“There Has Never Been A Perfect Band Name, But These Seven Groups Came So, Damn, Close,” by Warren J. Cox

Mar 25th, 2020 | By | Category: Nonfiction, Prose

Like the fountain of youth many have sought the perfect band name, but all have fallen short. However, let us honor now the seven bands that have fallen the LEAST short, and examine how they could have achieved perfection.

1. Foo Fighters.

Close but no cigar! There is alliteration, mystery, playfulness, but who the hell knows what Foo Fighters means? Fire Fighters people would understand. If they had made the name more recognizable they would have had a perfect band name. Foo Fighters COULD HAVE BEEN: Little Bunny Foo Foo Fighters. Added points for the fact everybody absolutely wants to fight Little Bunny Foo Foo because of the shit that bunny always thinks he can get away with — I know I’m not the only one who has intuited that picking up field mice and boppin’ ’em on the head is just the tip of the iceberg with this criminal gangster rabbit.

2. Limp Bizkit.

This band name certainly has that catchy esoteric ring to it — it comes close to perfect. But had Fred Durst and the fellas been able to fully embrace their universally undeniable inner love of Hot Pink, and not been afraid of the implications, they could have had a perfect band name. Limp Bizkit COULD HAVE BEEN: Limping Flamingo Hatchlings. This would still have been esoteric, yet earthy and knowable and totally cool and very very pretty, even though a bit sad because, well because they ARE limping.

3. Stone Temple Pilots.

It seems obvious, but I guess not obvious enough. It’s such an imaginative concept and cool image, but inaugurates total confusion. It’s like: are they all pilots of the same stone temple, or different ones? Is there jealousy, infighting? Is Scott Weiland the main pilot? I’m not sure anyone would want Weiland at the helm, but anyone would want to know who was the main pilot and the others would have to be co-pilots, right? Nobody wants to end up crashing especially when on such a hyper-groovy swayin’-ass hip-gyratin’ cowboy-hat-and-heroin-fueled headnoddin’ trip flavored in a light steady summer rain with pervading magenta glow, right? A lot of needless confusion here that no doubt steered away numerous would-be listeners. To have been perfect, Stone Temple Pilots SHOULD HAVE BEEN: Four SEPARATE Pilots of Four SEPARATE Stone Temples, Flying Together in Formation.

4. Green Day.

The boys came so close but missed a real opportunity here. We understand they were trying to hide some things from their moms or pops or mean older brothers who would happily steal their stashes, but just by being a little more forthcoming they would have had a perfect band name and picked up many more followers. Green Day COULD HAVE BEEN: All Hail the Weed Seller at the Door Who’s Come to Improve Our Conditions; Shit was beginning to Get Downright Dickensian Up in Here on this Rainy-Ass Completely-Unemployed Wednesday Morning. This would have ‘hit the bingo’–plus extra points for the innovative use of a semicolon and mad knowledge of British literature!

5. Rage Against the Machine.

Definitely the most kickass band of their generation and very close to a perfect name. But as my father was forced to point out in the late 90s, it seems slightly silly for them to be up on stage absolutely shredding with all kinds of guitars and microphones and cords and speakers — all tied to a centralized sound system — since all of these can arguably fall under the definition of ‘Machine,’ just ask the ‘philosopher of technology’ Lewis Mumford or Merriam-Webster. To have a self-harmonious and perfect band name, Rage Against the Machine SHOULD HAVE BEEN: Rage Of, By, and For (and Totally Against) the Machine. This would have helped make everything much clearer.

6. Marilyn Manson and the Spooky Kids.

Back in the early 90s before they were called Marilyn Manson, they were known as Marilyn Manson and the Spooky Kids, a near perfect band name. However, the lead man, the venerable Manson himself, eventually pushed his own antiestablishment megalomaniacal tendencies to the point of posing as a dark-hearted Christianity-mocking lipstick-smeared prophet. Years later it turned out this ‘prophecy’ revealed the guy just wanted to be a niche TV actor and make sure to have more than enough money to maintain an epic alcoholism, a bit disappointing. If he had been a true prophet this could have led back in the day to a perfect band name: Marilyn Manson and the Spooky Twitter Hashtag Kids. Before Twitter and social media hashtags of all stripes, this would have revealed (eventually) a knowledge of the future and thus been terribly impressive, even while confusing people for years who would have been all like ‘What the Sam Hell is ‘Twitter Hashtag’ supposed to mean?’ Mr. Manson could have replied, with crazy-ass gleam in his megalo-eye: ‘wait and all will be revealed to you, my beautiful people, and thus will you know my fucking power and buy all my albums again.’

7. Panic! At the Disco.

This is really close to a perfect band name. It’s weird, specific, unexpected; these kids were onto something. But let’s face it, it’s silly. Something similar but reaching all the way into perfection territory, was available all along. Panic! At the Disco COULD HAVE BEEN: Thundersnow! In the Panhandle. Now granted, there are numerous panhandles in the United States alone, but most will default in their mind to the Texan panhandle, the most obviously badass-daddy of all panhandles, and everybody will know that thundersnow in that panhandle is totally rare and terribly interesting, just like this band aspired to be.

Nevertheless, mad props to these groups who came closer than all others to the ever elusive perfect band name. All the other bands failed either terribly or miserably.

Keep trying, everyone!


Warren J. Cox writes and paints in beautiful central Virginia, where he also works as an academic editor. His writing has appeared previously in Eunoia Review, Ducts, Corvus Review, Soft Cartel, Slippage Lit, Rabid Oak, Fluland, Scarlet Leaf Review, Emrys Journal Online, and other fine journals. For more find him on Twitter @WarrenJCox

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