The science behind band names

One aspect of the music world that has always interested me is the process of choosing a band name or moniker. Sure, sometimes when you ask musicians how they arrived at their choice, you get some boring, non-committal answers. But every now and then, you may hear a humorous anecdote or even obtain a rare glimpse into a musician’s psyche.

Of course, there are the inevitable trends. The bear-, black-, sea-, beach-, and crystal- names. (I won’t bother to list them out here. We’ve seen them all before.) And the ridiculous, over-the-top names: Natalie Portman’s Sideways Ponytail, We Were Promised Jetpacks, Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin. (1)

Then there’s the ironically un-Googleable names. Women, Real Estate, !!!,YACHT, The Muslims – the list goes on. (Just try finding info on BOBBY.)

These names are so common that it becomes nearly impossible to find them online – especially when they are first starting out. No Google, I don’t want to buy a house. I want to listen to “Beach Comber.”

But even this phenomenon isn’t terribly new.

What struck me as funny last week was the band Little Girls. Google that, and you may just end up on a watch list.

(1) This clever little program makes fun at the increasingly arbitrary process of band naming. The sad thing is the results aren’t half bad. Go here and auto-generate one for yourself! My first attempt yielded “My Sister is Canadian.” (I took piano lessons for 7 years. Can you play the guitar/banjo/or ukulele? We might be onto something…)


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"He considered music a liberating force: it liberated him from loneliness, introversion, the dust of the library; it opened the door of his body and allowed his soul to step out into the world to make friends."

- Milan Kundera's The Unbearable Lightness of Being


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