So I Wanted to Be a Rock and Roll Star

Blind Melon.

Strawberry Alarm Clock.

Death Cab for Cutie.

The Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band.

Just a few of the actual band names out there. How did they come up with these? I’m convinced they knocked back a few shots of cheap whisky then opened up the dictionary to a random page.

Back in 1991 when I was 19 years old, I was in college out in Olympia, Washington practicing my right to wear Kurt Cobain grunge and dabble in recreational drugs. (I never inhaled.)

One day my three roommates and I cooked up a brilliant plan to become famous. Right after we cooked up yet another steaming bowl of Ramen noodles laced with patchouli incense dust.

“Hell, yeah, dudes! We should form a rock band!”

But we needed a name. Sure, we didn’t actually have instruments. Or knew how to play any. And none of us could sing. But the name was everything, right? I mean, just look at Hootie & the Blowfish! Our ticket to stardom was just a dictionary away!

So we took turns closing our eyes, flipping open the dictionary and randomly pointing at words. Hey, it was a slow day in the great Northwest — there’s only so much rain-soaked Starbucks lattes a person can stand.

Yesterday I was digging through a tote full of my old college papers and found a ripped page from my notebook that listed these gems. I laughed so hard I was crying. Crying tears full of lost dreams and laced with patchouli incense dust. (That’s right — I still like to burn incense, don’t judge)

I’d like to repeat that we actually thought we would form a world-famous band with these names.

I still think we can.

Hydrogen Paycheck
Impregnate Solomon
The Suede Turtlenecks
Scrod Hodge Podge
Flying Lemur Gas
Flaccid Cabbage
Magic Stash
Mercy Custard
Mind-blowing Anonymity
Allspice Milkshake
Cozy Offbeat Snot Rag
Quiet Fungus
Awesome Pretext
Darla and The Dandy Deputy Moonstones (my favorite)
Desperation Flare-up
Diphthong Cake
Liquid Lion
The Frightful Zits
Devil’s Food Cake 4:00
Odious Bread
Chastity Belt Nation (I think this band actually exists)
The Stodgy Boondoggles
Mudpuppy Game Theory (might have been a Seattle band pre-Nirvana)
Undersexed White Sauce
Nickelodeon Crapulence

Good stuff, huh. I think all of them were worthy of a popular rock band name.  We finally chose one name and stuck with it. We only played a few gigs on campus, most of them in our dorm’s living room to an audience of zero.

Yes, we were Liquid Lion.

I even composed a song for us that went something like this…[imagine me with flowing dreads wearing an oversized fuzzy green cardigan layered over a dirty plaid shirt and banging my head while playing bad air guitar]

Liquiiiiiiiiiid, Liquid Lion!

Liquiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiid Liquid Lion!

LIQUID LION!” [insert Wayne’s World riff here]


Sadly, Liquid Lion broke up due to creative differences and the drummer’s numerous rehab stints — not to mention my brief and torrid fling with a man named Jingo who’s singing voice sounded like a pig in heat yet somehow he convinced me to leave the group to collaborate on a double fantasy album, effectively killing my musical career forever.

John -- I get you, man. Love trumps all.
John — I get you, man. Love trumps all.


What’s the strangest band name you’ve ever come across? Let me know in the comments so I can steal it for my own band.

82 thoughts on “So I Wanted to Be a Rock and Roll Star

  1. My favourites from your list are Flaccid Cabbage and The Suede Turtlenecks.
    Many years ago, and frequenting The Cat and Fiddle, they had a band play called Cincinnati Hog Farm who were absolutely brilliant. Guy could play that electric fiddle and they were full of charisma belting out rock. Have no idea what happened to them and I never heard or saw anything on vinyl.

  2. In reading that list, I would have said Magic Stash and Liquid Lion were your best bets. And here you picked one of those! I would have thought you would have gone with the other one, though, since that was probably responsible for most of your decision making at that time. (I’m assuming you mean a stash of lollipops, right?).

    It’s really a shame that you guys broke up. You could have been the next Hole.

    1. Ooh, yeah Magic Stash is totes awesome, yo. I always found it funny how Kurt had the best name for a band ever with Nirvana, then Courtney’s band was….Hole. Doesn’t exactly flow for me, dude…

  3. Three Time Loser

    The Suede Turtelnecks. But then I was, as a young teen, a huge fan of The Zit Remedy, so what I do I know? (Yes, I know they are fictional, but ‘Everybody Wants Something’ is now in your head, isn’t it? Isn’t it???)

  4. Deborah the Closet Monster

    As Ik opened this, I was grumpy with two poor nights of sleep and not sure anything could make me laugh. Thos did. I think there might be good in pulling out my box of papers today and seeing if I can’t find more laughs there!

    1. Liquid Lion sounded so good, it really flowed off the tongue. Someone will probably steal it now and form a garage band and become famous.

      Did your band perform with light bulbs on your heads? Reminds me of Phish. I saw them once and I could have sworn they wore flippers and scuba gear while jumping on mini trampolines. Maybe I inhaled too much incense that night?

      1. Maybe! No light bulbs, but my dad made a podium out of cardboard and spray painted it. All the moms made us bright yellow vests. Oh yeah. We were rockin’ it in 5th grade. We had songs like “War,” “Peace,” and “Love.”

  5. I actually like some of those names, Flaccid Cabbage is awesome follwed by mercy Custard and Quiet Fungus.

    I like a swear in a bandname too, though I don’t know their music I always smile when I see gigs for Pissed Jeans or Fuck Buttons.

    1. I cannot believe no one has a band called Mercy Custard! Or Flaccid Cabbage. I mean, c’mon! Those are GOLD.

      Fuck Buttons? Are you serious? Wow, clearly I am living under a rock because I had no idea that band existed.

  6. I think it’s impressive that you found that list and actually remembered what it was! With an awesome name like Darla, you’d HAVE to incorporate it into your band name (we need to put Peggles on this, stat)!

    I want to name my band Uncle Jesse and the Strippers. At least one of those things is bound to bring in the crowds.

    1. The sad thing about that list? It was pages and pages long! I only picked the more ridiculous ones for this post. Oh, the wacky things I did for fun back in college….

      Uncle Jesse and the Strippers? Isn’t that what John Stamos’s bongo band was called?

  7. Pingback: So I Wanted to Be a Rock and Roll Star | ugiridharaprasad

  8. emisformaker

    If ‘Butthole Surfers’ can have a modicum of success, so too can ‘Darla and The Dandy Deputy Moonstones’. I’m a fan of ‘Wall of Voodoo’ in a small way, and a huge fan of ‘Oingo Boingo’. ‘Neutral Milk Hotel’ is on my playlist, too, along with ‘Jethro Tull’, and ‘They Might Be Giants’. So many great band names, so little time!
    Great post! I love (hate) looking through old notes and being thoroughly embarrassed / overwhelmed with my genius. My friends and I wanted to start a cafe instead of a band; it was to be dubbed The Mighty Ninja Java Palace (or Temple, depending on our mood). Sadly, this never came to fruition.

    1. Too funny, Butthole Surfers was one of the first names I thought of. I remember they had that one song I actually really loved, “Cinnamon and sugary and softly spoken lies…you never know just how you look through other people’s eyes….”

      Wall of Voodoo is a great name. Of course, now I have “Mexican Radio” in my head.

      I would think The Mighty Ninja Java Temple would be a huge success. I bet no one else has ever combined those words together before.

  9. As I was reading the list, I thought that Liquid Lion was a good name – and then it was the one you actually used! This means it has potential, and you should copyright it, in case you do a reunion tour.
    I have some friends in a band called False Fracture.

  10. Love those names. If you were to form a band now, since you’re in Maine, it would have to be Dead Haddock. You could open for Phish. Actually, when I was in college in Vermont, Phish would come and play, but I never saw them. I did, however, slam dance to Pinhead.

    My last year of college, I joined up with my drum playing boyfriend and was in a very short lived band. I lasted about 2 gigs. They hired on a pretty keyboard player who could actually play and actually sing, and went on to play many more gigs until said boyfriend went off to Michigan to his second grad school.

    1. Dead Haddock! LOVE it! I saw Phish out in Olympia of all places in 1991 (or 1992…can’t remember back that far…) I had never heard of them before the night my roommates dragged me to see them at some bar downtown.

      Do you remember the name of your boyfriend’s band?

    1. Oh it really was fun to sift through all the old essays I wrote for college too. I kept quite a bit of stuff, papers and journals and poetry. My writing was actually much better then for some reason, go figure.

  11. One of my favorite bands, Vota, went through a couple of name changes. I believe they were originally called Fish, then Helpless Speech (which people constantly misheard as Helpless Peach, which, let’s face it, is also a pretty awesome band name), then Casting Pearls (they changed their name to Vota because people kept confusing them with Casting Crowns despite having a completely different style).
    Other fun/possibly unusual band names I’ve come across:
    Five Iron Frenzy
    Press Play
    Shine Bright Baby
    Delirious? (yes, with a question mark)
    Pocket Full of Rocks

    I could go on…

  12. I would pay good money to see “Darla and The Dandy Deputy Moonstones.” Hell, I’d pay good money to see you, onstage, just SAYING “Darla and The Dandy Deputy Moonstones” over and over and over again. With the dreads and the sweater and all. And maybe playing the bongos.

  13. singleworkingmomswm

    OMG, Darla! I picked Liquid Lion as my fav, and well, to no surprise of mine, you picked it, too! LOL! And, my second fav…The Flying Turtlenecks…because I love wearing turtlenecks, ha, ha! OK, so I have been in quite a few bands, actually, no joke, being a drummer. But, the one that probably had the best name ever to make your best name ever list was a surf rock band I did back in college. I played marimba and keys. Sadly, due to circumstances beyond my control (age and dead brain cells), I can’t remember what they were called. Ha! But, I’m sure it was totally tubular, dude! XOXO

    1. Damn! Too bad you can’t remember the name! I am seriously impressed you are a drummer and were in real bands.

      I actually do play piano very well and have since I was a kid. I also love to sing but not as well as I wished I could sing.

  14. Liquid Lion was my fave, too! I have an imaginary all-girl surf rock band right now. We’re called The Social Debs. I play uke. You can be it if you play bass. We still need a bass player!

  15. My fav from your list was: Allspice Milkshake. But you would have had to explain for the rest of your decades-long career(s) that it was not at all about drugs.

    1. Yes, I know all about that band! My brothers actually bought one of their CDs back in the 1990s and I could not believe my eyes. Who would have thought a band named after the actress in the Little Rascals wouldn’t make it big?

  16. I love your band names. You should start a band for them all. Each band can be a different genre of music. I joked about starting a band in college. I was going to play the triscuit box – it’s an up and coming instrument. Our band name was The Lactating Papas. 😀

  17. LOL. The first band I ever named but was never formed was simply called “RAW SEWAGE”. Woulda been a sorta Ramones esque punk band. Then the two bands I actually WAS in Garage and dead end local club scene were “Battlefront” (Thrash) and “Terminal Velocity”.(Speed Metal). Lack of talent, dedication, and distraction led to brick walls everywhere, but fun while it lasted. (Not Long) LOL.

      1. Yeah that is definitely the one that got away. We woulda been so bad we woulda been good. LOL. This was a fun post by you and brought back some fun memories. Thanks

  18. Some of the strangest band names I’ve heard are not acceptable to list for a family blog. When my eldest daughter was in her teens, in the 80s, I suggested a name for a rock group for her and her friends: Rude Behavior. I still think it’s a hot name. I Googled the name and someone has picked it up. Unfortunately, the group appears to live up to the name. 😉

  19. I’m so behind on the blogging! I picked out Liquid Lion right away as my favorite and lo and behold, that’s the name you chose. Great minds…

    Mr. Rache enjoyed this post as well, although he was more emo than grunge. Think Yellowcard and Airborne Toxic Event (which he calls Toxic Love Affair – but what’s the difference, right?).

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