Staff Recs: Best Worst Band Names

Still from King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard's Rattlesnake Official music video.

We all know them: the bands we love to hate — or the ones we hate to love. Not because of their music, really, but because of their names. In honor of CVS at Night (signed to NYU-student-run record label Invertebrate) making it on The A.V. Club’s annual list of “The Year In Band Names,” here are our staff’s picks for best worst band names.

The Butthole Surfers

Hello, disgusting. As in, a 12 year old named this band. As in, a 12-year-old boy whose only role model was Bart Simpson. As in, really? Really? No, honestly, sit down a moment and talk with us — really? And yet, they’re a hugely influential piece of punk music history. I literally came across their name a few years after I found out about them in one of my textbooks for Business Structure of the Music Industry. They’re that legit. I know Foo Fighters is a silly name that nobody expected to go anywhere, but it’s got nothing on The Butthole Surfers. — Hailey Nuthals, Arts Editor

King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard

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I believe in keeping staff recs 100 percent honest, so I must confess that I have never listened to King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard. I think it’s because I’m scared. I’m scared that the music of the band will not live up to the outrageous expectations I have based on their name. It’s a strange, fascinating name that raises so many questions that the music will never answer. Is the band collectively King Gizzard? Is the Lizard Wizard a separate person or is it one of King Gizzard’s titles? Does he rule over a lizard kingdom because he’s a wizard? Is he a really a wizard or is he a fraud, an Oz-figure waiting for an intrepid explorer to pull back the curtain? I will never know the answers, but perhaps one day I’ll listen to the music.  — Zach Martin, Editor-at-Large

STRFKR

Portland-based band STRFKR (pronounced “Star…” well…you know) has my favorite name in the no-vowels-aesthetic category. Aside from the weird implication that one would want to perform some sort of sexual Olympics on a cosmic fire orb, this band has solid beats to back up their choice of name. They have their own charm when performing live as well, bringing astronaut costumes and water guns to the stage for example. I dig STRFKR because they’re unapologetically themselves in a classic sort of West Coast way — not painfully edgy, just pleasantly weird. — Emily Fong, Opinions Editor

Horn Dogs

The only band name worthy enough to take the title of best worst band name is The Horn Dogs. If you’re thinking, hey I’ve never heard of that band, you’re right, because it’s the name of my dad’s horn band. Coupling together the pun and the fact that my father is in a band that has sexual undertones in its name, you get the point. — Hannah Shulman, Editor-at-Large

Rainbow Kitten Surprise

The reason I chose this band is because first off, their name is reminiscent of something from “Care Bears” or “My Little Pony,” and their music is nothing at all like that. They have a viscerally soulful indie vibe and hits like “Devil Like Me” and “Cocaine Jesus” are songs to get down to. However, nothing gives me greater joy in life than telling people that I love the band Rainbow Kitten Surprise and seeing the oddest looks until I show them the songs that are so entirely contradictory to their … unique name. — Thomas Price, Deputy Opinions Editor

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