4 iconic band names for your inspiration

By Owen Jameson

25 May 2024

Coming up with band names is a faff. It’s the reason Super Hans and Jez from Peep Show had hundreds of them.

So how should you go about deciding the right one? Should you go for something simple or crazy, long or short, random or focused?

Here at Feedback, we have delved through music history to give you 4 brilliant band names and their stories, for your inspiration.

So, without further delay, let’s get into it.


Metallica, 2017

For our first pick, we have picked one of the biggest bands in metal history. Metallica’s name came from a friend of drummer, Lars Ulrich. His friend was trying to set up a metal ‘fanzine’ and was toying with two names: Metallica or Metal Mania. Lars, persuaded his friend to use Metal Mania rather than Metallica as he wanted Metallica for a potential band name. The name Metallica is strong and forthright, and leaves little to the imagination as to what the band might do and produce. It’s simple, effective and timeless, simply put Metallica could not have a better possible name.

King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard

King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard, 2015

Slightly more eccentric than Metallica, King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard have one of the most fun and ‘out there’ band names of all time. Famous for their experimental and psychedelic music, King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard seems the perfect name for their sound. The band are unconstrained in their creativity and are fearless when it comes to trying something different. The name comes from a last-minute decision as guitarist ‘Stu’ Mackenzie wanted to call the band ‘Gizzard Gizzard’ while others wanted the band to be called ‘Lizard King’ in homage to Jim Morrison’s nickname; a combination of the two was a happy compromise.

Barenaked Ladies

Barenaked Ladies, 2008

Now, Barenaked Ladies is a band name that no-one will forget. Front man, Ed Robertson and his friend Steven Page used to pass notes around their classes with amusing band names on them, with Barenaked Ladies being birthed in one of these sessions. The name stuck when Ed Robertson’s band broke up just before a charity ‘battle of the bands’ competition, and in a momentary lapse of judgment or Eureka moment (you guys choose) he said the band was now called Barenaked Ladies. Robertson drafted Page in at the last minute to help him play and while Page didn’t stick around their name did.

Joy Division

New Order (formerly Joy Division) displaying their previous band name, 2019

In 1977 Joy division took their name from a Nazi sexual slavery wing in a concentration camp from the 1955 novel, House of Dolls. An albeit morbid name, Joy Division are one of the most iconic British Bands of all time. The name Joy Division landed them in initial controversy due to some thinking the band may be far-right sympathisers, but after a couple of years being Joy Division; the themes in their songs proved this to be far from the mark. Joy division went ironic with their name as their songs weren’t exactly ‘joyous’, but this just exemplified the band members’ dry wit and personalities.

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