15 Most Offensive Band Names Ever Via

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.

14. Spandau Ballet

The music churned out by these 1980’s new wavers was about as inoffensive to the ears as it gets. “True” was a ballad that got significant radio play and no doubt ended many high school dances. Their moniker though, was very macabre. It is said that the Spandau part referred to the infamous Spandau Prison in Berlin, where many a Nazi was hanged after World War II. The Ballet part described the twitching and jumping said hangings induced in the condemned at the end of the rope. Via The Guardian

13. Limp Bizkit

Fred Durst is an angry guy and wanted a name for his rap-metal hybrid band that would literally turn people off. You either had to love Limp Bizkit, or hate them, according to Durst’s wishes. The lead singer is said to have picked the name from a masturbation game. Literally, a bunch of men form a ‘circle jerk’ with a cracker placed in the middle. The last man to ejaculate on the cracker has to eat it. Ewww. Via

12. Barenaked Ladies

Believe it or not, the guys who wrote the theme song for Big Bang Theory actually caused quite a stir when they debuted in the late 1980’s. The name that founding members Ed Robertson and Steven Page first settled on came about when they were joking around during a Bob Dylan concert they attended together. Their early popularity in the city of Toronto gained notoriety when the mayor, June Rowlands, had them taken off the bill to play a New Years Eve gig at City Hall. She felt the name objectified women. The rest is history. Via

11. Sex Pistols

Johnny Rotten, Sid Vicious, and the boys didn’t just have an offensive name, they went out of their way to offend everyone. From song lyrics (God Save the Queen), to how they dressed (torn everything and badly coloured hair), the lads from London gave sensible people the willies. The origin of the name is owed to band manager Malcolm McLaren, who convinced a young John Lydon to improvise some singing in an ersatz audition at his punk clothing shop called “SEX.” Via Wikipedia

10. Dayglo Abortions

Give the Canadian punk band its due. The group has been around since 1979 and are still going strong today. They are a hardcore punk fetishists dream and their music and message are meant to be as controversial as they can get it. They were charged with obscenity for the cover of ‘Here Today, Guano Tomorrow’ which featured a hamster being obliterated. A previous effort, ‘Feed us a Fetus’ had a picture of Ronald and Nancy Reagan sitting in front of the depiction of a baked fetus. Via

9. New Pornographers

There must be something in the water up in Canada. But the New Pornographers are more Barenaked Ladies than Dayglo Abortions. This critically acclaimed indie band has received many accolades, with its album Electric Version being named 79th on Billboards Top 100 albums of the 2000’s. Their music has also been featured on TV shows like Weeds and The Office. As for the name, well it is offensive and derived from a Japanese film called The Pornographers that was a favourite of founding member Carl Newman. Via

8. Steely Dan

This New York area jazz rock outfit headlined by Donald Fagen sure picked a doozy of a name. Fagen happened to be a fan of William S. Burroughs and his penultimate beat generation novel, Naked Lunch. Featured in the novel was “Steely Dan III from Yokohama”, which was, ahem, a strap-on dildo. The Rock and Roll Hall of Famers have ridden the waves of success since 1972, sexual appliance name and all. They have sold over 40 million albums worldwide, due to the success of hooky classics “Hey Nineteen”, “Rikki Don’t Lose That Number,” and “Deacon Blues.” Via

7. Porno for Pyros

From the ashes of alt-rock kings Jane’s Addiction rose Porno for Pyros, which has obvious connotations about those who pleasure themselves to fires. However, frontman Perry Farrell named the band after a fireworks ad he saw in a pornographic magazine. Nothing too devious about that. The band itself released two albums, one which spawned the hit “Pets”, and they appeared at Woodstock ‘94. Via

6. Cherry Poppin’ Daddies

Swing and ska are hardly controversial — unless you’re a puritan — and even less likely offensive. But the swing kings from Oregon jive on this controversial phrase. The band had heard it on a vintage race record, as much to give a nod to their musical roots as to give them a punkish irreverence. The Cherry Poppin’ Daddies huge hit, “Zoot Suit Riot,” sold over two million albums in the U.S. and put them in the same league as groups like the Stray Cats. Via

5. Bad Religion

Legendary San Fernando punk band Bad Religion have an offensive name — hello, Christian Right — and have marketed themselves as defenders of social responsibility. While they started out in 1979, Bad Religion really didn’t hit its stride until the grunge era in the early 90’s. The 1994 release of Stranger Than Fiction gave rise to a hit in “Infected.” They are one of the best-selling punk rock bands of all time with over five million albums sold and still together today. Via

4. Dead Kennedys

Jello Biafra was on to something in the late 1970’s when he formed his hardcore punk outfit in San Francisco. Like Bad Religion, the DK’s (as they’re sometimes known) gained a worldwide following and even found huge success in the UK. Biafra actually named the band to bring attention to the end of the American Dream, not, as one Bay Area scribe said was a tasteless ode to the assassination of JFK. The DKs, though, did go out of their way to tweak a lot of noses, especially with an insert to their album Frankenchrist which depicted H.R. Giger’s ‘Penis Landscape.’ This got them charged on an obscenity rap, after a teenage girl bought it, causing her parents to go ballistic. Via MusicBloodLine

3. N.W.A.

If we need to spell it out for you, look it up in Wikipedia. The gangsta rap group is best known for its release of Straight Outta Compton, which put the genre in front of legions of suburban kids looking for something different. N.W.A. would become even more famous for who was in its membership as the Hall of Fame-nominated group itself. In its ranks were Dr. Dre, who has become a rap superstar, as well as Ice Cube, who also crossed over into movies. Along with their offensive name, N.W.A.’s song “F**k tha Police” put them in conflict with law enforcement and right wing group Focus on the Family. Via

2. Nashville Pussy

The name isn’t in reference to felines in a famous Tennessee city, in case anyone was wondering. Big surprise, too, that the group’s songs center around sex, drinking, fighting, and rock n’ roll. The originators of ‘psychobilly’ (rockabilly hybrid) or ‘cowpunk’ got their name from the intro to Ted Nugent’s raucous “Wang Dang Sweet Poontang.” Does that about cover it? Their hit “Fried Chicken and Coffee” from — surprise, again — the album Let Them Eat Pussy, got them a Grammy nomination in 1999. Via

1. Butthole Surfers

Some will disagree, naturally, but we think that Butthole Surfers is the most offensive band name ever. And they aren’t just a one-note wonder, having been around for nearly 35 years. The Surfers have as hardcore a following as their music, which has enjoyed limited commercial success, except for the song “Pepper” which reached No. 1 on Billboard’s Modern Rock Tracks chart in 1996. As for the name, the wildly antic Surfers picked it for how controversial it was, rather than what it really means (sliding on grass on your bum). Via
Goliath Team

Goliath Team

Jack Sackman has been writing about movies and TV for Goliath since 2013.