboard, backing vocals)

Genre: Post-grunge

Best known songs: The Reason, Crawling In The Dark, Running Away, Out Of Control

Reason for name: The brother of lead singer Doug Robb stumbled upon the name while living in Germany. According to Chris Hesse: “There is this street out by his house that is called Hooba Street or something like that, and before Doug could pronounce the name, he called it Hoobastank, and it was kinda a cute thing, and his brother still teases him about it to this day.”

King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard

From: Melbourne

Years active: 2010 – present

Members: Stu Mackenzie (vocals, lead guitar, flute, keyboards, synthesizer, mellotron, bass guitar, sitar, zurna, clarinet, saxophone), Ambrose Kenny Smith (harmonica, keyboards, synthesizer, organ, vocals, percussion, guitar) Joey Walker (lead guitar, keyboards, synthesizer, vocals, bass guitar, sitar), Cook Craig (rhythm guitar, synthesizer, vocals, keyboards, bass guitar), Lucas Skinner (bass guitar, vocals, keyboards), Michael Cavanagh (drums, percussion), Eric Moore (drums, percussion, theremin, management)

Genre: Psychedelic rock

Best known songs: Rattlesnake, Gamma Knife, The River, Flying Microtonal Banana

Reason for name: Stu Mackenzie revealed that he wanted the name to be Gizzard Gizzard: “but I think everyone thought that was just stupid. Then someone else wanted a Jim Morrison King Lizard reference, and then Lizard Gizzard came up, then more rhymes, then a few fusion of names and we ended up King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard.” As they say, the rest is history.

Let’s Eat Grandma

From: Norwich

Years active: 2013 – present

Members: Rosa Walton, Jenny Hollingworth (both multi-instrumentalists)

Genre: Alt-pop

Best known songs: It’s Not Just Me, Hot Pink, Falling Into Me, Deep Six Textbook

Reason for name: As Rosa Walton explained: “It’s a joke about punctuation and about comma placement. You can have “Let’s eat, grandma,” which means “Oh grandma, let’s go have dinner.” And then you take out the comma, and it becomes “let’s eat grandma”. We literally just picked it as a joke.”

Let’s Get Out Of This Terrible Sandwich Shop

From: Chicago

Years active: 2004 – unknown

Members: Tony Mendoza (vocals, drums, Farfisa), Joanna Buese (bass), Thea Lux (vocals, guitar)

Genre: Indie-pop

Best known songs: Hatchet

Reason for name: Unknown, but it probably had something to do with a trip to a sandwich shop which didn’t have enough good options on the menu.

Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard

From: Wrexham

Years active: 2014 – present

Members: James ‘Carat’ Carrington (drums), Paul Davies (guitars), Wes Leon (guitar, synth), Jessica Ball (vocals, bass synths), Pete Edwards (bass), Ben Griffiths (live bass), Stuart Sinclair (live bass)

Genre: Doom metal

Best known songs: Y Proffwyd Dwyll, Cithuula, Les Paradis Artificiels, Nachthexen

Reason for name: The thinking behind Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard’s is quite simple. In the words of the band: “We just wanted to do a really heavy doom record and not try to be anything else. We thought the name reflected this. We needed a big name. All the name means something to us, but yes there are a lot of boring bands out there with boring names, so some people may think it’s a parody.”

Natalie Portman’s Shaved Head (later known as Brite Futures)

From: Seattle

Years active: 2005 – 2012

Members: Shaun Libman (vocals, cowbell, claps, tambourine, antics) Luke Smith – vocals, guitar, keyboard, drum programming, claps), David Price (keyboard, guitar, vocals, claps), Claire England (bass keyboard, vocals, claps), Conor Sisk (drums, vocals, claps)

Genre: Electronica

Best known songs: Me + Yr Daughter, Sophisticated Side Ponytail, Beard Lust, Hush Hush

Reason for name: The band’s name came about when Shaun Libman and Luke Smith were still in school. The pair decided on the name in reference to Portman’s physical appearance in the film V for Vendetta.


From: Santiago de Querétaro, Mexico

Years active: 1999 – present

Members: Isaac (vocals, drums), Saúl (vocals), Francisco (vocals, bass), Roberto (guitar)

Genre: Grindcore

Best known songs: Zombies, Viscera Infestada, Into The Grave Of The Infection And The Lust

Reason for name: It may surprise you to learn that the world’s longest band name, Paracoccidioidomicosisproctitissarcomucosis, is not a real word. The fictional word is apparently a medical term used to describe “a weird disease that contaminates carcasses, making them explode while killing everyone in a two kilometres radius”. A worthy entry in any unusual band names listicle!

Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs

From: Newcastle

Years active: 2012

Members: Matt Baty (vocals), Sam Grant (guitar), Adam Ian Sykes (guitar), Christopher Morley (drums), John-Michael Hedley (bass), Ewan Mackenzie (drums)

Genre: Psychedelic rock

Best known songs: Feed The Rats, Shockmaster, GNT, Cake Of Light

Reason for name: The band’s frontman Matt Baty revealed in an interview: “the name came from making music with a band on its last legs, which just wasn’t fun anymore. We just wanted to start a band that was fun. It’s a ridiculous name that I thought was a good fit.”

Rage Against The Machine

From: Los Angeles

Years active: 1991 – 2000, 2007 – 2011

Members: Zack de la Rocha (vocals), Tim Commerford (bass, backing vocals), Tom Morello (guitars), Brad Wilk (drums, percussion)

Genre: Rap rock/nu metal

Best known songs: Killing in the Name, Testify, Sleep Now In The Fire, Bulls On Parade

Reason for name: The band stumbled upon its name after hearing a song which Zack de la Rocha had written for his former underground hardcore punk band Inside Out. Kent McClard, who was associated with Inside Out, had coined the phrase “rage against the machine” in a 1989 article in his zine No Answers.

Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin

From: Springfield, Missouri

Years active: 1999 – present

Members: Philip Dickey (vocals, drums, guitar, songwriting), Will Knauer (lead guitar, songwriting), Jonathan James (bass, drums, backing vocals), Tom Hembree (bass)

Genre: Indie pop

Best known songs: Think I Wanna Die, Modern Mystery, Sink/Let It Sway, Oregon Girl

Reason for name: Despite what some may think, the name Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin wasn’t intended as a political statement. Instead, it was a tongue-in-cheek name created by a group of high school friends in tribute to the first President of Russia, who in their words ‘seemed like a good and decent man’. However, the band has gained exceptional notoriety from its distinctive and humorous name, recently enjoying lunch with Yeltsin’s friends and translators, and being named cultural ambassadors to Russia.

Test Icicles

From: London

Years active: 2004 – 2006

Members: Rory Attwell, Sam Mehran (both guitar and vocals), Devonte Hynes (guitar, keyboards and vocals)

Genre: Indie rock

Best known songs: Circle. Square. Triangle, Boa vs Python, What’s Your Damage

Reason for name: This rather unsubtle reference to the male reproductive gland was the idea of one of the band’s original members Ferry Gouw. However, if anything it’s a much more creative title than the previous incumbent, which was simply… Balls.

The Lonely Biscuits

From: Nashville

Years active: 2011 – present

Members: Grady Wenrich (vocals, guitar), Nick Byrd (bass), Sam Gidley (drums)

Genre: Alternative rock

Best known songs: Pacifica, Talk About, Chasing Echoes, Blue Grass

Reason for name: Originally called Gravy and the Biscuits, the band faced potential legal action because of this moniker. This prompted the band’s members to change its name to The Lonely Biscuits.

Toad the Wet Sprocket

Years active: 1986 – present

From: Santa Barbara, California

Members: Glen Phillips, Todd Nichols, Dean Dinning, Randy Guss

Genre: Alternative rock

Best known songs: All I Want, Walk On The Ocean, Fall Down, Something’s Always Wrong

Reason for name: Toad the Wet Sprocket’s name is derived from a Monty Python comedy sketch called “Rock Notes”, in which a journalist delivers a nonsensical music news report.

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