Ever since Elvis Presley first swivelled his hips and sent teenage girls into a frenzy, rock and roll has always pushed the envelope. Garish costumes, racy lyrics and crazy antics — hello Ozzy biting the head off a bat — have defined rock music. But how else can you hook an audience that is over-stimulated with gimmicky stuff? It’s all in a name.
When it’s not enough to turn the up the amp or wear fishnet shirts and tight leather pants, your band name needs to have a hook too, and the more offensive sometimes, the better. The Doobie Brothers, which was probably offensive to folks in the 70’s, isn’t what you think at all. It was actually a totally off-the-cuff recommendation by a friend of the band, who didn’t like their original name, Pud.
Jefferson Airplane, for those not in the know, has totally hidden meaning. Unlike Doobie Brothers, which isn’t about marijuana use at all, a ‘Jefferson Airplane’ is a makeshift ‘roach clip’ made out of a spent match. So there. Here are 15 of what we consider the most offensive band names ever concocted, some with hidden meaning and others that are just plain in-your-face outrageous. Oh yeah, we also picked bands people actually have heard of.
15. Joy Division
The seminal late 70’s British punk rock band’s name actually sounds rather pleasant, upon first reading. But the “Love Will Tear Us Apart” hitmakers name has more sinister undertones. The band originally known as ‘Warsaw’ renamed themselves after the prostitution wing of a Nazi concentration camp mentioned in the 1955 novel House of Dolls. To make matters worse, the splintered band changed names in the early 80’s to New Order, which also has fascist overtones.