Saturday, 22 October 2011

What's in a band name? Find yours with 'musodad's band name game'

I used to be in a band called Pre-historic Wife (stop sniggering at the back, please!)  As rubbish band names go, this was the lowest of the low. 
Not sure how many of you remember The Garbage Pail Kids (it would have been the late 80s) – they were cards you got with bubble gum and there were loads of grotesque characters to collect (it was a piss take of the Cabbage Patch Kids).  Anyway, one of the characters was a Pre-historic husband called ‘Hairy Gary’ and he had a wife called erm…I’m not actually sure but she was his ‘Pre-historic Wife’ and that is where we got the name from.  The name Pre-historic Husband had too many syllables to be ‘grungy’ so this suggestion was poo-pooed.  I was 18 at the time and 18 years later I still wince when I hear someone mention the name. 
Anyway, on the subject of band names, you can tell how important it is to pick the right one and we were never going to make it with a name like that.  So many bands have changed their names in the past, either at their record company’s request (Seymour became Blur, Camouflage became Jesus Jones) or because their name isn’t catchy enough (Parva became Kaiser Chiefs, Mollie Blaylock became Pearl Jam).  Or maybe it was, like Pre-Historic Wife, because their name was just plain rubbish – On a Friday became Radiohead, The Tea Set became Pink Floyd.  Only post the name change did any of these bands enter Rock Stardom in a big way – which would have happened to us had we changed our name to The Second Hand Apron (from a Monty Python sketch) which was my suggestion.  I was outnumbered 3 to 1 though.
It’s unsurprising that we split up soon after due to ‘musical differences’ (not really, we all left home to go to Uni) – we’ve thought about reforming, just like the Stone Roses, but that would just be plain silly.
So, should it really be that hard to find the perfect band name?  I have a great name stored in my head that I’m going to use when I get my arse into gear and form another group (I’m not revealing it in case you steal it! And if you’re reading Ruthie Knighton, I’m sorry to say it’s not Musodad and his magic pants – but they’ll definitely be one of my spin off bands like what Damon Albarn / Jack White do).  However, what if I was the lead singer of ‘the next big thing’ and I didn’t have any ideas?  That’s why, my friends, I’ve invented ‘musodad’s Band name game’.  By Christmas 2012 it will be available in every good toy shop and will probably be THE game to play on Boxing Day throughout the UK.
If you can’t wait that long then if your child has got some magnetic words at home go and get them now and play along with us.
So here we are, sat around our little blue table in our lounge, a plethora (I love that word!) of magnetic words have been placed in a re-sealable sandwich bag and we (eldest daughter O. and I, youngest daughter C. just wants to eat the words) are ready to begin (this isn’t in real time, by the way, both O. and C. are in bed at this precise time).  Here we go :
So the rules, nearly forgot – pull out a magnetic word, one at a time, and see if you can make a band name out of them.  If you want to be likened to an early 90s shoegazing band (Ride, Lush, Moose etc) you might just want to pick out one word, up to you.  That’s the beauty of the game, you can bend the rules to choose the name that suits you / your band.  If after four words, you can’t make any potential band names, put them back in the bag and start again.
Anyway, here’s a list of 6 band names we pulled out, I’ve tried to add a back story for each – all good band names need a back story (in no particular order) :
1.       The Purple Twenty – I really like this one, it could have a really good back story – slightly too close to the band Matchbox Twenty mind, but no-one remembers them anyway.  Next step - check definitions of ‘purple’ on – ‘imperial, regal or princely’, I like it.  So, in the 60s there was a group of imperial, regal and princely people who went against their family’s wishes and ended up living like ‘common people’ (as in the Pulp song) and lived happily ever after.  They were an inspiration to all.  And there were 20 of them.  There you go…ahem…easy. 

2.       September Ball – hmmm, not sure about this one.  Sounds like something out of High School Musical, or a boy / girl act on X-Factor – what were their names again?! #bubblegumpop

3.       Over Liked – now this IS good.  It’s over confident, like a new band should be.  Beady Eye should have been called Over Liked – that would have showed Noel they really meant business.

4.       Thursday Counted – not bad.  So what happened on Thursday and why would someone count it? Think, man, think! Erm…right - lead singer gives up smoking and whilst down the pub with his band members, one Thursday night, has a drag on one of their cigarettes.  The week after they are having Sunday lunch round the lead singer’s parents when the mum asks ‘Mick, have you still given up smoking?’, Mick replies ‘yes mum’.  Then Keef, sorry Keith, the guitarist, pipes up and says ‘no you haven’t, you had a drag on one of my ciggies last Thursday down the pub’.  Mick replies ‘it was only one drag down the pub on Thursday, that doesn’t count’.  To which Keith says ‘No, Mick, no - Thursday counted’ and a band name is born…Phew, that was tough!

5.       Will Likes Yellow – who is Will?! Could be anyone – Prince William, Will Smith, could be the bloke next door, y’see, and I should have mentioned this earlier – you don’t have to give a reason why you’re called a certain name.  Yes, you SHOULD have a back story but even so, keep the NME guessing as to what the back story is and you’ll be a mystery to them - and probably get a lot more column inches in the long run.  However, I’m going to start what I’ve finished – checks again, one definition of ‘yellow’ is the ‘yolk of an egg’.  I bet Prince William likes eggs and he’s probably mentioned this before in an interview somewhere.  The band saw this interview and job done. There you have it, a back story.  Genius.

6.       These Were Three – grammatically incorrect perhaps but perfect if you’re a trio and one of your band members leave.  If only Bros had renamed themselves this when Craig (my wife informs me Smash Hits used to call him ‘Ken’) Logan left and gone experimental then they could have been one of the biggest bands in the World today.
I just want to quickly add one more to the list – there were two blank magnets in the bag and I told my daughter she could choose two words to write on them.  At first she said ‘bum’ (she’s obsessed with this word at the moment!) but on asking her to reconsider, she wanted the first one to be ‘groovy’ and the second one to be ‘conker’.  Groovy Conker – now that is a great band name!  In fifteen years time, if she decides to go down a music career route, I’ll remind her of this day and see what happens…  
So, there you go, hope you’ve enjoyed experiencing the birth of a new game with me.  If you ever get a chance to play the game, which is highly unlikely I know (don’t worry I won’t take it personally) then please do let me know what band names you came up with (back story optional – don’t worry, I won’t tell the music press if you reveal it).
Ps I’ve just remembered - they were called Same Difference!  


  1. Ha good post!
    I was once in a band called 'I Love Gaylord'. We only wrote one song and it was a rather half arsed affair.

    Should Pre-Historic Wife re-form and need a new name I have other names for bands should anyone want them.
    Crunchy Tits
    The Suicide Sweat-Band


  2. Brilliant! I think Groovy Conker is a definite winner!! We would try this game but our magnetic words are in French! Could be interesting!

  3. Thanks both, love your band names Mammasaurus. Will definitely consider them in future! Nikki, it will definitely work with French words. I still remember Les Negresses Vertes being on the ITV Chart Show when I was younger although I doubt you'll have any offensive words in your magnets! By the way, there's a great song called 'MoneyGrabber' by Fitz & The Tantrums which is all in French - check it out!

  4. We don't have magnetic words yet as Bud is only 19months old but I really want to play this game! I especially like 3, 5 and 6 on your list.