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10 Iconic Band Names That Started As Insults

FUN FACTS August 8, 2017 By Vincent

If you've ever been in a band just starting out, chances are you've had some insults thrown your way by people who don't like your music or your style. No one likes being insulted (except perhaps Piers Morgan) but when looking for a unique or memorable band name, these guys turned the childish taunts into something they could use.

Here we take a look at a few of these band names and just how they arose?

1. Daft Punk

The fame-shy electronic duo from France are as known for their robotic masks hiding their true identities as they are for creating chart-topping dance hits like Get Lucky, One More Time and Around The World. Their name may seem a little odd though as they have nothing to do with the punk genre, but it came from a review of a band the pair were previously in.

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A Beach Boys inspired indie pop band, a writer for melody maker described the sound as "a daft punky thrash" and the pair found it amusing so when going on to form their next project they took inspiration from the phrase to name themselves Daft Punk.

2. Blondie

Catcalling is sexist and degrading and so for most women it would be understandable should they wish to entirely forget any incidents of it but for the lead singer of the new-wave band Blondie, Debbie Harry, she thought it would make a catchy name for the band.

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She described being wolf whistled at and how that led to the name. "Chris [Stein] and I tried out a few names. One was Angel and the Snake, but I wasn't sure it was easy to remember. One day, I was walking across Houston Street, and someone yelled 'blondie!' at me. I thought, 'Jeez, that's quite easy to remember.'"

3. Jimmy Eat World

Not actually a reference to lead singer Jimmy Adkins but rather a brother of guitarist Tom Linton who had been arguing with another sibling one day and it was an insult between the two that would later become the band's name.

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"The older brother, Jim, apparently won against Ed," Adkins says. "This must have been when they were pretty young. Like, under 8. In an attempt to get back at him, Ed drew a picture of Jim and a globe in his mouth. He wrote the caption 'Jimmy eat world' to insult him, saying he was so fat he could eat the world."

4. Foals

British indie band Foals are named after young horses, but the inspiration for that title came from a jibe made in jest as lead singer Yannis Phillippakis described in an interview.

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"Our friend came up with it... We were all friends before we played music together and we used to prat around and get in trouble back home. So he described us like a bunch of foals, like stinky, smelly, and, you know..." adding "Yeah, you know, just kind of troublesome."

5. Fats Domino

The blues musician and legendary pianist and singer was perhaps a little on the rotund side, but most would consider it a bit rude to point it out, especially to his face. It was his road manager who coined the nickname when he said "That's my boy, Fats Domino... I call him Fats, 'cause if he keeps eating, he's going to be just as big."

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He also claimed it was because Domino's playing style was reminiscent of Fats Waller but that may have been to save some face.

6. Weezer

Suffering from severe asthma as a child, the schoolyard nickname of 'wheezer' was rather cruelly bestowed upon lead singer Rivers Cuomo and the name obviously stuck in his head down the years.

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In 1992, the newly formed band had just landed a support slot for Keanu Reeves group Dogstar and were desperate to come up with a name. Weezer was mooted, and nothing better was put forward, and they stuck with it ever since.

7. Little Feat

The influential LA funk band of the 1970s were famed for their energetic and improvised live shows and were huge favorites of people like Mick Jagger and Jimmy Paige. 

As the name suggests though, it came about due to the small anatomy of slide player extraordinaire Lowell George who had his tiny shoe size pointed out by Jimmy Carl Black of The Mothers who used an expletive in mentioning them. Lowell removed the cuss and voila had his band name!

8. Led Zeppelin

From the English phrase "going down like a lead balloon", meaning something that was not well received, guitarist Jimmy Paige was looking for a name for his new rock band and was talking to The Who's drummer Keith Moon about it when he suggested 'The New Yardbirds'.

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'The Yardbirds' were quite a jovial rock n' roll band of the 1950s/60s whom Paige had played for, but Moon pointed that the name combined with a heavier sound would go down like a 'lead balloon' with audiences. Paige was then struck with the idea of 'Led Zeppelin'.

9. Frightened Rabbit

A very shy child, lead singer of Scottish indie rockers Frightened Rabbit credits his mother for the nickname that became the band moniker many years later.

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"I was incredibly shy as a child, almost chronically so. My parents would take me to their friends' houses, and I'd be expected to play with their kids - I guess the idea was to socialize me - but I had no interest… So out of that, my mom called me her frightened rabbit. When I started to play with the other guys in the band, we didn't bother finding a new name."

10. The Pogues

Starting out as something of a roguish joke, lead singer Shane Macgowan named his London Irish Punk band after  Pogue Mahone, an anglicized version of the Irish expression 'póg mo thóin' - 'kiss my a*** which he found funny when radio DJs would say their name in full.

It wasn't until BBC radio DJ David Jensen got a call from a Scottish colleague telling him that everytime he said the band's name in full he was inadvertently telling Gaelic listeners to 'kiss my a***" that the band's name was promptly shortened.


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