Choosing a band name is hard work. There are a million unwritten rules to the process: be daring but not too offensive; be clever but not annoyingly puckish; be memorable without being corny; go with something people can pronounce (unless you’re in a black metal or brutal death metal band, in which case ignore all of these rules).
But maybe the greatest rule of choosing a band name is to select something cool enough that people will want know how you came up with it. If your band name is just right, everyone should ask about the story behind it – to the point where you start refusing to answer in interviews. And if you’re in it for the mystery, you can even come up with multiple stories about your band name… none of them true.
Luckily for us music journalists, there exists a Wikipedia page exclusively dedicated to band etymologies, and man, it’s an easy rabbit hole to get lost in. But while some of them are obvious (gee, we wonder what Iron Maiden’s named after?), others are fascinating – either in where that band’s name comes from, or how the band came to discover it.
Here, for your pleasure, are 17 of our favourite band name origins from that page. If there’s one we’ve missed that you think needs mentioning, feel free to hit us up via Facebook or Twitter with your suggestion.