Saturday, February 25, 2006

Band names part two: How to pick them

There are a lots of ways to pick band names, but I was going to try and narrow down some basic rules that I wish bands would follow.

Misspellings- Spelling a word or phrase different from the traditional way is a common practice in band names. Some times it works well such as Led Zeppelin or Def Leppard. Somehow they look right, I think it's that the phrase is not that silly and it works. Then there are misspellings like Motley Crue and Ratt which are okay. They are not spectacular, but not quite silly either. The problem is when you try to get too cute such as Tuff, Tigertailz and Rough Cutt. Names that sound like something a 12 year old would think is cool.

Words not to use- Anyone could probably make fun of a name if they try hard enough, but don't make it too easy for them to do this. Avoid putting words like Awful, Horrible or something like that. Also avoid combinations that make it too easy like death metal band Brutal Truth as it's just too easy for someone to yell "The Brutal Truth is you suck". A good non-metal example is Hootie and the blowfish. Hootie is bad enough, but it's never a good idea to put the word 'blow' in your band name.

Movie titles- It's not done that often, but normally it works and some examples are Black Sabbath, White Zombie and Faster Pussycat. It's normally done because someone in the band liked the film and they were inspired by it. Of course you want to pick a cool film because you don't want to call your band 'Ishtar', 'Gigli' or 'Leonard Part 6'.

Joke names-If you wanna be funny then that's fine, but just remember that it may be difficult if you try to change styles down the road. Ugly Kid Joe chose their name as a joke and they got started with a joke song. Then they tried to make it with semi-serious songs and it was hard because they had established themselves as a joke band and people didn't want to hear serious songs or maybe they just weren't that good to start with.

Colors- Not too many bands use just a color without an object, but the best example is Deep Purple. Deep Purple is just a solid classic name. Another color combination is Black and Blue who I liked, but it sounds like a bruise. You want to use cool colors so a name like Salmon Pink may not be advisable. The more popular use of colors in band names is to combine a color with something else. Some that I like are White Lion, Crimson Glory and Blue Oyster Cult. Some color-object combinations that may not work would be 'Yellow Snow', 'Brown Stain' and 'Blue Balls'.

There's my advice on picking band names. I think that I will do a band names part three that will have some more good and bad band names.

5 Comments:

Blogger :P fuzzbox said...

I loved the bad color combos, that you gave.

Sometime name changes can be disasterous. Case in point: Green Jell-O bombed when they had to change to Green Jelly but of course they re-'tooled'.

12:33 PM  
Blogger Ben Heller said...

That's some great advice Mark !

My old band changed our names a few times, but in the end we stuck with the dialling code for Wolverhampton "0902". See in the mid eighties there were lots of bands with numbers of letters in names...u2, INXS, Level42, 999 etc.

We signed to a small and now defunct record label (Cheeseboard) and did our 1 E.P "Lemon Fire Brigade" Sadly it flopped and soon after we split the record company went bankrupt. Some of the other artists signed to the label were....

The Regulars - who did one album "Falling Leaves (A graze on my knees)".

Sheattle - An all girl pre-grunge band.

Novak & Good - A folk/rock combo.Pete Good had a wooden leg and he used to use it as a percussion instrument on some songs.

Torrance Filthroyd's Mean Spleen - A gruesome death metal combo.

Kenny Badham's Funk Coalition - A Funk band. They split and Kenny became a housekeeper at Keith Richards mansion. He got fired for losing Keith's stash.

1:43 PM  
Blogger Metal Mark said...

fuzzbox- I almost forgot about that name chance.

Ben- I like Sheattle. There's an all girl AC/DC tribute band called AC/Dshe.

3:11 PM  
Blogger Sherri said...

The bands with misspellings always catch my attention. Very smart on their part, it's a good way to catch a consumer's (my) attention.

10:01 PM  
Blogger Mark Spittle said...

I disagree. When you suck as much as Hootie, you should be legally obligated to put the word "blow" in your name. Otherwise it's false advertising.

12:08 PM  

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