Band -names are a weird subject, especially for me.
Back when I was playing in the band Burn Planetarium (or in even more embarrassingly named teenage bands before that), I used to dread inviting people to our shows.
It wasn’t because I was scared of them listening to our actual music (although maybe I should have been), but rather, that I didn’t like saying our name.
I know, I know, in the grand scheme of band-names, Burn Planetarium really isn’t THAT bad (in any universe where Limp Bizkit was once a viable mainstream pop act, how could it be?). But that’s not the point. it’s not just our name that I found embarrassing, it was band-names in general. The whole idea of it.
For reasons that cannot be explained, band-names just seem silly to me. There is no reasonable explanation for this feeling (beyond perhaps a vague sense that I’m a fraud in all artistic endeavors, but then why would I be embarrassed with my friend’s band-names as well?), but that’s okay. That’s not what this is about.
This blog is about band names that are worse than just “silly”; it’s about the worst of the worst, something that Japan has in abundance.
Although it’s hard to be unbiased when assessing band names - naturally we tend to give a pass to the groups we like (Gnarls Barkley, Arctic Monkeys, Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Goo Goo Dolls, Hoobastank? I could go on), some names are just unforgivable.
One quick scan through my itunes and I found a ton of awful names (mostly from really, really talented musicians): You Say Party! We Say Die!, Natalie Portman’s Shaved Head, I Still Love You Boris Yetsin, Fucked Up, Holy Fuck, Throw Me the Statue, P.S. I Love You, Portugal. The Man, Of Montreal, Cymbals Eat Guitars, Still Life Still, The Rural Alberta Advantage, etc.
Are these names good or bad? At this point, It’s honestly hard to tell.
(Canada’s hardest Polaris Prize winners Fucked Up)
When it comes to Japanese bands though, the ridiculous names are bit easier to pick out. Irony does not come into play. Randomly mixing English words for decorative purposes is a more common practice. It’s great.
Which brings me to my original point.
Recently I was on the subway in Osaka and I saw an add for a CD called Panoramic Porno by Porno Graffitti (sic). It confirmed a suspicion I’ve long held, Japanese band names are, for the most part, terrible.
Obviously, they have a better excuse than their Western counterparts, but it doesn’t change the fact that they’re bad. Cringeworthy bad.
Check out the following band-names and marvel in their arbitrariness.
Porno Graffitti (sic).
Bump of Chicken
Schwarz Stein. (Schwarz Stein never mix milk with meat).
Seagull Screaming Kiss Her Kiss Her
Ogre You Asshole
Yum! Yum! Orange
SMAP (Sports Music Assemble People)
Date Course Pentagon Royal Garden
9 Goats Black Out