Your Favorite Bands: How To Correctly Pronounce Their Names

Back in December 1998, when Eminem was just hitting MTV and rap radio, we remember people pronouncing his name as "Eee-mine-im," and not the candy-inflected way it actually was. We even made the mistake during our first viewing of "My Name Is" late at night on the video channel and calling a buddy to ask him if he knew who the hell this scrawny white dude was.

Little did we know that Eminem would be a household name in just a few months. A few years later, at the end of 2003, "Caney" West was getting pretty popular, confounding potential fans who hadn't heard his name out loud yet. In less than a decade, his name would be either be "Asshole" or "Genius," sometimes used in the same sentence by the same person.

Since we can remember, the correct pronunciation of a band's name and even their album titles has been a topic of nerd discussion. Sometimes you waited for older and smarter people to say the name first before you uttered the name around them as to not look like a neanderthal. By the way, Grateful Dead's Aoxomoxoa is pronounced "ox-oh-MOX-oh-AH." We know you were all waiting for clarification, stoned out of your gourds.

Not every group makes it as easy on their potential fans as Lynyrd Skynyrd. Here's a list of commonly mispronounced band names and their phonetic pronunciations, which hinge on whether or not you speak pure, white-bread white-people English. Otherwise, screw these names up as much as you want.

Some people still think that Bouncy Knowles was in Destiny's Child and is married to DJ Jay-Z Jeff. Maybe we did mess up even some of the pronunciations ourselves, and maybe you should get back to work and stop reading a music blog.

Bon Iver: "Bone eev-AIR"

Alternate: "I have something in my eye. Get me a beer."

Sufjan Stevens: "Soof-YAWN Stevens"

Alternate: "Yawn Yawn"

Husker Du: "Whoo-SKER Doo"

Alternate: "I thought this was the Replacements..."

Kanye West: "Khan-YAY West"

Alternate: "Arrogant Asshole"

!!!: "Chick-Chick-Chick"

Alternate: "(tongue click), (tongue click), (tongue click)"

Ray LaMontagne: "Ray LUH-mon-TAIN"

Alternate: "Chicks are crying in the bathroom"

Deadmau5: "Dead Mouse"

Alternate: "When did raves come back? The fuck?"

Sigur Ros: "SEE goo-ROSS"

Alternate: "Bless you!"

Daedelus: "DEAD-uh-luss"

Alternate: "Nerds!"

Incubus: "INK-you-bus"

Alternate: "I lost my virginity listening to what?"

David Garza: "Dah-VEED Garza"

Alternate: "Cool house show, brah."

Tyagaraja: "Tie-YAH-gah-RAH-jah"


Sade: "Sha-DAY"

Alternate: "Mom and Dad's bedroom door is locked again."

Samhain: "Saw-WHEEN"

Alternate: "Just say Sam-hain and shut up."

Einsturzende Neubauten: "Ein-STUR-zen-duh NOI-bout-en"

Alternate: "Just point at the album and smile politely."

Portishead: "PORE-tiss-head"

Alternate: "Heroin"

Yngwie Malmsteen: "Eeeng-VAY Mahlm-STEEN"

Alternate: "Not Eddie Van Halen"

NOFX: "NO-Eff-Ex"

Alternate: "Playskool My First Punk Band"

Alexisonfire: "Uh-LEK-sis On Fire"

Alternate: "Man, Warped Tour makes me feel old now."

Avett Brothers: "EH-Vett Brothers"

Alternate: "Is this Dawes/Fleet Foxes/Mumford & Sons?"

The XX: "The Ex Ex"

Not Acceptable: "The 20"

Ke$ha: "Keh-SHUH"

Alternate: "Is that a fake ID, because if it is you can't put glitter on me there."

Yeasayer: "YAY-Say-er"

Alternate: "Pitchfork said so."

MGMT: "EM-Gee-EM-Tee"

Alternate: "That one band that you only own the first album from."

Kylesa: "Ky-LESS-ah"

Alternate: "(blood-curdling scream)"

INXS: "In-EX-ess"

Alternate: "The band from the Six Flags commercial, right?"

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Craig Hlavaty
Contact: Craig Hlavaty