Picking a band name sucks

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by hrodbert696, Dec 31, 2015.

  1. hrodbert696

    hrodbert696 Moderator Staff Member

    It does. I'm putting a new cover band together, we have contacts we can get gigs from but I'd like to be able to at least tell them the name of the band we're asking them to book. We've been practicing together about six weeks now, starting putting nominations out there from day one. Here's the list of name ideas that came out:

    Ow That Hurt (or just Ow)
    Dirty Bubbles
    Rock Bottom
    The Ride
    Argyle Gargoyle
    Get in the Van
    Mug Shot Mary
    Junk Drawer
    The Kin
    Long Hand
    What's Left
    Ride the Beauty
    The Last Call
    All God's Dogs
    Four Tea Thieves
    Born on a Ship
    The Nibblers
    The Third Way
    The Kicks
    The Easy Part
    The Transients
    Objects in the Mirror
    The Switch

    A week ago, we finally agreed to go with the Switch (three of us used to be in a band together called Switchblade Beat and it would have been a nice reference). Then I went home and googled it and found a bunch of other bands using the name. None are in our area but I'm concerned it would make it harder for anyone trying to search for us to find us. So I told the others this over email, and the singer and guitarist agreed to change it. We thought "Mug Shot Mary" sounded like a drug but modified it to Mug Shot Monday and were ready to go with that. But the drummer never bothers checking his email, so we get together for practice last night and he vetoes the name when he hears it.

    Further discussion, no clear winner emerges, so we take a different approach. Pass the list of names around on a sheet of paper, everyone cross out any names that they positively do not want to use. One principle I laid down is that no one should be playing under a name they hate; I used to be in a band called Wipt (name chosen before I joined) where every single %&*@ing gig the female singer would introduce the band by saying, "Hi, we're Wipt! Well, the boys in the band are whipped, I'm the one holding the whip!" Hardy har har. So the paper goes around, everyone cuts the names they dislike, we wind up with nine candidates. Cut them into slips of paper, put them into a hat, and draw one. What comes out is... Longhand.

    We're not sure how it will work as a name, so we said we'd use it for six months and not spend a lot of money on marketing with it, just a facebook page and maybe $60 for a banner to start. Then we'll review after six months and see if we want to keep using it or go with something else.

    Yeesh. At least we have something to work with now. I'm itching to get gigging.
    Gabbs and MakoMan like this.
  2. MakoMan


    Oct 17, 2011
    Ottawa, Canada
    Well I can see why you can't pick a name... I don't like any of the ones on the list :)
    Always a tough time picking a band name, but once you hit on the right one you will know it!
  3. hrodbert696

    hrodbert696 Moderator Staff Member

    I actually have a different view on it: in my opinion, pretty much all band names are stupid, until the band starts to catch on. Who would want to join a band with a dumb name like the Beatles or the Who or Cream? Personally, I wanted to go with one of the more whimsical names, like Mug Shot Mary, Get in the Van, Dirty Bubbles or Ow that Hurt. But I couldn't force them on the others. Longhand is pretty vanilla, and as soon as I put up a facebook page for it my wife promptly told me it's boring and sounds like an Eric Clapton tribute band. Oh well. I don't want to delay booking gigs waiting for a perfect name that everyone loves to descend from the sky. That list is the best we came up with after a month of brainstorming. We'll try this one out for a while and see how it takes.
  4. Slorra440


    Nov 20, 2015
    First one that jumped out at me was The Switch too. Bummer there are already so many out there. I always get stuck naming anything (songs, bands, children). Heh, Four Tea Thieves made me chuckle. Longhand is not my favorite name but if the music is good the name wont keep me away.

    I'm currently in an unnamed project and dread the day we have to have this talk.
    47th Street and hrodbert696 like this.
  5. AaronVonRock


    Feb 22, 2013
    Bands names using a combination of three words are less likely to be already taken.

    I think Mug Shot Monday is a cool name. It rolls off the tongue nicely.
  6. I actually had a blessing that someone gave me. THE perfect Funk Band name. It was actually so good I have decided to form a band just because the name beckons it to be. I do wish you the best of luck with your situation though. I was once in a Country band and nobody wanted to man up and pick a name so I decided on "Long Train Runnin' ". The biggest problem is everyone though we were a Doobie Brothers cover band; guess I should have thought that one through! :banghead:
    hrodbert696 likes this.
  7. nutdog

    nutdog when I'm a good dog they sometimes throw me a bone Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2009
    in the dog house
    I went through this. Ended up doing a 'name the band this week' competition on facebook. I changed the name for every gig. After Stark Raving Naked Lunatics the other guys finally settled on something. By that time I didn't care.
    hrodbert696 likes this.
  8. MrLenny1

    MrLenny1 Supporting Member

    Jan 17, 2009
    New England
    K.I.S.S. not the band but the acronym for ...
    hrodbert696 likes this.
  9. SnoMan

    SnoMan Words Words Words

    Jan 27, 2001
    Charleston, WV

    Who suggested this?
  10. FrenchBassQC

    FrenchBassQC Supporting Member

    Jul 13, 2011
    Gatineau QC CA
    I hear you brother, I started retrieving band names from your list and ended up with none left. I can feel your pain.:(
    hrodbert696 likes this.
  11. hrodbert696

    hrodbert696 Moderator Staff Member

    Thanks. I was the one to nix Four Tea Thieves. I kinda felt like it would be the Oneders from That Thing You do.

    Thanks, I thought so too. Obviously this band needs to crash and burn so I can use that in the next one. It got nixed because some members felt that mug shots are sad and depressing and don't say "party." I thought that people would associate it more with all the joke or ironic mug shots that are out there in pop culture - or that the party would be so awesome this weekend that on Monday people would be looking at your mug shot. Ah well.

    We had a bit of a running issue between the guitarist and me, because he wanted a super short name (a la Rush, Yes, KISS, etc.) and was hesitant about longer ones (like those with three words). I liked the way having a few more syllables lets you set up humor or contrast, and like you say, easier to avoid duplicating other bands.

    ha ha exactly.

    Argyle Gargoyle? That would be the guitarist. Probably two-thirds of the list were his ideas. I liked some of them.
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2015
    amusicalperson likes this.
  12. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    Four Tea Our Weak. :wacky:
    Fletz and hrodbert696 like this.
  13. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    I always thought it would be great to name a band simply.... Your Cousin.

    They way you can post on Facebook....
    "Hey Your Cousin is playing at Stinky's Oyster Bar and Nail Salon Friday night!!!!"

    Who wouldn't cough up a few bucks to watch their own cousin over to duh bar?
  14. Michael B

    Michael B

    Dec 16, 2015
    Lowell, MA
    Get in the van is just creepy if you think about it.

    Sounds like you just need to keep thinking until a name comes up that everyone likes.
  15. Michael B

    Michael B

    Dec 16, 2015
    Lowell, MA
    I would love to see a progressive parody band called Tonewood.
  16. nutdog

    nutdog when I'm a good dog they sometimes throw me a bone Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2009
    in the dog house
    Google the name and see what comes up. A band name should be catchy, easy to pronounce and spell and unique enough that it will show up as a top hit in a search.
  17. Steven Ayres

    Steven Ayres Supporting Member

    Mar 11, 2007
    Northern Arizona
    That's been my experience, that all band names are equally stupid when they first fall out of the mouth. For me the qualifying factors are memorability and core image. As you use the name the stupid-novelty wears off and it becomes you. Ask Mars Volta.
    hrodbert696 likes this.
  18. Michael B

    Michael B

    Dec 16, 2015
    Lowell, MA
    The New Hampsters
    Granite State
    Granite Staters
    Living Free
    White Mountain
    The Great Spirit (might get confused for religious band)
    Covered Bridge
    Squam Lake
    Nashua (ok just kidding)

    Idea I am getting at is look around. Make it personal.
    Omega Monkey likes this.
  19. GKon

    GKon Supporting Member, Boom-Chicka-Boom

    Feb 17, 2013
    Albuquerque, NM
    Out of all of the names on your list, I like these the best. The only change being dropping "the" from Third Way.
  20. I like some of them in the list, and I know your pain. While I like plays on words, of course you want people saying "hey you MUST check out Four Tea Thieves!" but you don't want no one ever finding your page after googling "40 thieves"...
    hrodbert696 likes this.

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