Chapter 13: Say My Name, Say My Name (Rock ‘n’ Roll Nomenclature)

Starting a band is work. Not as much work as mowing lawns, admittedly, but learning to play an instrument well enough that you can recruit some friends or strangers to join you? Work. Finding a place to rehearse, and then later, having the audacity to charge people to listen to you? Work. (Maybe that’s why Throwing Muses, in their early days, gave a dollar to anyone who came to one of their shows.) But coming up with a name for your band? That’s the fun part—which is why thousands of bands have never made it out of the name-creation and logo-design stage. (The logo-design laboratory is often the back cover of a school notebook.) My nonexistent band in eighth grade? Graven Images (without any “the” before the name—I was going through a major Talking Heads phase.)


  1. How did Iggy Pop get his name?
  2. Did the Circle Jerks and the Gun Club really trade names?
  3. My friend had a weird dream: It revealed to him that Jimmy Eat World chose their name because they were Jewish (i.e., the initials J.E.W.) Could there be any truth to this, or has my friend just smoked himself retarded?
  4. What’s the meaning behind the name “The E Street Band”?
  5. I was just wondering: What does t.A.t.U. stand for? I heard it’s short for Teens Against Tobacco Use but t.A.t.U. don’t really seem like the type of girls who are against smoking.
  6. What does DMX stand for?
  7. Where did Pearl Jam get their name?
  8. Have R.E.M. ever performed under any other names?
  9. Just how did Weezer get their name?
  10. Is it true that the Foo Fighters’ original name was the Food Fighters, but at an early show the venue didn’t have a D to use on the sign?
  11. Where did Velvet Revolver get their name? Weren’t they called the Project?
  12. Why does Jay-Z call himself Hova?