heavy metal

The Origin of band names

Ever wonder how some of the biggest metal bands got their name? Below is a list of several bands and how they became known.

SEPULTURA got its name from a Motorhead song called "Dancing on your Grave" , Grave in Portuguese is Sepultura.

"Slipknot" was the title of their first song. The name was suggested by their drummer Joey Jordison. Before that they went by the names 'Pyg System' and 'Meld.'

White Snake
While in Deep Purple, David Coverdale owned an albino ball python.

Sugar Ray
They used to practice in a studio owned by Sugar Ray Leonard.

Lemmy Kilmeister originally planned on naming his band "Bastard" but was advised against it. In the end, he named it after the song he wrote for his old band Hawkwind. Motorhead was slang for a person on speed.

Black Sabbath
Named after a 1963 horror movie starring Boris Karloff suggesting a holy day of witchcraft.

System of a Down
Lead singer Serj Tankian says;

"It comes from a poem our guitarist, Daron, had written called, Victims of a Down. He brought it to us and 'System' was chosen as a better, stronger word because it makes it into the 'whole' instead of the people in particular; it's the society. Take your own meaning out of our name. It means different things to different people. That's the beauty of it. It's like putting art up on a wall and going, 'What do you think of it?' It's many different things on a personal or political level. We leave it open to interpretation."

Wykked Wytch
"When I was forming the band someone heard my vocals and said that I sounded "wicked" like a "wicked witch". It stuck and then the band was named Wykked Wytch." - Ipek, lead singer of Wykked Wytch

Iron Maiden
Steve Harris attributes the band name to a movie adaptation of The Man in the Iron Mask, in which he saw the iron maiden torture device.

As I Lay Dying
Named after the William Faulkner novel, As I Lay Dying.

When Metallica was about to sign to label upstart Megaforce Records, it was label boss Jon Zazula's job to fire Dave Mustaine from the band for drinking too much. Mustaine was so please by how he was treated, he named his band Megadeth as in "death to Megaforce Records".
Dave Mustane was inspired by a government pamphlet he saw after being fired from METALLICA. A Megadeath is a military term for one million dead. It is a deliberate misspelling of the word megadeath, a term coined by military strategist Herman Kahn in his 1960 book, "On Thermonuclear War."

Nine Inch Nails
According to Trent Reznor:

"I don't know if you've ever tried to think of band names, but usually you think you have a great one and you look at it the next day and it's stupid. I had about 200 of those. nine inch nails lasted the two-week test, looked great in print, and could be abbreviated easily. It really doesn't have any literal meaning. It seemed kind of frightening. [In his best he-man voice] Tough and manly! It's a curse trying to come up with band names."

Limp Bizkit
From Fred Durst's dog Biscuit who has a limp.

Glenn Danzig took the name of the band from Samhain, the ancient Celtic New Year, which influenced the evolution of modern Halloween.

The band originally went by the name Mickey Ratt, a play on Mickey Mouse, from an underground comic strip by Robert Armstrong. Later the band shortened their name to just Ratt.

Linkin Park
After a park in Santa Monica although the spelling was changed as the domain name was unavailable.

Judas Priest
The name was taken from the Bob Dylan song "The Ballad of Frankie Lee and Judas Priest".

Skunk Anansie
Anansie is a creature in Jamaican folklore who is half man, half spider, and always a prankster. Skunk refers to good marijuana.

Inspired by the movie Dragonslayer. Also.. "Satan Laughs As You Eternally Rot" appears on their Divine Intervention album.

The Number Twelve Looks Like You
The name was taken from an episode of The Twilight Zone.

Faith No More
The band was originally called Faith No Man. However, after guitarist/vocalist Mike "The Man" Morris was kicked out of the band for his dictatorial behavior, the band changed their name to Faith No More because "The Man" was no longer part of the group.

36 Crazyfists
Taken from the 1977 Jackie Chan film 'The 36 Crazy Fist'

Rammstein frontman Till Lindemann said in an MTV interview:

"The name came from the big catastrophe that happened in Ramstein, which is a place in Germany, where the American airforce had a flight show. They crashed and over 80 people got hurt and killed. So the first song, actually, was about that accident. And then there was always like a cause when they'd say: "Ramstein, Ramstein!" So it came into our head and it stayed there. We just changed the spelling slightly because Ramstein is actually spelt with one "m". It also became somewhat of a provocation, by just repeating it, it kind of became like a symbol for us, an anthem."

Spanish for Panther

Mikael Akerfeldt explains how the name came from a book titled, The Sunbird:

"It's a name that we took from a book by an author called Wilbur Smith. It was called Opet without the H at the end and it was the city [built by an Egyptian culture that reached Africa two thousand years ago]. It was like a science fiction type of book. It was the first singer of this band came up with the name."

Quiet Riot
The band's name grew out of a conversation that Riot's lead singer Kevin DuBrow had with Rick Parfitt of the Status Quo in which Parfitt said that he would one day like to have a band called Quite Right. Because of Parfitt's accent DuBrow thought he was saying "Quiet Riot."

Rage Against the Machine
The name was taken from a song that Zach De La Rocha wrote for his previous band Inside Out.

Lars Ulrich was helping a friend name a fanzine he was planning. Possible names suggested by Ron were Metal Mania and Metallica. Lars liked Metallica, but convinced Ron to call his magazine Metal Mania, in order to keep Metallica for himself.

Marilyn Manson
Combination of Marilyn Monroe and Charles Manson.

Angus Young got AC/DC from the back of his sisters sewing machine. The band didn't realize AC/DC was also slang for bi-sexual, which caused a few awkward moments in the bands early years.

Avenged Sevenfold
Taken from the biblical story of Cain and Abel in Genesis 4:15, which reads;

"But the Lord said to him, Therefore whoever slayeth Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold'"

Children of Bodom
Named after Lake Bodom in Finland, place of the infamous Lake Bodom murders

Alice Cooper
The band originally invented the story for publicity that the name Alice Cooper had come from a session with an Ouija board. Alice Cooper had been Vince Furnier's name in a former life in the 17th century where he had been a witch. Years later in an interview Furnier admitted that the name was made up out of thin air with the intention of bringing to mind "a cute and sweet little girl with a hatchet behind her back."

Dimmu Borgir
Meaning "black castle" after lava formations near Myvatn, Iceland.

Amon AMarth
after Amon Amarth (Sindarin for Mount Doom) in J. R. R. Tolkien's Middle Earth

Drowning Pool
The movie that was on TV while Stevie Benton lost his virginity.

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    May 14, 2010

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