10 Misleading Band Names
In rock, there is a long tradition of perplexing band names. For example: What exactly is a Neutral Milk Hotel? We may never know. While such nonsensical monikers tell us little about the music or the musicians behind it, other names do, in fact, lead us to make assumptions about what we can expect after we press play. The trouble is, many artists purposely pick names that throw us off the scent and lead us to believe things that aren’t true. Confused? You’ll see what we mean when you read our list of 10 Misleading Band Names.
Band of Horses
A band? Yes, the Seattle-based quintet fulfills those requirements. But a Band of Horses? Not really.
The Tallest Man on Earth
We’re not privy to Swedish singer-songwriter Kristian Matsson’s exact height, but his stage name, The Tallest Man on Earth, is a pretty far-fetched assertion.
The New Pornographers
Hopefully, those hearing the New Pornographers for the first time aren’t drawn to the band on false pretenses. No porn here, just five really solid albums. It was alleged that the eight-person Canadian outfit derived its name from Jimmy Swaggart (the televangelist cousin of Jerry Lee Louis), who famously called rock ‘n’ roll the “new pornography.” In reality, the band came up with the name after watching the 1966 Japanese film ‘The Pornographers.’
Brooklyn-based Grizzly Bear‘s lovely and airy harmonies don’t really strike us as the stuff of a band that goes by the name of a dangerous, sometimes violent animal.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr.
Joshua Epstein and Daniel Zott are indie-rockers from Detroit, and they’re in no way related to the famous father-and-son NASCAR drivers, despite what their band name suggests. In an interview with ESPN the Magazine, Epstein said the name wasn’t intended to poke fun at the racecar drivers, and that he emailed the younger Earnhardt to assure him that their name was not meant in a mocking manner. Earnhardt Jr. apparently responded graciously and even told Epstein that he enjoys their music.
Mumford & Sons
Fans of the British folk-rock band Mumford & Sons surely realize that the quartet intended to highlight frontman Marcus Mumford when they chose their name. But are the other members really his sons? No, they’re all about the same age. Are they even related? Again, no. Apparently, the name is meant to conjure the sense of a family-owned business.
Based on their name, you would think that this experimental indie-rock group is, in fact, Of Montreal, but you would be mistaken. The band actually hails from Athens, Ga., and frontman Kevin Barnes has attributed the band’s name to an ex-girlfriend from the Canadian city.
Gosh, we hope not. But seriously — at the time of the Killer’s 2004 debut, ‘Hot Fuss,’ you might have thought that their music was going to be something much heavier in sound. In the years since, however, the Las Vegas band has produced more than a few radio-friendly tunes. This past February, when they were joined onstage by New Order frontman Bernard Sumner, Brandon Flowers explained that his band’s name actually comes from Sumner’s legendary synth-pop group’s video for ‘Crystal.’
First of all, singer-guitarist Marissa Paternoster is the only female in this Garden State trio. Secondly, she doesn’t even do much screaming.
The kings of misleading band names, San Francisco’s Girls were actually a bunch of guys. The band’s leaders, singer-songwriter Christopher Owens and bassist and producer JR White, parted ways in 2012, and earlier this year, Owens released his solo debut under his own name.