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Five for Friday: What's in a (Band's) Name?

A band's name largely contributes to their overall image. While some are more straightforward than others, the most interesting monikers often have equally compelling stories behind them. For Music Direct's latest edition of Five for Friday, here are the stories behind five attention-getting handles.

Frightened Rabbit
Scottish singer/guitarist Scott Hutchison started as a solo act and didn't feel his name was catchy enough for a band name. So he came up with Frightened Rabbit, the name his "mum" used to call him as a child due to his incredible shy persona – "almost chronically so," he told SPIN. Once Hutchison teamed with a full group, the name stuck and nobody even had a conversation about changing it.

The Killers
Frontman Brandon Flowers is an avowed super-fan of the band New Order. In the music video for the latter's 2001 single "Crystal," the plot finds the group replaced by a younger (and fictional) band called the Killers, their name emblazoned on a kick drum. In 2013, the real Killers even covered "Crystal" with the help of none other than New Order frontman Bernard Sumner. Making the connections come full circle, New Order's most recent record, 2015's Music Complete, features Flowers on the closing "Superheated."

St. Vincent
Annie Clark has said in interviews she swiped her alias from a line in the Nick Cave song "There She Goes My Beautiful World" that reads: "And Dylan Thomas died drunk in/St. Vincent's hospital." An admirer of Thomas' work, she interpreted the lyric as "the place where poetry comes to die." Some sources also state the stage name owes to Clark's grandmother, who, according to an account she shared with Rolling Stone, baptized her in a kitchen sink "with a cigarette in one hand and a martini in another."

The White Stripes
Jack White maintains his most famous band's name was influenced by drummer Meg White's love of peppermints. While the duo considered the Peppermints as a possible moniker, they decided to incorporate their last name (technically, Meg's last name that Jack, born John Anthony Gillis, later took as his own) into the band's identity. Hence, the White Stripes – a fusion of the candy and the duo's surname.

The Doors
The book The Doors of Perception, written by Aldous Huxley, inspired the legendary rock band's moniker. The book's name itself was triggered by a line in a different book – William Blake's The Marriage of Heaven and Hell – that reads: "If the doors of perception were cleansed, everything would appear to man as it is: infinite." Frontman Jim Morrison decided the band's name, and was also often quoted for saying, "There are things known and things unknown and in between are the Doors."

What are your favorite stories behind band names?

September 23, 2016

Comments (1)

Grateful Dead
An oft-told story. The band know as the Warlocks had come across a record by a band with that name so a new name was needed. As Blair Jackson tells it: ""One day we were over at Phil's house...He had a big dictionary. I opened it and there was 'Grateful Dead', those words juxtaposed. It was one of those moments, you know, like everything else went blank, diffuse, just sort of oozed away, and there was GRATEFUL DEAD in big, black letters edged all around in gold, man, blasting out at me, such a stunning combination. So I said, 'How about Grateful Dead?' And that was it.""
1/6/2017 10:52 AM
Jordan J
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