Charged GBH - And still not behind bars

The hardcore/crossover trashband Charged GBH from Birmingham is usually called GBH in calm corridor chat.

What band name Charged GBH stands for - hannibal-lecter-behind-barsThese pioneers of the British hardcore scene derive their name from a code used by the English police force meaning grievous bodily harm. Charged GBH therefore means as much as 'accused of inflicting grievous bodily harm'.

There is no evidence for the assumption that GBH refers to 4-hydroxybutyric acid. That case would be hard to make anyway, because the abbreviation of this acid is GHB.

It is a substance found in man's central nervous system and can also be synthesized by obtaining it from, for example, wine, meat or minor citrus fruit. The active ingredient – considered an illegal drug in many countries - is used to treat narcoleptics (people who suffer from 'sleeping sickness').

Active: 1978-present, GBR

Death from Above 1979 - A hint of uneasiness

Just like their name the music made by the now defunct DFA1979 was quite heavy: the Toronto-born dance-punk duo liked to play loud, metal-influenced music. And they managed to do that quite well with the basic instruments available to them (primarily bass and drums).

Death From Above 1979 band name explanation - Mors ab alto - 7th_Bomb_WingAs is so often the case with band names, this name also almost literally came out of the blue. Rummaging through the articles of a shop selling excess army stuff, bassist Jesse F. Keeler stumbled upon the motto Death From Above, although the slogan was in Latin: Mors Ab Alto.

The pay-off is part of the official coat of arms of the 7th Bomb Wing Unit (7BW) of the Air Combat Command Twelfth Air Force, stationed at Dyess Air Force Base in Texas. The 7BW is one of only two units that occasionally take strategic bombers of the type B-1B Lancer out for a ride on warm summer nights.

To conclude this article: the number in the name of Death from Above 1979 is the birth year of percussionist Sebastian Graigner. The year was added to grant the military authorities the peace of mind they are entitled to, and perhaps also to avoid a feeling of uneasiness caused by incoming Lancer bombers.

According to Graigner an excellent addition: 'The last cool year of the last cool decade.'

Active: 2001-2006, CAN

Alice Donut

How Alice Donut got their band name - Easy Donut maker RecipeRock 'n' roll band from New York City.

Must have had the giggles when they applied Wordplay to the film title Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore, resulting in Alice Donut Liver Henry Moore.

This was too long, however, for a short advertisement in entertainment magazine Village Voice, so it was abbreviated to Alice Donut.

Active: 1986-1996; 2001-present, USA


Behemoth band name meaning - PLASEEBO-BEHEMOTH-01Death metal band from Gdansk, heavy users of black make-up.

Named after mysterious, monstrous cattle mentioned in the Bible (Job 40:10 ff):

'Look at the behemoth, which I made along with you and which feeds on grass like an ox.'

According to a fan Behemoth is 'a monster that only its creator can destroy'. That will linger on for a while.

Active: 1991-present, POL

Alexisonfire - Breathtaking

What band name Alexisonfire stands for - how-to-draw-the-grumpy-catPost hardcore band from St. Catharines, Ontario, the name is pronounced as Alexis On Fire (so not as Alex Is On Fire). The band describes its sound as that of 'two Catholic high school girls in mid knife fight' (a reference to the number A Dagger Through the Heart of St. Angeles).

It owes its name to – take a deep breath - lactating contortionist porn star Alexis Fire. Use your imagination.

This Alexis was not so easy really, because when she found out that her stage name had been exploited as band name, she tried to sue Alexisonfire. Bad luck though for Alexis: her stage name had not officially been laid down in writing.

Active: 2001-present, CAN

Bell X1

Bell X-1 band name explanation - Bell_X-1_supersonic-plane-colorIrish rock band with members from the Irish counties Kildare en Dublin.

The Bell X-1 (note the hyphen) was the world's first supersonic airplane after which the later X-series was crafted, with the Bell X-15 as perhaps the best known model.

Active: 1999-present, IRL

Van Der Graaf Generator - A major cause of bad hair days

Van Der Graaf Generator band name origins - Electro-Static GeneratorThis progressive rock band first sparked off in Manchester in the UK. 

As the name suggests, the band is named after a generator invented by American physicist Robert Jemison Van de Graaff (1901-1967). The device is used in experiments as an electrostatic particle accelerator. Students know the Van de Graaff generator (written as 'Van de' instead of 'Van der' and with a double 'f' in 'Graaff') in particular because of its ability to make one's hair stand on end, always a comical sight. 

Well-known pop stars energized by Van Der Graaf Generator are Cindy Lauper, Nina Hagen, Wendy Williams (Plasmatics), Cher (period 1982-1989) and Elton John (after his first hair transplant). 

Active: 1967-1972, 1975-1978, 2005-present, GBR

Swing Out Sister - Daring jazz

Swing Out Sister name origins - swing_out_sister-film-1945It's not so strange that the band from Manchester had itself named after a jazz film: apart from sophisti-pop the Englishmen also play smooth jazz.

Regarding that film: Swing Out Sister is a musical comedy directed by Edward C. Lilley that premiered in cinemas in 1945. Brief summary: the two leading actors go to work as jazz musicians anonymously, without telling it to their rather snobbish families. Complications abound of course.

Active: 1985-heden, GBR

Do you know a different explanation? Were you there when it happened? Questions or suggestions? Post a comment!

Bauer - Cinematic power

What inspired band name Bauer - Bauer film projector brochureAmsterdam band the produce of which is – we quote Wikipedia – happy electronic songs that on the one hand touch on Burt Bacharach's work, and on the other hand verge on the output of artists such as The Divine Comedy, Stereolab and Scott Walker.

There may be grounds to assume that the name is an allusion to an infamous colonel called Fritz Bauer in Dutch comic Agent 327 by Martin Lodewijks, but Music Center Netherlands brings us back to earth: Bauer is named after the German film projectors by the same name.

Active: 1999-present, NLD

JJ72 - No jamjar

Another one of those band names – this one is used by indie rockers from Irish Dublin - the origin of which gave and gives cause to much guesswork.

That JJ72 is the model number of singer Mark Greaney's washer is - however fascinating it may be - unfortunately incorrect.

There is a confused story that describes how the band was guilty of talking a huge amount of jamjar (apparently Irish slang for 'bullshit'), and then learned from a TV documentary that 72 percent of everything that is said on our globe in fact is crap. The authors of this blog are faithfully making their contribution every day. From this point of view JJ72 could be the abbreviation of 'Jamjar 72%'.

How JJ72 chose their band name - James JoyceBut in a serious mood Greaney once confessed that number 72 was chosen because that is the year in which his parents got married ('If they hadn't, the band wouldn't exist - full stop') and that the letters JJ pay tribute to Irish writer and poet James Joyce (Greaney: 'That's what I got from Joyce and Finnegan's Wake: [that] you can be serious about stuff, but you can have a laugh in your own way.').

In 2006 Mark laughed no more, because in that year his band fell apart. That sad moment was announced in an amusing press release that opened with the following epitaph:

'Reader, we are to let thee know
JJ72's body only lies below
For could the grave JJ72's soul comprise
Earth would be richer than the skies.'


Active: 1999-2006, IRL

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