Finding a good name for a band (or anything for that matter) can be difficult. The origin behind the names of certain bands or songs have great stories behind them. On the other hand, some musicians go with easier options and just name the band after a member. It can be one of the members’ idea or the producers. Or sometimes it can be a practical and easy way out for the name problem.
Stories Behind Band Names: Van Halen, Dave Matthews Band, Alice Cooper, more
Rock band Van Halen was formed in 1972. The founding members included brothers Alex and Eddie Van Halen. Alex is the drummer and Eddie plays the lead guitars. Funnily enough, Alex had started with guitar and Eddie with drums.
Van Halen is of Dutch origin and when singer David Lee Roth joined the brothers, he suggested they named the band Van Halen. It just sounded cool.
However after Roth had a falling out with Van Halen, he left for a solo career in 1985 and continued solo act for a while. During Lee Roth’s absence, the band had several lead singers, including Extreme front man Gary Cherone and the famous rocker Sammy Hagar.
Later Roth reunited with his old band for a couple of songs in 1996 but he officially rejoined the band only in 2007. Their current bass player is Eddie’s son Wolfgang Van Halen who was born in 1991. He joined the band in 2006. So right now Van Halen has 3 Van Halen family members and one David Lee Roth.
Dave Matthews Band
American modern rock/jazz band Dave Matthews Band’s lead singer is called Dave Matthews. Dave is one of the founding members. The band was formed in 1990 and is still active today.
Hard rock band Marilyn Manson is the stage name of the band’s singer Brian Hugh Warner. “Marilyn” comes from the movie icon Marilyn Monroe and Manson comes from the murder-plotter/convict Charles Manson.
Rocker Alice Cooper has made an amusing quote on Brian’s pick of name: “He took a girl’s name as his first and wears a hell of a lot of makeup. I wish I’d thought of doing that”
As opposed to the band names taken after the band’s members, Alice Cooper actually was the band’s name first. Alice Cooper was born Vincent Damon Furnier.
Vincent co-founded a rock band called Earwigs when he was 17. Then the name was changed to The Spiders and later to The Nazz. However the members finally decided on Alice Cooper. They picked it because it sounded original and it had an innocent feeling to it that contradicted the band members’ wild style.
After the band broke up in 1975, Vincent decided to legally change his name to Alice Cooper. He might be the only musician who named himself after the band and not vice versa.
The story of Bon Jovi is featured in the Noise Addicts article Band Names Poison, Queen, KISS, Bon Jovi, Motley Crue.
The J. Geils Band
This American rock band best known for the songs “Love Stinks” and “Centerfold” was formed in the late 1960s. The band’s singer and guitarist is John Geils. Part of what set this rock band apart was the use of the harmonica. If you watch the music video “Centerfold” you’ll see band member Richard “Magic Dick” Salwitz using it.
Kool & The Gang
American funk/r&b band Kool & Gang has been active since 1964. Kool is the nickname of the bassist Robert Bell.