Graphic: Nick Wanserski

It’s hard to say who inspired it. Let’s Get Out Of This Terrible Sandwich Shop? Test-Icicles? Snatches Of Pink?

All of them appeared on a list of dumb band names I kept on the cork board over my desk in 2005. At the time, The Onion still printed newspapers, and in the back of them was city-specific A.V. Club content, like show listings, interviews that had a local peg, and restaurant blurbs. I was city editor for our Chicago edition, which meant I sorted through hundreds of show listings every week for our calendar. If I saw a goofy band name, I wrote it down, mostly for the amusement of me and my officemates, Josh Modell and Nathan Rabin.

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When it came time to assemble our ballots for the best music of 2005, I appended my picks (No. 1: Sleater-Kinney, The Woods, still great) with a couple of lists: “worst band names encountered this year” (on top: Public Display Of Funk) and “best worst band names encountered this year” (I Will Kill You Fucker).

I started a new list when we came back from the holidays, posting a midyear check-in around Memorial Day in the A.V. Club blog. When a bigger list spanning all of 2006 followed, it took off—or what counted as “taking off” for us back then. When the time came in December to assess the pop culture of 2007, the band-name list became a permanent part of our year-end coverage.

We still labeled it the “worst band names,” even though I actually liked plenty of the them. The lists always had bad names—generally cloying, cutesy, or otherwise eye-rolling—but a lot of them, maybe even a majority, were at least clever. It didn’t make sense to paint them all negatively, so starting in 2008, I just started calling it “the year in band names.”

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By that point, I was supervising all the local editions of The A.V. Club, which meant each week I saw comprehensive show listings for Chicago, New York, Minneapolis, Austin, Denver/Boulder, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Madison, and Milwaukee. That provided an endless bounty of material, particularly from anonymous local bands playing bottom-rung clubs. Because they generally aren’t looking to make a career out of music, they’re much more likely to give into their goofiest ideas. Rarely do I receive a press release about a band with a name like Really Loud Hamburgers. (I do, however, constantly receive press releases for self-serious metal and hard-rock bands, which can be rewarding in a different way.)

I lost access to those show listings when my focus shifted from the local to national A.V. Club around 2009, but the city editors would send me suggestions right up until we stopped publishing newspapers at the end of 2013.

By then, bands had an overwhelming array of promotional tools to announce their shows, and calendar listings in a weekly newspaper probably didn’t move the needle much. Maybe they didn’t matter all that much in 2006, either. In a way, the Year In Band Names has turned into an accidental chronicle of the different ways bands promote themselves and the rise of social media.

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That first blog entry from 2006 mostly links out to the groups’ actual websites, with a small but noteworthy chunk going to Myspace. (Twitter debuted that year, YouTube was barely a thing, and Facebook was still the domain of college students.) More bands flocked to Myspace by 2007, and the social network would dominate the list for the next couple of years: The 2008 and 2009 editions are riddled with references to bands’ Myspace pages, which groups would customize into slow-loading, unreadable monsters choked with photos, videos, and illegible text. Even though a few Facebook links started slipping into the Year In Band Names by 2010, bands stuck with Myspace longer than the rest of us, because Mark Zuckerberg was slow to adapt to the needs of musicians. Facebook caught up, and by 2011, Myspace was all but a memory. (Google+ never factored.)

Now bands tend to have profiles on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Bandcamp, YouTube, Tumblr, and whatever else to promote themselves, with frequently amusing results: We Should Whisper!, featured in the 2010 edition, apparently didn’t realize the Twitter widget on their Myspace page pulled all of their tweets, including replies, like one where they shit-talked about someone named Jamie.

Over on YouTube, a California metal band called Dismembered Carnage posted a rambling interview that played like Heavy Metal Parking Lot for the web-video age. In it, guitarist Joey Marks describes the group’s upcoming album thusly: “It’s a lot more evil, it’s a lot more death-metal-oriented, it’s a lot of fucking evil, satanic, fucking mind-fuckin’ rape stuff, man. It’s killer, dude. You’ll fuckin’ like it if you’re into old-school shit, unless you’re a fuckin’ poser, then you’re not gonna like it.” The video has since been removed, hopefully not because we embedded it in the 2014 list. (The band is still grinding along, recently releasing an EP called Deranged Butchery, featuring the song “The Unholy Crucifixion.”)

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People frequently ask if I ever hear from the bands, and I do, especially after Twitter took off. Generally they’re flattered or at least good sports. Sometimes they’re seeking to be on the list outright, as was the case for Bird Ate My Donut, who mentioned in their bio that making the list was one of their goals. Seldom do bands get pissy with us about it, but in fairness to them, they’re usually the ones I actually mocked. (In fairness to us, they had it coming.)

To commemorate a decade of bands removing vowels from words, finding the most disgusting medical conditions possible, making esoteric pop-culture allusions, and creating new variations on “meth,” “pussy,” and “fuck,” I’ve compiled some all-stars from the past 10 years. Will we ever see another name like Happy Mother’s Day, I Can’t Read? Maybe not, but the circle of band-name life continues: My 2017 list already has 11 contenders.

2006

Here Comes Old Vodka Tits
Little information remains today about what is probably the most remembered name in the list’s distinguished run. I found it in show listings for the Double Door in Chicago, and if memory serves, it was some kind of side project. Way down in Google results now I found a message board where someone mentioned it was the (apparently short-lived) project of Rick Sims of punk band The Didjits. These days it looks like Sims is a noted sound designer and composer in the Chicago theater scene, though his website—presuming it is the same guy—makes no mention of Here Comes Old Vodka Tits or The Didjits. Don’t run from you past, Rick! You’re a hall of famer now!

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You Ruined Christmas

Fuck Start Your Face
Their Myspace page is still up! Check out songs like “Baby Jesus Listens To Grind” and “AIDS Is Fun For All Ages.” In their Top 8 (ah, memories) are fellow list alumni, including Clinging To The Trees Of A Forest Fire and Fuck The Facts.

Super Fucking Judo Flip
Their Myspace page remains as well, where the song “Filthy Prick” currently has 1,803 plays.

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Tony Danza Tapdance Extravaganza
This mathy metal/hardcore band ended its run in 2012, but not before releasing four albums, including 2007’s Danza II: Electric Boogaloo, 2010’s Danza III: The Series Of Unfortunate Events, and 2012’s Danza IIII: The Alpha - The Omega.

Lyin Bitch & The Restraining Orders
This Denver band released only one album, 2007’s Can’t Cum Within A Hundred Feet Of Your Love, but made a few enemies along the way. A sound guy posted a live video of them titled “Worst Band - Lying [sic] Bitch and the restraining orders,” with this description: “I ran sound for this band, they are the worst band and biggest bunch of drunk assholes I have EVER worked with in 20 years of running sound.” It’s like Pop-Up Video, only with shit-talking instead of facts: “There was beer thrown all over the stage! and [sic] they constantly taunted the audience by insulting them and trying to pick fights with them.” Or, “This band had the volume up so high there was non stop feedback. You couldnt [sic] hear anything.” Also “The drunkest one of the group was the bass player. Not only was he incredibly drunk but he was nasty and looked like a homelss [sic] person, and really rude to anyone that dealt with him.” My favorite: “OH NO!!!! NOW WHAT ARE THEY DOING?!?!?!?”

When SLUG magazine ran a negative review of Lyin Bitch’s album, frontman Jim, a.k.a. Shank Whitey, wrote an amused but defensive letter to the editor addressing writer Jeanette Moses directly: “I think the only reason you place us in yer special little box of offesive [sic] music is because you are either A) just a person who just got into punk withing [sic] 2-5 years ago and yer still just a tad bit niave [sic] punk music or B) a fem nazi hybrid in need of a good fuck but doesn’t want to do it because yer fem counter parts won’t like that you will yell out ‘Lyin Bitch, insert yer fists!!’” (SLUG’s response: “Dear Jim, your hick band STILL sucks… Do the world a favor, Sell [sic] your gear, quit playing music and move back to Kentucky.”)

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Jehovah’s Shitlist
Facebook bio: “We were a punk band in Minneapolis, until we grew to hate each other, now we’re a group of insufferable unemployed alkie shut-ins.”

Sh-Sh-Sh-Shark Attack!!!!

2007

Gay Witch Abortion

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Ima Fucking Gymnist
They would go on to change their name to Ima Gymnist, but not before releasing a 7-inch called So Freakin’ Juicy under their original moniker.

Psychedelic Horseshit
The last post on their Tumblr:

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Fixed Gears Are For Jerks And Lesbians
It’s a Simpsons reference, but the diss on trendy bike culture makes it even better. From the video below: “Go ride a tall bike, ya fuckin’ bitch!”

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Happy Mother’s Day, I Can’t Read

Mel Gibson & The Pants
Bio: “Equal parts underground hip-hop and electronic rock band, Mel Gibson and the Pants are rarely as hilarious as their name might imply.” The Minneapolis group formed in 2004, two years before Gibson had his “sugar tits” DUI, and six years before the, uh, other unpleasantness.

Coach Said Not To

Count Dracula’s Weed Smuggling Jam Engine
In a video interview, the Austin band goes into the mostly boring origin of its name, but includes this nugget: “We also wanted to get the idea out to our fans that we sold weed too. It was the only way to get the word out. It was the only way to move product.”

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The Pistol Whippin Party Penguins
Did anyone expect this to be a string band from Minnesota?

2008

Self Congratulatory One Man Reach Around

Carlos I’m Pregnant

Natalie Portman’s Shaved Head
Even though this reference to Portman in 2005’s V For Vendetta is obviously timeless, in 2010 the band changed its name to Brite Futures, which they announced via a funny video using footage of Portman in Closer. Alas, the future wasn’t that brite: The group disbanded in 2012.

Jerry Seinfeld’s Atrophied Sac
Featured in Houston Press’ 35 Bands You Should Never, Ever Search On Google Images. Maybe that was the case in 2011, but now:

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Piss Piss Piss Moan Moan Moan
Song: “2 Cool Chicks Listening To Nothing New

The Unnecessary Gunpoint Lecture
Tracklist for last year’s Sociopathy: A First Hand Account: “The Ancient Art Of Autoerotic Asphyxiation (Ft. David Carradine),” “We Hate Your Children, But We Love Your Mother’s Cornbread,” “Pissing Match Champions Pt. 1,” “Pissing Match Champions Pt. II (Here’s Our Fucking Trophy).”

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Sweatpants In Public
First Google result: “How to Wear Sweatpants in Public,” from instyle.com. Second results: “Reasons Not To Wear Sweatpants In Public,” from thegloss.com. The debate rages well into the second page of the search results, but the band doesn’t make an appearance until a YouTube video at the bottom of page two.

The Kind Of Jazz Music That Kills

Piss Pissedofferson
The web offers little information about this singer-songwriter, aside from a couple people covering his songs (Rocky Votolato, Michael Dean Damron), and this Facebook post from California band The Dead Volts:

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The Greatest Touchdown Ever Scored
Bands constantly proclaim their music can’t be classified, or can only be labeled as some genre they made up. Here’s the nonsense TGTES came up with: “A driving and melodic force that flows from start to finish, it displays hard rock roots with the new genre: violent space rock.” According to CDBaby, it’s “Rock: Adult Alternative Pop/Rock.”

2009

Fuckface Unstoppable
This was Bam Margera’s band, which should probably disqualify it from inclusion. “I wanna bend my dick to my ass / so I can fuck myself.”

Put Down The Muffin

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I Was A Lover DeLorean Was A Dealer

Cerebral Ballzy
Their Vision Psycho Stick is pretty awesome—but it’s sold out.

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Ska Skank Redemption
Although the band’s website says it played its final show in November of 2012, its Facebook links to a Kickstarter for a new album. Much like Andy Dufresne emerging from that sewage pipe, Ska Skank Redemption has been reborn.

Florida=Death
Songs from the band’s 2009 self-titled album: “Eastern Freckles Of Abdominal Dynamite,” “Sleeping In Day Apparel,” “French Horn Cornered Alley,” “(Jim Will Make) A (Boat),” “The Ass End Of Digital Connection,” “Plural Nouns And Moans And Sex Sounds.”

2010

Puffy Areolas

Everybody Was In The French Resistance…Now!
A side project of Art Brut’s Eddie Argos, the band’s music responded to popular songs. So Kanye West’s “Gold Digger” inspired a song called “Coal Digger.” The Crystals’ “He’s A Rebel,” got the sarcastic-quotes treatment with “He’s A ‘Rebel,’” etc. Sadly, EWITFRN didn’t even enjoy the ephemeral charm of Art Brut.

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Sorry I Stabbed Your Daughter

You Might Think We’re Sharks

The Vomit Arsonist
“For your Page’s cover photo, use a unique image that represents your Page,” advises Facebook, so “death industrial/power electronics” outfit The Vomit Arsonist chose this:

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Tiger! Shit! Tiger! Tiger!

Kiss The Anus Of A Black Cat
The name probably sounds a lot less clunky in the native tongue of whatever people speak in Ghent, Belgium.

Ain’t No Er Like A Stripper
“Aint No Er Like A Stripper is a Chicago Based ‘Power Rock Trio’. Its ‘Queens of the Stone Age’ meets’ Hendrix’, meets’ Helmet.’” I’m not sure it “gets” what “quotation marks” “mean.”

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No High Fives To Bullshit
Blurb for the Put It On A Shelf full-length: “Recorded in 2011 in our practice space. Poorly mixed several times, forgotten and ignored for four years. Mixed and mastered by Chris Fogal at Black in Bluhm Music in 2015. Then kind of ignored again. Is anyone still there? I’m sorry…”

Trendy Trendy Space Vegans
Some tracks from 2011’s Stop Stifling Art: “Sometimes People Get Fat,” “Progressive Suit O’ Pod,” “U2SucksU2SucksU2SucksMyBalls,” “Hey There, Tight Pants.”

2011

Vomit Erection
This Bulgarian “Goregrind.Horror.Pornogore.Vomitnoise.Brutal.Death.Metal” band is all about cartoonishly violent, scatological misogyny, as captured in the lyrics to “Warm Diarrhoea [sic] Blasts On My Face”: “got my little bitch ordered her to defecate / anger and hatred arose inside me as she refused to stream her brown gold for me.” (It goes on and on and on like that.)

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You Bred Raptors?

I Hate Our Freedom
About: “This is the straight-up no frills, 4-white-guys-with-guitars, canbeered and duct-taped rock we were all going deaf to before we got into girls.” Band interests: “beer that is similar to ‘sex in a canoe’ aka fucking close to water.”

The TTTTotally Dudes

Why Are We Building Such A Big Ship?

Salem Bitch Trials
Tracks from the 2011 self-titled album: “Eat My Pussy,” “Sexual Assault Causes Impotence,” “Deep Within It Swallows,” and, naturally, “Salem Bitch Trials.”

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2012

Fartbarf

Fartbarf Manifesto:

1. Set public expectations low, but keep internal standards high.

2. Attempt only to please yourself – if others choose like it, so be it.

3. Avoid all trends. Nothing good ever comes from following them.

4. Create what others cannot easily duplicate (and probably would’t want to anyway).

5. Everything fun mustn’t always be Fartbarf, but everything Fartbarf must always be fun.

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Hookers Made Out Of Cocaine
Tracks from 2013’s Hello, Earth Bitch: “I Like It When You Call Me Mark Knopfler / Sadderall,” “Way To Go, Ross Perot,” “Bathsalt Peter Frampton.”

Nihilist Cunt

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Traumatic Anal Devastation
This grindcore band will forever be heroes for interrupting a Newt Gingrich rally.

Terri Schiavo Dance Party
About: “Terri Schiavo Dance Party will rock you into a coma.”

Coke Dick Motorcycle Awesome
In a YouTube video, the singer bellows to the crowd before a song: “Now you see that evil will always triumph, because good…” He pauses briefly, and the crowd shouts, “IS. DUMB!” There are a lot of Spaceballs fans in the CDMA audience, apparently.

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Piñata Protest
Cerebral Ballzy has its own skateboard, but Piñata Protest has its own beer.

Neon Piss

2013

Bears In A Temple For Midgets
Unsurprisingly, the band decided to change its name to something less obnoxious, but decidedly less interesting, Bears.

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He Whose Ox Is Gored
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that a band with this name has a nine-minute song called “Weighted By Guilt, Crushed Into A Diamond.”

Fuck You Cop You Fucking Cop
Not to be confused with The Fucking Cops, who released an album in 2010 called You Have The Right To Shut The Fuck Up. Recommended: “For Whom The Taco Bell Tows.” But nothing remains online of Fuck You Cop You Fucking Cop.

Mandatory Abortions

Slutvomit

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2014

My Penis Is Made Of Dogshit
Since we checked in with this prolific New York experimental outfit in early 2015, it has continued at a blistering pace, releasing Eternal Cuck this past summer. It includes “songs” such as “Satan Anally Rapes You With A Rigid Putrefied Plague Rat While Eternally Ejaculating Acidic Satanic Cum On Every Part Of Your Body (Official Theme Music For Trump 2016),” “Glenn Frey Is Dead But There Are Still Too Many Living Eagles (Live In Las Vegas),” and “Ketamine Tampon.” Buy all 19 MPIMOD releases for the low price $92.25.

Diagnosis? Bastard!
Song: “Am I Stupid? Or Idiot!

Shitfucker
While you probably remember 2013’s Suck Cocks In Hell, have you checked out the 2014 split with Bonehunter Devil Must Be Driven Out With G.I.S.M.?

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Bummers Eve

2015

Fuck Your Birthday

Gruesome Toilet
Don’t forget to pick up its new split with Melanocytic Tumors Of Uncertain Malignant Potential, featuring songs like “My Used Band-Acid Collection Will Be Next Week’s Potluck,” “Give Me Something To Make Pee In,” and “In Touch With Your Feminine Side.”

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Okilly Dokilly
The “world’s only Nedal band” plays Ned Flanders-inspired metal. Songs from this year’s Howdilly Doodilly: “White Wine Spritzer,” “Godspeed Little Doodle,” “Nothing At All.”

Shitnoise Bastards
This year’s Don’t Give Up To Listen To Noisecore mini album crams 44 songs into about 15 minutes.

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Shit Fucking Shit

The A.V. Club’s Year In Band Names: The Complete Collection

Worst Band Names Of ’06
The Worst Band Names of ’06: The Final List
The Worst Band Names Of ’07
2008: The Year In Band Names
2009: The Year in Band Names
2010: The year in band names
2011: The year in band names
Fartbarf, Neon Piss, and more: the year in band names 2012
Georgia O’Queef, meet Slutvomit: The year in band names 2013
2014: The (belated) year in band names
When Bundled Bowels met Gruesome Toilet: The 2015 year in band names
Panting at the threshold of your worst imaginings: The year in band names, 2016

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