We’re at a wedding at the start of Alan Parker’s wonderful film The Commitments, and Jimmy Rabbitte is talking to Outspan and Derek, guitarist and bass player of the trio who are providing the entertainment (I use the term loosely). The conversation goes like this:
– What do you call yourselves?
– And And And.
– And And fuckin’ And?
– Well, Ray is thinking of putting an exclamation mark after the second And. He says it’ll look better in the photos. You don’t like it? You think it should go at the end?
– I think it should go up his arse.
If you agree that the name of a band is one of the most important things about them, and often the most interesting, you have come to the right place.
If you have ever bought an album by someone you’ve never heard of, because you like the cover, or the name of the artist, or both, you are in the right place. (This is how works of varying quality by The Clumsy Lovers, Me First and The Gimme Gimmes, and The No-Talents, among many others, found their way into my collection.)
If you have ever walked down the street and seen a poster in a pub or club advertising a band you don’t know from Adam, but you go and see them anyway because you find their name intriguing (which is how I came to see a very early gig by The Libertines), you are in the right place.
If you think Coldplay and Keane are boring names for boring bands, and would rather take a chance on, say, The Hoodoo Gurus or Margo Random and The Space Virgins … well, you get the idea.
Despite his misgivings about rogue punctuation, Jimmy soon signs up the two musicians for his new “Dublin soul band”, suggestions for whose name included A Flock of Budgies, The Fuckin’ Eejits, and Free Beer (“they always pull a big crowd”). But of course in the end they become The Commitments. A perfect name for a perfect band in a perfect film.
Unlike Avant-Garde-A-Clue, who also audition for Jimmy, there is now a real band called And And And (without exclamation mark). When it comes to band names, the line between fact and fiction is fuzzy. Real bands take their names from fictional bands, in films, books and other media. Fictional bands – from The Monkees to Spinal Tap – make records, tour and become real.
Genuine, fake, or somewhere in between, you can read about them here, along with dozens, and in due course hundreds, of other bands or, as we used to call them when this all kicked off in the middle of the last century, pop groups. I hope that in the course of reading about them, by following the links you may discover something new that you like, just as when I was 10 years old someone brought a record into school called House of the Rising Sun. By “The Animals”. What a cool name. I just had to hear and see them. And look at this. They don’t smile.
The rest is history, or at least, my personal musical history. We all have one.
This site is a work in progress but, working from a database of more than 10,000 band names, progress it will. Your comments and suggestions are welcome, and if you’d like to submit an on-topic blogpost, just email it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
And And! And: the Ultimate Guide to Band Names is dedicated to the memory of Lillian Roxon, Ross MacLochness, and The Bodgers.
Last modified: January 23, 2017