When it comes to naming themselves, bands can be inspired from the weirdest of things and places. Sometimes it is a dream, an herb, or the urge to make fun of something. Sometimes they just get stuck and they name the band after the singer (or they have to because the singer is the most prominent contributor), or the places they lived in. Whatever the story, it is usually fun to explore what got into them when they picked their names. This post features the stories behind the names of Ugly Kid Joe, Pretty Boy Floyd, Mayhem, Weezer, Bush, and Savage Garden.
Ugly Kid Joe
Pretty Boy Floyd is an American glam rock/hard rock band founded in 1987. Ugly Kid Joe is an American hard rock band formed in 1989. They just decided to make fun of the Pretty Boy Floyd’s name and came up with the name Ugly Kid Joe.
This is a band that likes to spoof things and make funny references. For instance, their debut album America’s Least Wanted is a twist on the saying America’s Most Wanted. The band is best known for their song “Everything About You” and their cover of “Cat’s in the Cradle”. The band broke up in 1997, but reunited in 2010.
Pretty Boy Floyd
The band most likely got their name from the famous American bank robber Pretty Boy Floyd. In 2009’s crime/drama/adventure movie Public Enemies (starring Johnny Depp and Christian Bale), the character Pretty Boy Floyd has a small part and he is played by Chaning Tatum. This band also went through a breakup phase (1991-1995), but they reunited and are still performing together.
Norwegian metal band Mayhem (formed in 1984) picked their name from a Venom song. Venom is also an English metal band formed in 1979 and they are still together. Venom’s debut album Welcome to hell (released in 1981) featured a song called “Mayhem with Mercy”.
The popular pop band Bee Gees were formed by Gibbs brothers Maurice, Robin and Barry, who chose to name their band after the initials of a DJ called Bill Gates. Founded in 1958, the band broke up in 2003 and later reunited in 2009.
Some people choose not to leave high school behind, such as Weezer‘s leading singer Rivers Cuomo. He was nicknamed Weezer, due to his asthma condition (that made him make wheezing sounds).
This alternative rock band was formed in 1992 and sold more than 9 million albums. So Rivers is probably glad he chose his nickname. After all, probably not many of his classmates became rock n’ roll stars.
Weezer released 2 albums in 2010: Hurley, and Death to False Metal. One of the band’s best known songs is “Island in the Sun”, from their 2001 album, Weezer (The Green Album).
Anne Rice is a famous horror/thriller novels’ author, who is best known for her book Interview with the Vampire. So you’d probably expect her novel quotes to inspire emo rock bands or gothic rock/metal bands. But she inspired the Australian pop/rock duo Savage Garden.
Sometimes bands just choose to let their address dictate their names. Bush, the famous British alternative rock band, decided on the name because members once lived in Shepherd’s Bush, which is an area in West London.