9 Band Names That Mean Less Than You Think

5 Seconds of Summer, Nine Inch Nails and WTF is a Hoobastank?

October 29, 2015
Photo: PRPhotos

By HowardStern.com Editorial

When you need a name for your band, sometimes all it takes is throwing some random words together. From flipping through the dictionary to using inside jokes to just settling on something that “sounds professional,” many bands have a story about coming up with their unique names, they just aren’t as well thought out as you might think.

Here are 9 bands with names that seem like they must have some mysterious or profound meaning behind them, but really don’t…

5 Seconds of Summer

Photo: Facebook

“I sent them a message and said ‘Hey guys, I’m naming the band 5 Seconds of Summer,'” guitarist Michael Clifford told a Connecticut radio station in 2014. “[They] were like ‘Okay. We’re cool with that.'”

“It doesn’t have any sort of story,” bass guitarist Calum Hood added, explaining that they attempted to name the band while sitting around at school one day. The group never expected the name to last very long but then One Direction called, added them to their Take Me Home Tour, and millions of fans started screaming, “5 Seconds of Summer, I love you!”

There’s no turning back after that … or is there?

Photo: Twitter

Nine Inch Nails

Photo: PRN / PRPhotos.com

“It really doesn’t have any literal meaning,” Trent Reznor explained in an interview. “It’s a curse trying to come up with band names.”

He liked how the abbreviation NIN looked though and after testing it out for two weeks, decided he’d finally found the perfect name.


Photo: Getty Images

Original drummer John Rutsey was known to have pushed the other guys of Rush to practice and perfect their unique sound. When it came time to play one of the band’s early gigs, they realized they still hadn’t come up with a name for themselves.

Biographer Bill Banasiewicz writes that it was Rutsey’s brother who had a genius idea while the group was sitting around frantically trying to come up with a band name.

Why not just call themselves Rush?

Flaming Lips

Photo: Facebook

“We really didn’t know what we were gonna be called,” Coyne explained to Spin Magazine in 2010. He had read about a group going by the Flaming Hands and liked the sound of that so he altered it slightly to the Flaming Lips and assembled a flyer for the band’s next show that featured a woman with her legs spread open with a mouth covering her important parts.

“Some folks have told me that I got the name from an old Fred Astaire musical that it supposedly shows up in,” Coyne said. “Others said we took it from a quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson. Nope, it happened like I said it did.”

Indigo Girls

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Amy Ray and Emily Sailers had performed under a couple of other names before they landed on the word “indigo.” Literally.

In 1985, Amy was thumbing through the dictionary, trying to find a cool name to put in front of the word “girls.” While reading through the I section, she came across a word that would fit the bill and the Indigo Girls were born.

Bay City Rollers

Photo: Sony Music Entertainment

How does a Scottish rock band make it in America? Pick a U.S. city to name your group after. The Bay City Rollers looked at a map of the U.S. and settled on Bay City, Mich. The “rollers” part of their name is supposedly in reference to the rolling waves of Lake Michigan (which none of them had ever seen in person). Their plan for American domination worked, sort of – the band’s biggest hit, “Saturday Night,” went to #1 in 1976.


Photo: PRPhotos

A supergroup as big as Asia deserves a big name! That was manager Brian Lane’s thought process when the progressive rock group formed in the early ’80s. In the heat of the moment, they decided that nothing was bigger than the biggest continent in the world and the rest is history.


Photo: PRPhotos

What exactly does the word Hoobastank mean?

According to the band’s lead singer Doug Robb, “it doesn’t mean anything. And it’s really cool.” The group from Agoura Hills, Calif. insists their name is just an inside joke from high school that has no real story behind it – perhaps the lack of reasoning behind their name led to their #1 single “The Reason.”