SSome band names are very clever, and some are just plain odd. Regardless of how they sound, all were inspired by some random or carefully-considered connection. For this set of band names the inspiration came from a magazine, movie, slang phrase, or a passing comment. Below are a few interesting rock band names and their origins:
Aerosmith: While in high school drummer Joey Kramer began doodling the word “Aerosmith” in his notebooks after hearing Harry Nilsson’s Aerial Ballet. He thought it sounded cool. The other name the band considered was The Hookers.
Bachman-Turner Overdrive: The surnames belong to Randy (guitarist), Tim (guitarist), Robin “Robbie” (drummer) and Gary Bachman (manager) in addition to C. F. “Fred” Turner (singer). While at a truckstop, the band members saw a magazine titled Overdrive which they though captured the essence of their music.
Cheap Trick: In the early 1970s, the band toured under various names: Fuse, Nazz, and Sick Man of Europe. Some time in the mid 70s, bass guitarist Tom Petersson remarked that the band used “every cheap trick in the book” as part of their musical act.
Depeche Mode: The British band was named after a French fashion magazine title depeche mode. There is an urban myth perpetuated on many websites that depeche mode means “fast fashion;” however, the correct English translation from the French is “fashion news” or “fashion update.”
Death Cab for Cutie: Ben Gibbard (singer, guitarist) named the band after a song by the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band that appeared in the Beatles’ movie, Magical Mystery Tour (1967). It was the only song in the movie that was not a Beatles song.
Evanescence: Band founders Amy Lee and Ben Moody performed as Childish Intentions and Stricken in the early years. They finally settled on Evanescence derived from the word evanesce which means “to disappear.”
Five for Fighting: Singer and pianist Vladimir John Ondrasik III adopted the stage name, Five for Fighting, which is a term used in ice hockey that refers to the five-minute penalty that a player receives when fighting another player.
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For further reading: Rock Names: From Abba to ZZ Top by Adam Dolgins, Citadel Press (1998)