8 Band Names That Reference Other Bands or Artists

A band name can be inspired by anything, so why not another band’s name? They’ve already done half the work. Whether it’s a cheeky nod or a play on words, even if it starts out as a joke, sometimes a name just sticks.

Videos by American Songwriter

Below are eight examples of band names that reference other bands and even other artists.

1. Camarosmith

Hard driving 2000s-era rock band Camarosmith is a play on Aerosmith … but with wheels. Grunged up and sneering, the outfit sounds more like Queens of the Stone Age rather than the rockers of which their name plays off.

2. REO Speedealer

While aggressive rock outfit REO Speedealer were consigned to ’90s obscurity, they’ve continued to release music. However, it has been under the moniker Speedealer after a cease-and-desist from ’80s legends REO Speedwagon forced the change.

3. Garfunkel and Oates

A play on dynamic music duos Simon & Garfunkel and Hall & Oates, Garfunkel and Oates are a pair of comedic musicians made up of actresses Riki Lindhome (Garfunkel) and Kate Micucci (Oates).

4. Camper Van Beethoven

Alt-rockers Camper Van Beethoven may be far from the classical composer they are named for, but the band is just as inventive. Trailblazers of the indie and alt-rock genres, like Beethoven, they were trendsetters.

5. Lynyrd’s Innards

Self-described on their Bandcamp as “The suckiest bunch of sucks that ever sucked,” Lynyrd’s Innards is all rock, but like an angsty rock – definitely not Southern rock. We know a Lynyrd who already has that covered.

6. Deep Jimi and the Zep Creams

A quadruple threat of band references, Deep Jimi and the Zep Creams pulled inspiration from Deep Purple, Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, and Cream when formulating their band name. Why choose just one? And surprisingly, the Icelandic rockers sound somewhat like all four legends rolled into one.

7. The Brian Jonestown Massacre

A band name with multiple meanings, The Brian Jonestown Massacre takes its name from a founding member of the Rolling Stones, Brian Jones. It also borrows from the horrific Jonestown Massacre carried out by cult leader Jim Jones.

The psych-rockers take the cultural references one step further with their 2008 album, Their Satanic Majesties’ Second Request. The album title, like their band name, is another Rolling Stones tip-of-the-hat, referencing their 1967 album Their Satanic Majesties Request.

8. Gringo Star

Named cheekily for a master of the drums, Atlanta’s hazy indie rockers Gringo Star are masters, themselves, of spacey psychedelia. While former Beatle Ringo Starr and Gringo Star have little in common, they both rock.

(Photo Credit: Elisabeth Caren / Courtesy Garfunkel and Oates)

Leave a Reply

Talking Heads’ ‘Stop Making Sense’ to Be Restored and Released by A24