the national evil guide to naming your backing band

Heartbreakers! Dream Makers! Love Takers! Don’t you mess around with me!

A scroll through his iTunes list puts the Evil in a contemplative mood . . . and gets him to wondering (a) what is the all-time best name for a backing band? and (b) how does one effectively christen his own complementary players?

First, (a). One oft-commenting FOE (Friend of Evil, we’ve been over this) maintains that the Heartbreakers is the best backing-band name. The Evil is not inclined to disagree (though he will hear arguments to the contrary). Others are more catchy, more clever, but the Heartbreakers is a name every band would gladly take for itself, even if some pretentious musician-types wouldn’t admit it. It’s classic, works in any musical genre—even hardcore death metal, if you wrote it in bloody goth-font with a graphic of a skeletal hand crushing a heart in its bony fingers—and communicates a supreme confidence that doesn’t cross the line into arrogance. Good stuff.

Now: (b). After a grueling marathon of thought, the Evil came up with one simple rule for determining what is or is not a good name for a backing band: it would have to be great standalone band name. (No, it doesn’t seem like it would take that long to formulate one rather simple and obvious rule, but would it help if the Evil mentioned he was suffering through an excruciatingly painful bowel movement at the time? No? That’s OK, because he wasn’t. Really. Let’s all just forget this parenthetical aside, shall we?)

Thus, the Heartbreakers. Plus the New Power Generation, the Wailers, and the Banshees. Whereas no band on earth would call itself the Range, the Gang, or the Mechanics if Bruce Hornsby, Kool, or Mike suddenly up and left.

Having established that, here are a few other backing band names that caught Evil’s eye, Oscar-style:

Winner of the “Critically Acclaimed but Commercially Negligible” Category: Col. Bruce Hampton and the Aquarium Rescue Unit.

Winner of the “I swear his backing band was the evil alien race from a really bad, post-Star Wars sci-fi TV series” Category: Question Mark and the Mysterians.

Winner of the “It is what it is” Category: Bob Dylan and the Band.

Winner of the “Clever in-joke for those wondering what happened to the other guys” Category: Elvis Costello and the Imposters.

Winner of the “Hey! When did we suddenly become this guy’s backing band?!” Category: Iggy and the Stooges.

Winner of the “I don’t know what a ‘Jick’ is, though it sounds vaguely offensive” Category: Steve Malkmus and the Jicks.

Winner of the “I crave Jujubees every time I hear that name” Category: Izzy Stradlin and the Ju Ju Hounds.

Got any other great/terrible backing band names? Share them with the Evil!


7 thoughts on “the national evil guide to naming your backing band”

  1. While I am not familiar with Col. Hampton’s body of work, a quick search reveals that he was a wellspring of fantastic band names. In addition to the Aquarium Rescue Unit, he was also backed by The Grease Band, The Late Bronze Age, The Fiji Mariners, The Codetalkers, and my personal favorite, The Quark Alliance. The Colonel (Ret.) also can boast of releasing the second worst selling album in Columbia Records history. Ahh, Wikipedia, an endless source of the interesting and inane.

  2. 1. but what is the first-worst-selling album in columbia records history?


    2. captain geech . . . where has the evil heard the name “geech” before? ah that’s right, it’s the name of cletus the slack-jawed yokel’s smellhound.

  3. Funny you should ask. The worst selling album in Columbia’s history is a yoga album. I guess an audio only format doesn’t really work for yoga. “Ok, stand on one leg. Now breath.” Others that aren’t bad: The Silver Bullet Band, (Billy Vera and) The Beaters, (Dr Hook and) The Medicine Show, and (Joan Jett and) The Blackhearts.

  4. yoga! yo-yo-yo-yo-yoga! yo-yo-yo-yo-yoga! buh-da-da-da-da-daaa!
    love that song!

    incidentally: the beaters and the blackhearts? two more great backing band names. more on the silver bullet band to come . . .

  5. Dearest Evil, I would like to humbly submit that …& The Bad Seeds also be a great backing band in any number of genres. Metal, Country, Reggae, Country-Reggae

  6. indeed! excellent submission.

    however, only willie nelson is allowed to bridge the country-reggae divide . . .

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