Some band names are so straightforward (Loudness, Cannibal Corpse, Bread...) there's no confusion about their intentions. Then there are those bands whose names are the reason you become curious/interested in the first place.
Auckland, New Zealand's The Naked And Famous falls in the latter category. They came up with the moniker from a lyric in trip-hop legend Tricky's song 'Tricky Kid'. It has that killer combination of vague/profound/provocative (vaguefoundcative?) potential. I had to know: are they a scandalously volatile new glam rock band? Ironically subtle indie folk combo?...
...I was rewarded by my curiosity with three albums worth of the catchiest, most atmospheric indie-electronic pop out there.
And on the subject of names, vocalist Alisa Xayalith could also be a benevolent leader of a resource-rich planet in the Alpha Centauri system.
But less words, more earworms!
Before we get to the name origin of GWAR, please take a gander at the greatest fake rock bio EVER:
"At the beginning of all things, there was the Master, a hideous planet-sized creature floating in an endless void. And it was a boring void, so he created everything ever just to amuse himself. And as life spread through this void, The Master found the best way to amuse himself with his new toys was to make them fight each other, so he created WAR. And he saw that it was good, so he created The Scumdogs of the Universe as the ultimate executors of his favorite activity."
"Led by The Master’s most loyal servant, the cyborg Techno-Destructo, the Scumdogs had become the most powerful force in the universe. So great that they dared to rise up in rebellion against their creator and fulfill their dream of destroying everything. The ensuing battle was beyond epic, as The Master deployed his newest and most powerful weapon, The Death Pod, and turned it against GWAR. Ultimately defeated, the Scumdogs were loaded into the dreaded Butt-Cannon and shot to the most insignificant, isolated mud ball of a planet in the entire galaxy—the planet Earth!"
"The first thing the alien refugees did was have sex with the local animal population, thereby creating the human race. Enraged that GWAR had created humans (the most annoying of races), The Master froze them in a great tomb in the barren waste of Antarctica, to sleep in its icy vastness until such times as he might need their awesome power and call them back into his horrific service!"
"Millions of years passed, but GWAR still imposed their will on humanity…reaching into their dreams and inspiring them to heap atrocities upon each other and pollute and ravage their own world with disease and war. And it was the pollution of heavy metal that ultimately led to GWAR’s release! Because of the brief dominance of hair-metal bands in the late 80’s, and their overuse of hair spray, a huge hole was burned into the ozone above the GWAR temple, and the Scumdogs began to thaw. At that precise moment, music mogul and notorious underworld boss Sleazy P. Martini was on the run from the I.R.S., shot down over Antarctica and crashing into the frozen tundra in front of the GWAR Temple! Stumbling inside, he discovered the ageless warriors stirring within their tombs. Seizing the moment and in short order Sleazy quickly got them addicted to crack (the only thing that saved his life), brought them back to the U.S.A., gave them electric guitars, and exposed the world to the sickest band in metal history—GWAR!"
Now to reality - Founding member Dave Brockie had an idea to use the costumes made for a movie he was making, Scumdogs of the Universe, and have his band at the time, Death Piggy, open for themselves as a barbaric band from Antarctica, playing nonsense songs while sacrificing fake animals.
(Narrator takes deep breath).
The name of the joke group was "Gwaaarrrgghhlllgh". The members of Death Piggy began noticing that more people were coming to see Gwaaarrrgghhlllgh and leaving immediately after the set. After several refinements, including shortening the band's name, Death Piggy was now GWAR.
They've covered Alice Cooper, appeared on Fox News, guested on talk shows, read Goodnight Moon for the kiddies and become cartoons. And I'd be remiss if I didn't mention their annual GWAR-B-Q, where Bohabs (GWAR's devoted fans) can enjoy swimmin', drinkin, eatin' and getting covered with the requisite and copious amounts of fake blood and other fake (or are they...?) fluids.
And when you have Jerry Springer as an honourable member, there's really nothing left to say except,
Bolt Thrower could be one of my fave band names ever. It evokes an angry god or ancient Roman weapon. Either way, it's destructively kickass. The origin, however, is much nerdier (and yet just as cool) than you'd think...
The Coventry, England death metal band took its name from a weapon in the popular tabletop war strategy game Warhammer. The band based some of their lyrics and artwork on the game, with some of the art actually provided by the game's publisher, Games Workshop.
Eight albums and 30 years of brutally heavy compositions about war, death, plague, more war and more war brought the band a devoted following (including British radio legend, the late John Peel!) until their breakup in 2015 due to the death of drummer Martin 'Kiddie' Kearns.
The connection between metal and role-playing/tabletop gaming is a perfect one, but how many folks actually played Bolt Thrower whilst playing Warhammer? Inspiring for some, discombobulating for others.
Either way, a killer name.
There are band names based on songs, quotes, street names... but an unaired Monty Python sketch!?!
Toad The Wet Sprocket, come on down.
...but instead of becoming an all-out eccentric, DEVO-type group, this Santa Barbara, CA band goes the way of milquetoast radio-friendly pop. The guys just thought the name was 'hilarious'. But because it comes from such a Python deep cut, how could they not be a little more weird/out there?!? Easy - because they didn't have it in them.
Yes, they hit the Top 20 with the songs shown above and below, and had the bottom (see how I'm not even mentioning the names? That's how miffed-yet-underwhelmed by the unused potential of the band name) song featured on the soundtrack for the Friends TV show, but disappeared but the end of the 90's along with the other 'meh' MOR bands of the time, like Tonic, Matchbox 20 and Counting Crows (whom they have toured with at one time or another - sarcastic 'YAY!').
They broke up in 1998 and got back in the late 2000's, releasing an album, EP and touring regularly, but does anyone care?
I'm sorry - as a Python fan, I can't get over the fact that an idea of theirs was so badly misused. At least the band could have had Cleese, Idle and/or Palin in a video or song! Or perhaps the Pythons boys turned that down once they heard Toad's music - at least I hope as much.
The only good thing that's come out of this is that I've finally decided on the name of the Wet Sprocket cover band that I'll be starting up: The Batley Townswomens' Guild.
The officially unofficial blog of Faux Rawk. Everything you read is true, although some of what you read is 100% false. Whoa... trippy, man.