Contact Us

How 50 of Alternative Rock’s Biggest Bands Got Their Names

The name game—it’s something that every band has had to deal with, but fortunately they always get it out of the way right at the beginning of their careers. We’ve created a gallery that shows how 50 of the biggest acts in alternative and indie rock came up with their name.

Coming up with a band name can be a maddening experience. Mostly because there’s so much hinging on it. After all, as you’re about to discover, some of the world’s most beloved groups started out with downright dumb (or at least significantly less cool-sounding) names before they finally turned to the ones that we know them by today.

Once you start to delve into the process by which some of your favorite bands came up with their names, it gets to be a slippery slope. Some had a stroke of brilliance, others acted out of desperation, and frankly, some took a rather stupid path to identifying themselves. And of course, this being rock ‘n’ roll, there are plenty of artists who are only to eager to perpetuate exaggerations and utter untruths about the origins of their names, just for the perverse pleasure of confusing the public at large.

But for every name, from the starkly minimalist U2 to the more exotic Yo La Tengo, from the deliberately vague R.E.M. to the local in-joke of Husker Du, there’s an origin story. And here are a half a hundred of the ones you want to know about. Click above to begin.

Recommended For You

Around the Web

Best of Diffuser

Leave a Comment

It appears that you already have an account created within our VIP network of sites on . To keep your personal information safe, we need to verify that it's really you. To activate your account, please confirm your password. When you have confirmed your password, you will be able to log in through Facebook on both sites.

Forgot your password?

It appears that you already have an account on this site associated with . To connect your existing account just click on the account activation button below. You will maintain your existing VIP profile. After you do this, you will be able to always log in to using your original account information.

Please fill out the information below to help us provide you a better experience.

(Forgot your password?)

Not a member? Sign up here

Please solve this simple math problem to prove that you are a real person.

Sign up for quickly by connecting your Facebook account. It's just as secure and no password to remember!