12 Novel Ways to Discover a Band Name

The words are written, the tune is composed and you’re ready to get out there and start gigging. There’s some great ideas being exchanged regarding your concert posters and everybody is raring to go. The only thing that’s holding you back is one of the most important aspects of all – You still haven’t decided on a band name. The following tips can be used to create a unique band name without having to spend hours squabbling over suggestions with your fellow band members.

  1. Open a dictionary and see where it takes you. Incubus, Evanescence and even REM came across their band names using them.
  2. Use a cultural reference to decide on your band name. Heaven 17 found their identity through the ‘Clockwork Orange’ novel by Anthony Burgess, while Veruca Salt derived their name from Roald Dahl’s ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’.
  3. Take the initial letter from each band members Christian name and see if a catchy word can be formed. This is how ABBA found their name.
  4. Choose random words and see if they can be made to stand out by misspelling them. Korn and Limp Bizkit are classic examples of word manipulation.
  5. The next time you’re in your local supermarket, look for food items that inspire band names. If it’s good enough for The Red Hot Chilli Peppers and The Black-Eyed Peas, there’s every chance that there’s going to be something on the shelves to inspire you as well!
  6. If you live in a place with cool-sounding names, try to find some inspiration by looking through a local street map. Hawthorne Heights, Linkin Park and Cypress Hill all used this method to establish their identities.
  7. Ever heard of a portmanteau? Try taking two words and mixing them together. Indie rock band Menomena chose their band name by joining up ‘Men’ and ‘Phenomena’. Take some words that sound really interesting and experiment with them.
  8. Choose words that best describe the type of music you play before using a thesaurus to find alternative words that relate to your sound.
    Have you formed a tribute band? Many tribute bands use word plays on original band names such as The Fool Fighters (Foo Fighters) and Guns 2 Roses (Guns N’ Roses). Alternatively, name your tribute act after one the original bands best-known songs so fans can identify with it.
  9. Assuming you already have some, let your fans choose a name for you. Start a Facebook page and offer a free download to every fan that makes a suggestion. This method should give you loads of wonderful alternatives to choose from.
  10. Make your band name stand out using umlauts. This method was particularly successful for Mötley Crůe and Blue Őyster Cult.
  11. During practice, most bands end up with a catalogue of inside jokes that only the members truly understand. If there’s an undercurrent of humour within your band, use one of your own inside jokes to create your band name. This method worked particularly well for The Smashing Pumpkins.
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