Burn the Priest
Lamb of God
Lamb of God decided to change their name because according to Randy Blythe:
"You're automatically stamped with 'Evil' on your forehead with a name like Burn the Priest"
They even released a full-length album under this name, but soon the over-the-top handle, which at first helped garner the group attention, soon began to get in the way, especially as the five-piece found people increasingly assuming that they played satanic black metal. When a 1999 lineup change gave them the perfect excuse to rechristen themselves, they took on Lamb of God, which Blythe described as "a little less of a sledgehammer in the face," and since have become one of the leading metal bands in the world – though, ironically, they've been banned from playing numerous venues because of their current name.
The Salty Peppers
Earth, Wind and Fire
Earth, Wind and Fire's initial name was pure Sixties cheese: the Salty Peppers. "I was still in a jazz state at that time," White told Vibe in 1999. A move to L.A. and seven more bandmates later, White turned to astrology for a bigger, better name: as a Sagittarius, his elements were earth, air and fire.
Tony Flow and the Miraculously Majestic Masters of Mayhem
Red Hot Chili Peppers
Speaking of peppers, Anthony Kiedis explained that name Tony Flow and the Miraculously Majestic Masters of Mayhem was supposed to represent the chaotic style of the band. Tony Flow and the Miraculously Majestic Masters of Mayhem appeared for two shows in February 1983. "I was wearing a paisley corduroy three-quarter-length robe and a fluorescent orange hunting cap," remembered Kiedis about the first night. "Oddly enough, I was totally sober."
Soft White Underbelly
Blue Öyster Cult
Blue Öyster Cult may sound like a weird name on its own, but it's still a damn sight better than Soft White Underbelly. It took the exit of original lead singer Les Braunstein – who was replaced by Eric Bloom – and a particularly scathing review of one of their shows at the Fillmore East to convince band manager Sandy Pearlman that Soft White Underbelly needed a new name.
"Screaming abdabs" is old-timey British slang for a mystery ailment along the lines of the heebie-jeebies and possibly tied to the idea of delirium tremens. Examples of usage of the term include: "Roger Waters, Nick Mason and Richard Wright were architecture students at London Polytechnic when they joined a band called Sigma 6, which later became the Screaming Abdabs," and "The thought of spending one more second as a member of Pink Floyd gave Waters a case of the screaming abdabs."
Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley used to play in a generic rock band named Wicked Lester. Determined to create a more unique and bombastic band, Simmons and Stanley found Peter Criss. He mentioned he was once in a band called Lips, inspiring Stanley to propose they start calling themselves Kiss. "Get the fuck out of here," Criss complained. "That's a terrible pansy name." As would happen many times in the future of the group, things did not go the way the drummer wanted, though he learned to live with Kiss.
When the group first came together in the mid Nineties, guitarist Mark Tremonti presented his bandmates with a newspaper clipping he kept in his wallet containing a story about an abducted "naked toddler" and convinced them it would a good moniker. "The name didn't go over well," singer Scott Stapp wrote in his autobiography. "Girls hated it and said it made them think of pedophilia."
The Young Aborigines
Michael Diamond and Adam Yauch came up with the idea that the music should be primitive in some way, which is how they came up with the Young Aborigines as the name of the band. Eventually, the group adopted the name Beastie Boys. "It was the stupidest name we could come up with," the rechristened Mike D told Rolling Stone.
When Green Day were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, many were confused by the name on their drum riser: Sweet Children. The faithful fans knew this was Green Day's original moniker, and they were using it again for one night only as a celebration of their earliest days. They gained a tiny following and even got signed to Lookout! Records under that name, but they switched it to Green Day soon afterwards to avoid confusion with fellow California rock outfit Sweet Baby.
The Polka Tulk Blues Band
According to last week's Wednesday question, Black Sabbath is one of the best band names of all time. But before Black Sabbath, there was The Polka Tulk Blues Band. Tony Iommy didn't really like the name saying stuff like this:
"Every time I hear it, all I can picture is you, with your trousers around your ankles, taking a fucking dump. It's crap."Iommi wanted to call their band Earth, but soon discovered they weren't the only English band with that name. Butler eventually saved the day when he saw a crowd of people lined up to see the Boris Karloff film Black Sabbath and convinced his bandmates to try it out. The rest is history.