| Music |

10 Popular Band Names Lifted Directly From Pop Culture

Fall Out Boy sorta fell into its Simpsons-inspired name by accident.
Fall Out Boy sorta fell into its Simpsons-inspired name by accident.
Jack Gorman
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To many, Save Ferris is known as one of many bands who rose to semi-prominence during the ska-punk wave of the mid- to late '90s. With contemporaries like No Doubt and Less Than Jake, the band charted a couple of records and made a living on the touring circuit. To others, Save Ferris is known for its name, borrowed from John Hughes's 1986 film Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, in which numerous students and well-wishers across the Chicagoland area begin collecting money to — get it — Save Ferris! Save Ferris, which plays White Oak Music Hall on Sunday, might be most famous for borrowing its name, but the band certainly isn’t the only one that owes its moniker to a little piece of pop culture.

Note: Tribute bands and the like are excluded from this list, because that could run well into next week.

In addition to being the most underrated, or perhaps most unheralded, band of the grunge era, Alice in Chains borrowed its name from Lewis Carroll's famous tale Alice In Wonderland. During the band’s formative years, front man Layne Staley would actually dress in drag at live shows, only to shed that image once he and his bandmates decided to go the more subdued route as the grunge movement rose to prominence. Seems to have worked; AIC’s first three albums all went multiplatinum.

To those unfamiliar with this Bay Area trio, its name might have one thinking they’re a metal or hardcore outfit. Not so; rather, Black Rebel Motorcycle are more indie in sound (hell, the dudes even incorporate a harmonica). In fact, the band’s name has nothing to do with its sound and everything to do with Marlon Brando’s motorcycle gang from the 1953 film The Wild One.

Come on, you remember Bloodhound Gang. They had that one terrible late-'90s novelty song, “The Bad Touch,” that got all sorts of play on MTV, mostly because late-'90s MTV existed almost solely to promote novelty artists and one-hit wonders. But the band name? Taken from the ’80s PBS program 3-2-1 Contact, which featured segments profiling a trio of young sleuths titled, wait for it, the Bloodhound Gang. Band members were self-admitted nerds who felt the name might help them sound tougher than they actually were.

This one is pretty straightforward. Duran Duran members were all fond of a Birmingham club called Barbarella’s, so much so that they took their name from the character, Dr. Durand Durand, from the 1968 sci-fi cult classic of the same name.

I have never seen an episode of The X-Files, which means I probably wasn’t made for membership in Eve 6. The group, known primarily for the '90s hit “Inside Out,” took its name from an episode of the show, titled “Eve,” that featured a character named Eve 6.

Say what you will about Fall Out Boy, and many have, but props for the name, which was taken from the superhero sidekick from The Simpsons. Of course, the band itself isn’t really the one responsible for said name. Years ago, during the band’s early years, they were playing a gig but hadn’t yet settled on a name. As the legend goes, the band went through a list of names onstage at a show in Illinois, to which a fan allegedly responded, “No! You’re Fall Out Boy!” And that was that.

Remember those Gremlins movies in the '80s, which featured the cute little Gizmo guy who would turn into a disgusting Gremlin if exposed to water or fed after midnight? Yeah, that little furry guy is a Mogwai, which lent its name to the Scottish rock band. Band members later admitted the name didn’t really mean a whole lot, and they actually meant to change it at one point, but “never got around to it.”

Radiohead is one of the most original bands ever to grace the rock landscape, even if their name isn’t all that original. Rather, the Oxford schoolmates — who began as On a Friday — changed their name to Radiohead at their record label’s request. The name pays homage to a Talking Heads tune of the same name.

Remember the spoiled little rich girl from the Charlie/Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory book and films? Yep, she’s the reason these Chicago alt-rockers took their name in the early '90s.

Wu-Tang mastermind the RZA has made no secret of his fondness for kung-fu films and the like. So it’s no surprise that one of the most influential hip-hop groups in history took its name from the 1980s kung-fu classic Shaolin and Wu Tang. The group even used audio of the English version of the film in its 1993 debut, Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers).

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