More band names

Commenting on Facebook on my note about the punk band Pissed Jeans, Chris Ambidge mischievously asked about the names Manly Panda and Bitch Bovine (half-rhyming and alliterative, respectively) — mischievously, because the names are soc.motss pseudonyms for Chris and Michael Palmer, respectively. Apparently, though, the names haven’t been taken for band names.

How do I know this? Well, there’s a database.

Back in 2002, Brian Whitman at the MIT Media Lab assembled a database of “Ten Thousand Statistically Grammar-Average Fake Band Names”. His explanation:

When working on the paper “The Quest for Ground Truth in Musical Artist Similarity” (paper PDF link) we built MusicSeer to collect human evaluation of artist similarity. We expected a lot of responses but needed a way to ferret out “bad” results– robots, users just clicking randomly, and people that didn’t know the bands presented. One idea was to pepper the list with “red herrings” in the form of fake bandnames– and if someone chose one, we’d ignore their responses later on.

Instead of thinking up a few, I made a quick script to part-of-speech tag the original list of 6,500 artist names that we were considering. This left us with a set of common band name grammars … We then fed terms from our already collected music text set (‘Klepmit’) through the grammars again (at the natural probabilities) to make some believable names.

If you start a band with one of these and get famous, I only ask that you don’t use “Caldera Catnip,” as it is already taken.

And, by golly, Manly Pandas and Bitch Bovine are on the list. Along with many other entertaining names, for instance:

Seagull Sensor Drive, Cram What, Anemia Creamers, Stooge Elk, Shit Mutation, Nimble Screw, Stray Pussy, Cocks Circle, Banging Ashman, Barb Woody, Torus Mole, Each Tits, Reindeer Hardware

[Addendum: Chris Ambidge supplies the history of the soc.motss pseudonyms:

that list was mentioned in a soc.motss post, and twas then that Manly Panda and Bitch Bovine were claimed by moi and Michael.]

Sorry, folks, Up Yours has been used for a Dutch cover band (in the city of Asten); Big Dick for a band in Ottawa; and Cram It for a band in Rochester NY.

A search on Whitman’s database gives no results with any of these words in them:

asshole, fuck, crap, turd, cunt, quim, piss

— possibly because all the obvious names involving them were already taken. Astonishing that Stray Pussy hadn’t been used.

4 Responses to “More band names”

  1. Chris Says:

    I’m unclear here: (a) in your first paragraph you say, [Manly Panda and Bitch bovine] *haven’t* been taken for band names. But later (b): [quoted text] p.s. I have received an alarming amount of mail indicating that readers have found REAL LIVE BAND NAMES in this list… [your text] and by golly, Manly Pandas and Bitch Bovine are on the list.

    so which is it?

    (I should point out that moi was Manly Panda as soon as I saw the list, in 2002; so any musical Manly Pandas are johnnies-come-lately.)

    – – Ailuropoda melanoleuca torontonensis

  2. arnold zwicky Says:

    From Billy Green on Facebook:

    Way back when I was in college, one of my friends made up the punk band name “The Chinchilla Clits,” and we would call into the college radio station requesting various made-up song titles by them. This was often a form of commentary on whatever the station was doing at that moment. (For example, one New Year’s Eve, the DJ spent a couple of hours playing songs with “New Year” in the title, so I called and requested the Chinchilla Clits’ song, “Happy Fucking New Year, Big Fucking Deal.” He said, “I’m not sure that we have that, but I’ll look for it.” The themed programming ended shortly afterward, and regular programming resumed.) One time when I called in with a request, the DJ repeated incredulously, “The Chinchilla Clits?!” and I heard someone in the background exclaim, “That’s a real band!” So apparently we called in just enough to effect a minor hoax.

  3. arnold zwicky Says:

    Arne Adolfsen notes on Facebook the band Touched by a Janitor. Which seems still to be in business; one of their often-cited albums is Love’s Ambulance. (Album names are yet another topic.)

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