How They Got Their Names Pt. 3

Ever wonder how Arcade Fire, MGMT, Weezer, and others got their names?

A name is often the first impression a band makes on their audience, and if there’s an interesting story on how it came to be, that’s a plus. So here is how 10 more bands got their name. Check out parts one and two!

Vampire Weekend
Singer Ezra Koenig studied at Columbia University where he majored in English literature. While he was an undergrad, he was working on a film called Vampire Weekend and later decided to use it as his band’s name, too.

The War on Drugs
Singer/songwriter Adam Granduciel came up with The War on Drugs years before he had a band. He and his friend were drinking a couple bottles of wine and agreed that it would be a good name for a band. He later said it was either that or The Rigatoni Danzas.

Arcade Fire
Win Butler’s school bully would always talk about an old arcade that burned down, so he decided Arcade Fire would be an appropriate name for his band.

MGMT
MGMT originally put out demos as The Management. That name was being used by another band, so they shortened it to MGMT.

Alvvays
Always was also being used by another band (and a feminine hygiene product company), so they just split the w down the middle.

Weezer
Rivers Cuomo had to quickly come up with a name after he was asked to open for Keanu Reeves’ band Dogstar. Cuomo was asthmatic as a child, and kids would tease him by nicknaming him Wheezer.

Radiohead
Originally called On a Friday after the day they practiced in the music room of their high school, Radiohead signed to a record label who gave them two weeks to find a new name. They went with Radiohead after the 1986 Talking Heads song “Radio Head”.

Zeus
When Zeus was just a recording project, Peter Elkas asked them to open for him at the Rivoli. They had to come up with a name and had been throwing around terms like “juice tickets” and “zeus tickets” to describe how their music sounded in the studio. They almost called their band Zeus Tickets before they shortened it to just Zeus.

Beastie Boys
Mike D has said Beastie is an acronym for Boys Entering Anarchistic Stages Towards Internal Excellence.

Foo Fighters
When Dave Grohl was recording the first Foo Fighters EP, he was reading a lot of books on UFOs. Foo fighters was a term pilots used during World War II to describe abnormalities they saw while flying. Grohl has since said that if he’d actually thought Foo Fighters would make it big, he would have changed the name because Foo Fighters “stupidest fucking band name in the world.”