Flaming Lips

American rock band from Oklahoma City with a soft spot for such inviting song titles as Psychiatric Explorations or the Fetus with Needles.

How did Flaming Lips get their band name - Flambe cocktail - Photo Paul McMillanOver-enthusiastic fans first used their own imagination to figure out what the band name might mean, producing explanations like 'the Rolling Stones logo' (which can rightly be described as two fiery lips), 'a reference to drugs' and 'a certain venereal disease' (a female one, that is).

Next to this the name is said to show up as a neon sign in films with Shirley Maclaine and Fred Astaire, or a quotation is suggested coming from the burning lips of philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson (in this case poet Margaret Walker would be more eligible, with her remark that 'The word of fire burns today on the lips of our prophets in an evil age').

But it is all just idle talk, according to an interview with frontman Wayne Coyne:

'Back in 1983 when we were approaching our first gig we really didn't know what we were gonna be called.', he says. 'I'd read somewhere about a group called the Flaming Hands, which was a name I'd liked and that led to the Flaming Lips.'

Active: 1983-present, USA
Site: http://www.flaminglips.com/

See also: Futureheads, Rolling Stones

Cirith Ungol - Mount Doom metal

What band name Cirith Ungol means - Tolkien - The tower of Cirith Ungol - Artwork John HoweMetal, metal and more metal, that was the order of the day for this Californian band from the city of Ventura: heavy metal, progressive metal, doom metal, etc.

The band's name is taken from the eponymous mountain pass and tower described in J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle-earth.

Middle-earth is an imaginary continent in which many stories of Tolkien are set, such as The Hobbit, The Lord of The Rings and The Silmarillion.

Active: 1972-1992, USA
Site: http://www.truemetal.org/cirithungol/page.php?page_id=1

See also: Amon Amarth, Marillion

They Might Be Giants

Also known as TMBG. The alternative rock band from Brooklyn, New York usually consists of John Flansburgh, John Linnell and – probably the only band member one can really count on - a drum machine.

Why band name They Might Be Giants - Don Quixote - No Quixotes road signThey Might Be Giants is also the title of a 1971 film, directed by Anthony Harvey.

According to Linnell - and he should know - the band wanted a name that was outward-looking and paranoid.

 In another interview it was explained differently: 'It's the name of a movie. It's not a good movie and it don't hold that much significance for us.'

Perhaps it is nice to know that the film They Might Be Giants is named after was loosely based on the experiences chronicled by Spanish writer Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra in his novel El ingenioso hidalgo don Quijote de la Mancha.

In that book Sancho Panza puts the question to his 'boss', Don Quixote, why they always have to take up arms against windmills.

Don Quixote replies: 'Why, they might be giants!'. (In Spanish, of course.)

Active: 1982-present, USA
Site: http://www.theymightbegiants.com/

Jesus Jones - North meets south

This techno band from English Bradford-on-Avon, Wiltshire is also playing some fine Grebo (a term that - if our information is correct – relates to music that does well among Goths, skaters and alternative types).

How did Jesus Jones get the band name - Spanish beach - AndaluciaDuring a vacation one sometimes gets the best professional ideas and that also happened to the members of the future Jesus Jones.

Lying on a Spanish beach it suddenly occurred to them that their omnipresent countrymen, not rarely adorned with one of England's commonest surnames Jones, were surrounded by locals often called Jesus, a first name of many Spanish speaking people.

Link a frequently used English last name to a frequently used Spanish first name: the band surely recognizes a bright idea when it sees one.

Active: 1988-present, GBR
Site: http://jesusjones.com/

Texas is the Reason

Emo band from New York City that was brought together by guitarist Norm Arenas (ex-Shelter) and drummer Chris Daly.
Why band name Texas is the Reason - Kennedy Assassination postcard

The band name comes directly from Bullit, a song by The Misfits in which the assassination of US president John F. Kennedy is described:

'Run, Jackie, run
Texas is an outrage when your husband is dead
Texas is an outrage when they pick up his head
Texas is the reason that the president's dead'.

Active: 1994-1997; 2006, USA
Site: http://www.myspace.com/texasisthereason

Smash Mouth - Or brains

The name could have been Smash Their Brains In just as well, but then again Smash Mouth sounds slightly more civilized.

Where did band name Smash Mouth come from - American footballThe rock band from San Jose, California that adopted this name took the expression from American Football coach Mike Ditka (actual name: Michael Dyczko), in the US better known as Iron Mike.

This Ditka was and is a strong supporter of an attack technique that euphemistically is described as the offensive philosophy.

It can get rough - so much is clear. One could also say – and some actually do - that smash-mouth football amounts to three yards and a cloud of dust.

Active: 1994-present, USA
Site: http://www.smashmouth.com/

Aphex Twin

Richard David James actually, from Limerick, the man once described by English newspaper The Guardian as the most inventive and influential figure in contemporary electronic music.

Where did Aphex Twin get the band name from - Aphex Bass Xciter audio systemRumour has it that one Aphex Twin plays a role in an epic story from India, the Mahbharata, but according to the name giver himself the name Aphex Twin is derived from Aphex Systems Ltd, a firm providing audio equipment. David James apparently was permitted 'second usage' of the company name.

Aphex is supposed to be a contraction of 'analogue effects'.

James one day explained that he added the word Twin in memory of his stillborn older brother, who posthumously was named Richard James by his parents.

Active: *1971, IRL
Site: https://www.facebook.com/aphextwinafx

Cibo Matto - Coq au rice wine?

Perhaps it was precisely their versatility that prevented greater fame.

Fact is that the New York-based Japanese young ladies Yuka Honda and Miho Hatori prepared a brew of a huge number of different styles for their band Cibo Matto to play.

What does band name Cibo Matto mean - Crazy food - Fusion cuisineThere is talk of a combination of jazz, hip hop, Brazilian sounds, African drumming, Japanese rock, disco samples, acid jazz, indie rock and even Shibuya-kei.

Also noteworthy: the songs Cibo Matto served up were mainly about food. This might explain the group name, because Cibo Matto is Italian for 'crazy food'.

Despite their ethnic origin and the important role of food and beverage in Japanese culture, Yuka and Miho never became 'big in Japan'.

Active: 1994-2001, USA
Site: http://www.yeahbasicallycibomatto.com/

King Adora - Huge vibrations

Who is King Adora in band name - vibrations - seismometerGlam rockers from Birmingham with a certain vaginal fixation: their name refers to a king size vibrator or dildo (our sources disagree on this point).

No wonder, therefore, that the band's debut album was baptized Vibrate.

Active: 1998-2005; 2010-present, GBR
Site: http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/225131

Clash - Different viewpoints

How did The Clash get their band name - Daily Mirror - ClashesThe London punk rock band The Clash (for a moment band name The Weak Heartdrops was considered) owes its name - we think, based on the number of references to this statement - to one of the buzzwords of the seventies.

In British tabloids virtually every social quarrel was whipped up and brought to the attention by glaring headlines that not seldom mentioned a clash (between young people and the police, between parents and children, and so on).

But other statements circulate on the internet as well.

Such as that the band wore out reggae album Two Sevens Clash and found the inspiration for a band name in this album title.

Another one is that the word Clash would have been sprayed as a graffiti on subway walls and that this piece gave the band a hint, but the viewpoint is indignantly dismissed by Clash-buffs: they do not budge an inch and maintain that members of The Clash made the graffiti themselves.

Active: 1976-1986, GBR
Site: http://www.theclash.com/

See also: Weddings Parties Anything

 
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