Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Band names: What the what?

So I was driving to work the other day when this catchy, Weezer-meets-grunge song by Cage the Elephant came on the satellite radio. The tune is "Aberdeen," and I like it.

Fast forward to the end of the day. I'm driving home, listening to the same satellite station, and hear another catchy tune, more redolent of Coldplay than Weezer. The announcer comes on and tells me the song is "Apartment," by a band named Young the Giant.

Is 2012 the year of band names with "the" in the middle of them? Or am I just now noticing the trend?

Cage the Elephant and Young the Giant (which sounds more like a pro wrestler name than a band's) are just the tip of the "_________ the _________" band name iceberg. There's also Foster the People, Jeff the Brotherhood, Portugal. The Man (with a nice bit of odd punctuation thrown in for good measure) and of course the band that set originate the concept: Mott the Hoople.

Now, the "the" has been used in the middle of many band names since the beginning of time. But usually it is preceded by an individual's name and the word "and," followed by the name of the band -- i.e., Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, Hootie and the Blowfish.

What's up with these names? Could blank the blank be the latest band trend? Have we used up all the place names for bands (Of Montreal, We're from Barcelona) and animal references (Fleet Foxes, Antlers, Mountain Goats, Band of Horses)?

Just wondering.

Here's a little What the what? playlist for you. Can you think of other bands that fit this category?


  1. Looking through my collection, I have a lot of _____ of _____, a lot of bands that start with "The" and a handful of bands that have "the" in the middle (but have more than one word either preceding or following it); but the only 2 groups that fit the ______ the _______ format are "At the Gates" and "Poison the Well", neither of which really fit the non-sequitur style you discussed.

  2. Curtiss - Those bands work.

    A couple other "What the What" bands in my collection:

    Blitz the Ambassador
    Over the Rhine
    Hit the Switch

  3. going old school with Mott the Hoople

  4. I have an ongoing rant list of band name trends and there is a complete segment on this, but I only include the nonsensical use of the. Mott could very well be a Hoople, the people could very well need fostering. Pedro thinks he's a lion, etc.

    Now how about them Neutral Milk The Aeroplanes?

    - will

  5. Isn't that right, Jukebox the Ghost?

    - will

  6. Then again, I spent the 1980's playing guitar in a band called Scruffy the Cat.

  7. Walk The Moon
    Cage The Elepgant
    Roll The Tanks
    Foster The People
    Mott The Hoople
    Toad The Wet Sprocket