If I’ve learned one thing from years of interviewing bands it’s “don’t ask about how they came up with their name”. Early on I would notice signs that the artists did not like this question. Maybe it was a subtle eye-roll or a sudden iciness to their demeanor. One lead singer told me straight up, “that’s a stupid question”.

So, if you’re just starting out doing interviews or even if you just happen to meet a band I recommend you stay away from the “How did you guys come up with your name?” question.

Besides, you could look that information on your phone in a lot less time than it would take for them to answer.

That’s not to say there aren’t some interesting stories about band name origins. Here are a few well-known acts that got their names from OTHER bands and artists.

This is a two part list. Here are numbers 1 through 4 with numbers 5 through 8 to follow tomorrow.

1.) Judas Priest

Got the name from: The Ballad of Frankie Lie and Judas Priest by Bob Dylan

Sample lyric: Well, Frankie Lee and Judas Priest
They were the best of friends
So when Frankie Lee needed money one day
Judas quickly pulled out a roll of tens.

Confirmed by: Original bassist Brian Stapenhill.

2.) Rolling Stones

GOT THE NAME FROM: A blues song by Muddy Waters (which was a reference to a proverb that goes back to ancient Roman times).

SAMPLE LYRIC: Well, my mother told my father,
Just before hmmm, I was born,
"I got a boy child's comin',
Gonna be, he gonna be a rollin' stone”

CONFIRMED BY: Keith Richards and Brian Jones

3.) At The Drive-In

GOT THE NAME FROM: Talk Dirty to Me by Poison

SAMPLE LYRIC: Cause baby we'll be
At the drive-in
In the old man's Ford
Behind the bushes
Till I'm screaming for more

CONFIRMED BY: bandnameexplained.com. I couldn’t find any first-hand account so…maybe Jim or Cedric could drop me a line?

4.) The Killers

GOT THE NAME FROM: The video for the song Crystal by New Order

SAMPLE LYRIC: OK. This name didn’t come from the lyrics. It comes from the name of the fictional band in the music video for this song. You can see the name on the drum kit in the video.

CONFIRMED BY: Brandon Flowers (and the video for Somebody Told Me by The Killers)

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