Dexter Freebish

What inspired band name Dexter Freebish - Rollercoaster Superman - SpacePotatoAlternative rock band from Austin, Texas, that takes its name from a famous roller coaster called in full Dexter Freebish's Electric Roller Ride. It turned out its first sick visitors in 1972 and was later (1981) given the much shorter name Excalibur.

The roller coaster, part of the - now closed and demolished - Six Flags park in Houston, Texas, consisted of three parts: The Dip, The Spiral and The Pit Curve.

Active: 2000-present, USA

Billy Talent

This band from Streetsville, Ontario once started out as Pezz, but got into some trouble with that name, probably due to the existence of an American band of the same name, possibly also because Pez (with one 'z') is the brand name of a certain kind of orthogonal peppermint sweets.

Billy Talent – meanwhile moved to Mississauga, Ontario – achieved its first successes only after ten years of hard work, but nowadays these gentlemen are keeping up quite well.

Billy Talent band name inspiration - Hardcore Logo - Bruce McDonaldThe new name comes from the book Hard Core Logo by Canadian writer, poet and musician Michael Turner, later turned into a mockumentary, in which Turner describes punk music's 'self destruction'. In the book and the film Billy's last name however is written as Tallent (double 'l').

Active: 1993-present, CAN

Alter Bridge

How Alter Bridge got their band name - Fox Creek Canals - DetroitRock band, one of the members of which is Mark Tremonti from Detroit.

Mark's parents did not allow him to cross Alter Bridge, which in spite of its stately name is a fairly common bridge.

This cross-river connection marked the border between the prosperous Grosse Pointe Park district and other Detroit districts that were less well-off.

As crossing over from rich to poor inevitably goes hand in hand with uncertainty, it was better to avoid the bridge.

The band didn't know how things would turn out for them either when they started, so Alter Bridge was an excellent choice.

Active: 2004-present, USA

Wilco - Roger, Jeff

What band name Wilco means - Pilot helmet communicationsBuilt upon of the remnants of alt country band Uncle Tupelo after singer Jay Farrar had given up.

The name of the Chicago based band is radio jargon from the world of military and commercial aviation. Wilco stands for will comply, which means 'it will be fine' or 'I will take care of it'.

According to singer Jeff Tweedy a rather ironic name for a rock band.

Active: 1994-present, USA

Melvins - Mad vegetable management

The city of Montesano in Grays Harbor County (Washington) is quite proud to be the hometown of the Melvins.

How the Melvins got their band name - Melvin Mole - Mad magazineOne of the members of this band, proficient in sludge metal and stoner rock, Buzz Osborne, worked after school in the administrative department of the Thriftway Pick-Rite, a supermarket on Pioneer Ave in Montesano.

According to Buzz the Vegetable Department Manager, Pete 'Melvin' Loman, was the most-hated fellow employee of this Pick-Rite. And because it was the intention to give the band a name that was as ridiculous as possible, the choice fell on The Melvins.

Pete Loman owed his nickname Melvin by the way to the eponymous anti-hero who appeared in the first issues of satirical magazine Mad.

Active: 1983-present, USA

Living End - Scratching the surface

How Living End found their band name - Rock Around The Clock filmPunkabilly band from the second largest city in Australia, Melbourne (Victoria).

The band owes its name to guitarist/vocalist Chris Cheney, who during a binge with friends slid a video cassette into the player showing the classic film Rock Around The Clock (1956).

Drunk or not, the film was watched to the end, so until the very last shot, of a dancing crowd with the traditional last words The End projected over it.

And it included a little joke by the director of the film: suddenly the word Living is squeezed in between the words The and End, resulting in The Living End.

Cheney knew enough.

Active: 1994-present, AUS

Skyhooks - Attention Earth-people!

Sometimes we feel totally out of our depth finding out what or who a band name refers to exactly. Take the glam rockers operating under the name The Skyhooks (Melbourne, Victoria): there have to be twenty or so explanations of the word skyhook.

A small selection: a skyhook is a hook that allows us to lift cargo with a helicopter; it is an unmanned balloon for exploring the stratosphere; it is an experimental helicopter; it is a hook used by mountaineers; it is the nickname of a type of plane (the Cessna CH-1); it is a suspension system developed by car manufacturer Maserati; it is a binding used by skateboarders; it is a handle we use to unfold a reserve parachute and it is the nickname of a prehistoric plane (the Airco DH. 6 from 1916).

All these are candidates for attaching a meaning to band name The Skyhooks, but of course only one can be the right one - and none of the meanings above is in that category.

Where Skyhooks got the band name idea from - Fred Sears - Earth vs Flying SaucersNo, the Australians took their band name from a black and white film titled Earth vs. the Flying Saucers, directed by Fred F. Sears. A remarkable film because it was released in 1956, a full year before the first satellite (the Russian Sputnik I) was launched; the movie is about an American space project that involves the launch of no less than a dozen satellites.

The code name of that enterprise? Project Skyhook.

Active: 1973-1980; 1983; 1984; 1990; 1994, AUS


Group of punk rockers who bumped into each other each other in San Fernando Valley, California and who intended

a. to become the main act of the Whisky A Go Go in Hollywood and
b. to be interviewed by local punk newspaper Slash.

At first they would be called The Imbeciles, but drummer Karlos Kabellero refused to play under that name, so it became The Dickies.

What inspired band name Dickies - Dickies workwear logoA dickie is a kind of bib that can be worn under a V-neck sweater, making it look like a full rollneck. The band however will probably have been named after workwear brand Dickies. Construction workers have a preference for the clothes of this brand, as they can conveniently rest their tools in them.

Today Dickies also manufactures clothing not aimed at construction workers. In Europe especially skaters love it.

Active: 1977-present, USA

Pinhead Gunpowder - Side effect of dumpster diving

Punk rock band from East Bay, California.

What band name Pinhead Gunpowder stands for - Green teaGunpowder (in Chinese: zu chà) is a kind of tea that by the shape of its petals (rolled up to balls) is somewhat reminiscent of gunpowder – hence the name.

The story goes that the drummer of what became Pinhead Gunpowder, Aaron Cometbus (would that be his real name?), was dumpster diving at the co-op supermarket in Arcata. Dumpster divers take a dive into waste containers to see if something useful or edible can be found there.

Cometbus apparently encountered Gunpowder Pinhead Tea (note the order of the words), described by him as tea with high octane content and that is how the band name came into being - after some dueling, because the other band members would have preferred 50 Foot Hesher.

And while we are explaining all kinds of things anyway: a hesher is a Reebock sneaker-wearing rake of about 28 years old who, dressed in bleached jeans and a Judas Priest T-shirt, still lives with his old folks - usually in the basement - and who is firmly convinced that he really rocks on his Ibanez Stratocaster.

He owns a 'classic' (haha) Chevrolet Nova that hasn't started in the last five years (but wait till he has time to do something about it!) and he is proud of his long, oily hair. Is easily identified by the plastic hair brush in his back pocket and the fact that he thinks that almost forgotten bands such as AC/DC, Metallica and Jackyll are the best acts in the world.

That in a few words is a hesher, and mirrors don't lie. And would that not have been a beautiful entry for this encyclopedia!

Active: 1990-present, USA

See also: Judas Priest, AC/DC

Living Sacrifice - True and proper worship

Where Living Sacrifice got their band name from - Bible - Romans 12-1Not all Christians consider heavy metal as devil's music, so much is demonstrated by the existence of the Christian death metal band Living Sacrifice from Little Rock, Arkansas.

Nevertheless the band seeks inspiration for the music mainly in the Holy Scripture and the same goes for the band name.

The source of the name Living Sacrifice is found in Romans 12:1; it reads:

'Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God — this is your true and proper worship.'

Active: 1989-2005; 2008-present, USA

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