Five things to consider when naming your band
What's in a name? That which we call a rose/By any other name would smell as sweet; (And be a lot easier to find via Google)
Photo by perfect_hexagon
So, you're starting a band, huh? Well, good for you. We hope you're enjoying our "Making the Band" series and finding the tips on the practical aspects of bandmanship useful. As a companion, let us offer some advice on something far, far more important that practicing, recording a demo, or showing up to gigs on time: Naming the band. This is the most important decision you will ever make as a band person, and you have to make it RIGHT UP FRONT. This will help you get it right.
1) No single word names with or without a preposition: Sorry, the days of the Cure, Blur, the Police and all those other great, memorable one-word names are over. Any word you think isn't a band yet, is. And whoever has claimed it, will sue you the minute you have the smallest modicum of success, forcing you to change the name and lose momentum. So if you were thinking of naming your band the Herpes, forget it. Someone on the Jersey Shore already has the Herpes, and they're not giving it up (but they might share).
2) Two word names that are adjective noun are probably out too: Consider it an extension of rule one. Anything easy to remember is probably already used up. The Smart Children? Probably taken. The Happy Mice? Almost certainly taken. The Vertiginous Archaeologists? SAFE! Probably. But who can remember that mess? You might, maybe find something both easy to remember and unclaimed. But probably not.
3) Spend some time on Google: When picking your band name, one member should be stationed in front of Google the whole time. Got a possible name? Type it in and see what comes up. If you can put it in quotes and get zero results, you have a winner. Anything that returns more than a page of results or maybe two, forget it. Oh, and make absolutely sure that the domain is available (you know, www.whateveryourfuckingbandiscalled.com). Not the dotorg, dotnet, dotbiz or dotinfo. It's dotcom or nothing. People aren't smart enough to look that hard, so you'll be directing traffic to whatever Chinese spammer is squatting on the dotcom you want. Okay, to recap: Zero results ideal, up to fifteen results is passable, dotcom domain available or bust. Do you have any idea how hard this is? Discouraged yet? Don't worry, we're here to help.
4) Hey, lyrics guy!: The key is finding an original, decent, three or four word phrase that is easy to remember and doesn't suck ass. Turn to your lyrics guy for help. That's what they are supposed to be good at, right? So, Blue Rose (like the picture, see) is probably taken, but hey, Blue Rose Barbers is available (for reals, we Googled it!). Okay, that kind of sucks, but hey, we never said we were good lyrics guys. If we were, we wouldn't be writing blog posts, we'd be writing songs for previous American Idol winners. Your lyrics guy should be able to do better than that. If he gets too poetic and syrupy for you, punch him in the groin a few times to get him thinking tough. And if he sucks so hard he can't manage at all, consider getting a new lyrics guy.
5) Make some shit up: If all else fails, or you just like the sound of nonsense words (works great for noise bands, J-pop collectives and lots of other fringe band types!) just make some shit up. Take a couple of latin roots and mash them together to mean something cool. Or just make anagrams of the band's middle names until something metal sounding comes up. Read really crappy science fiction and pull a made-up alien name out of there. Whatever it takes. Don't forget to repeat step three, though.
Bonus warning: Watch out for names that reference or are similar to any strange fetish, sex act or perversion. Even if it's "safe" as a band name, you can be hard to find when Googling if America discovers a sudden taste for the fetish that shares your particular name. Also, when your fans are searching for images of you to make cool wallpapers, do you really want to subject them to they eye-trauma that comes with accidentally seeing some of the weirder sexual pecadillos humanity is capable of? Oh, you do? Well, never mind then, you sick fuck.
Get the Music Newsletter
Keep your thumb on the local music scene with music features, additional online music listings and show picks. We'll also send special ticket offers and music promotions available only to our Music Newsletter subscribers.