Say My Name: Bands Named After Actual, Real People

Categories: Craig's Hlist

Punk Rock Elite
This Friday would have been Z.Z. Hill's 76th birthday, but the popular Texas bluesman passed away in 1984 from a heart attack. Most people only know who the late soul crooner is through his connection to ZZ Top. The moniker of that little ol' band from where we are sitting right now is a reference to Hill, and the "Top" is a nod to B.B. King being on "top."

So of course this week for Craig's Hlist - which was on a vacation while we dealt with ACL and BestFest - digs into other bands named after real people. Repeat: Real people, outside the band itself. No fictional characters, though thinking about Mr. T as a "real" person hurts our head.

For instance, the name Fleetwood Mac comes from band members Mick Fleetwood and John McVie, so they don't work. Fun fact: Danzig is named after Glenn Danzig.

We all know that Lynyrd Skynyrd comes from Leonard Skinner, the band's PE coach who didn't like the longhairs. Pink Floyd's name is a mash-up between bluesmen Pink Anderson and Floyd Council. Jane's Addiction refers to a friend of the band who was a drug addict, and Pearl Jam comes from the jam that Eddie Vedder's Grandmother Pearl made.


Houston's own Riverfenix changed their name to Fenix TX to avoid trouble with River Phoenix's family. The Dandy Warhols and the Brian Jonestown Massacre should be easy enough for you to understand, same with the Dead Kennedys. Marilyn Manson got his name by mashing up the names of Shirley Manson and '80s Solid Gold host Marilyn McCoo, right?

Some names reference criminals; Brit-rockers Kasabian who chose their name in honor of Manson family getaway driver Linda Kasabian. The Dillinger Escape Plan and the Dillinger Four were both referencing Depression-era robber John Dillinger. Molly Hatchet was a real person, a hooker who killed and mutilated her male victims.

It gets harder to track with hip-hop and rap, but of course there is Jim Jones, Scarface, Kenn Starr, Lee Harvey, Gucci Mane, and... oh man we almost typed Snoop Dogg. What, really? Did we almost confuse a cartoon dog for a human person?

It took us five years after "Lit Up" was released to realize that Buckcherry was just a play on Chuck Berry.

Check out our ongoing playlist of bands on the next page.

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47 comments
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Hrichland
Hrichland

Rave Up records is proud to present one of the greatest outfits of the early US punk scene, The Sinatras. Started in 1976 and based in NYC, the band was quite popular at CBGB's and MAX’s KANSAS CITY. Their hit single, the 45rpm "TEDDY CRASHES BLOND DIES/SOME OTHER BOYS" is now hard to find and is on this LP. Their sound is inspired by the bands they hung out with, The NY Dolls and The Heartbreakers, and in particular, Johnny Thunders.Pure NYC punk’n’ roll sensations!!! RAVEUPRECORDS.COM

Christina Lynn Hildebrand
Christina Lynn Hildebrand

lynyrd skynyrd was named after their gym teacher that kept getting them into trouble for their long hair

bogart
bogart

ani difranco's dick Natalie portmans shaved head 

Ibfoxmann
Ibfoxmann

Danzig is not Glenn's real name, so that shouldn't count.  Danzig is a city in Poland, though (in Polish it's Gdansk), so there's another possible list; bands named after cities.  If you haven't already done that one.

chitown eby
chitown eby

Sorry, in the case of Less Than Jake, the. animal is a dog, not a cat.

Dom
Dom

Freeway & Rick Ross, named after trafficker "Freeway" Ricky Ross. Doy.

chitown eby
chitown eby

How about the bands Twisted Nixon and the Suicide Machines, originally named Jack Kevorkian and the Suicide Machines. I would say Less Than Jake, but the band's name refers to a cat.

MASSMURDERMEDIA
MASSMURDERMEDIA

we're gonna be here a few days with this one...

emerson, lake & dahmerthe hugh beaumont experiencedave dee, dozy, beaky, mick & tichwingervan halendokkenrun-dmccrazy horsehansonlizzie bordenthe jon benet

bibulb
bibulb

"the hugh beaumont experience"

POINT. HELL, YEAH.

CraigHlavaty
CraigHlavaty

I was looking for bands NOT named after people in the band...

There is a playlist on the second page for everyone to add their picks too. 

uberman
uberman

Industrial noisers Birmingham 6 named after the Birmingham 6

David Adams
David Adams

" Pearl Jam comes from the jam that Eddie Vedder's Grandmother Pearl made". Sure it is.

Vondeitch
Vondeitch

How were the Ramones, Blondie & Reagan Youth left off the list? There was also a So Cal Alt country band in the early 2000's called the Bastard Sons of Johnny Cash.

CraigHlavaty
CraigHlavaty

The Ramones are not named after a real person, even though the person who used that alias was very real. Will add the Bastard Sons for sure. 

David Adams
David Adams

Have a "Like" for the Reagan Youth reference.

AJ
AJ

Jethro Tull

CraigHlavaty
CraigHlavaty

Please go to the second page. I made a playlist of all the bands, BEFORE I wrote this blog. 

Novocain
Novocain

Franz Ferdinand, which someone else mentioned, and their arch-nemesis band, Gavrilo Princip.  Kind of like Oasis and Blur.  No, just kidding.

Bluesbob57
Bluesbob57

Molly Hatchet was the nickname of a prohibitionist, like Carrie Nation, who used to go to saloons with her "trusty hatchet" and break liquor bottles.

MASSMURDERMEDIA
MASSMURDERMEDIA

their original singer went on to greater heights with his danny joe brown and the danny joe brown band...

Emaildrrrr
Emaildrrrr

WHAT ABOUT THE BAND "I PEE IN MY OWN MOUTH" NAMED AFTER THE AUTHOR OF THIS ARTICLE???

Andyantagonist72
Andyantagonist72

wheres the Black Dahlia Murder? named after the murder of Elizabeth Short.

Csquire112
Csquire112

In Dallas in the '90s there were a couple of groups who fit your bill."Pumping Ethel" was originally named "Ethel Merman," but got sued by her estate & changed their name oh SO well. Loved those guys.The other was "Jesus Christ Superfly." Now don't go saying that wasn't a real person.Of course, some may remember "REO Speeddealer." But that doesn't fit this list.Down in New Orleans there's a band called the "Molly Ringwalds."

RP
RP

 btw marilyn manson got his name from marilyn monroe and charles manson.

Brittanie Shey
Brittanie Shey

Gogol Bordello is named after Ukrainian writer Nikolai Gogol.

Championshipvinyl73
Championshipvinyl73

read anything, ever, about Pearl Jam and you see that after the demise of green River and Mother Love Bone, they were originally going to be called mookie Blaylock. Pearl Jam's first album? Ten. Mookie Blaylock's number with the Nets? 10. from a Jeff Ament interview...""When we were recording our first record, we had a per diem of about $10. So when we got lunch at the store across the street, we'd always buy a pack of basketball cards. When we turned in our tape, we didn't have a name for the band yet so we put a Mookie Blaylock card in the case. We were about to go on a tour and still didn't have a name and needed one quickly. We were told it didn't need to be the name that we were going to use forever, just something for the tour. Someone saw the Mookie Blaylock card and said, ‘How about Mookie Blaylock?' We decided to go with it and did a 10-show tour with Alice in Chains as Mookie Blaylock. Mookie was cool about it, too—he didn't sue us. I actually got to meet him later on and shoot around a little bit. We also made a Pearl Jam T-shirt with a picture of him on it. I guess we owe Mookie a lot."Pearl Necklace indeed....

BobM
BobM

You're kidding about Pearl Jam, right?  Double back to ZZ Top's "Pearl Necklace" and you'll get it.

Early Cuyler
Early Cuyler

The name Pearl Jam did come from a jam Vedder's grandmother made, a hallucinogenic jam according to Vedder.  "Pearl Necklace"?  Admit it, you just pulled that one out.

Championshipvinyl73
Championshipvinyl73

read anything, ever, about Pearl Jam and you see that after the demise of green River and Mother Love Bone, they were originally going to be called mookie Blaylock. Pearl Jam's first album? Ten. Mookie Blaylock's number with the Nets? 10. from a Jeff Ament interview...""When we were recording our first record, we had a per diem of about $10. So when we got lunch at the store across the street, we'd always buy a pack of basketball cards. When we turned in our tape, we didn't have a name for the band yet so we put a Mookie Blaylock card in the case. We were about to go on a tour and still didn't have a name and needed one quickly. We were told it didn't need to be the name that we were going to use forever, just something for the tour. Someone saw the Mookie Blaylock card and said, ‘How about Mookie Blaylock?' We decided to go with it and did a 10-show tour with Alice in Chains as Mookie Blaylock. Mookie was cool about it, too—he didn't sue us. I actually got to meet him later on and shoot around a little bit. We also made a Pearl Jam T-shirt with a picture of him on it. I guess we owe Mookie a lot."Pearl Necklace indeed....

Championshipvinyl73
Championshipvinyl73

Com TruiseTeslaJethro TullFranz FerdinandWayne Gacy TrioDhamerPearl Jam was almost Mookie Blaylock, until he allegedly vetoed itStone Temple Pilots was always rumored to be Shirley Temple's Pussy originally...

David Adams
David Adams

Pearl Jam WAS Mookie Blaylock. They played at least one show I know of at the Rock Club on Olive under that name.

april5k
april5k

Vivian Pikkles = Vivian Pickles = british actress who played the mother in Harold & Maude.

Early Cuyler
Early Cuyler

Damn, all this time I thought ZZ Top was a reference to Zig Zags and Top rolling papers. 

Holy shit, someone else that has heard of Walt Mink.

Jodie Foster's ArmyEd HallBlake Babies

CraigHlavaty
CraigHlavaty

Billy Gibbons has said it was Hill and BB. The rolling papers thing started when they started getting big in the '70s. 

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