This list has been happily helping the online community waste brain cells on music trivia since 1996. There are similar sites online. You just found the original. ~ Enjoy!

PANSY DIVISION - "In January 1991, before the band had formed, I was sitting at my desk in the San Francisco office of Rough Trade Distribution, trying to think of a name for this queer rock thing I was starting. I looked up at the bulletin board next to the desk and misread the name of an upcoming release by some band called Third Panzer Division. I flashed on Pansy Division by mistake and thought it was good, and it stuck" - Jon Ginoli.  Quote from their official website.
PANTERA - Their first name was PANTEGO, the name of a Texas town. PANTERA is Portuguese for Panther.
PAPA ROACH -  It seems Buckner had a CD by jazz musician Pancho Sanchez called Papa Gato. The title struck a chord with Dick, whose grandfather's last name was Roatch - he was "Papa Roatch" to his family.  Still, according to Dick: "For the longest time, it's had nothing to do with my grandpa.  We drew up this cockroach logo because we wanted to avoid the weed thing. Weed's okay, but it's not what we're about; we're kinda like the cockroach that can survive anything.  Source : This online biography of the band 
PAVLOV'S DOG - This St. Louis band is named after the famous salivating dog experiments of Russian physiologist and experimental psychologist Ivan Petrovich Pavlov.
PEARL JAM - A couple variations: 1- Eddie's grandma (who's name is Pearl) used to make good jam  2- Eddie's grandma used to make peyote jam.  Rumour has it the band almost named themselves "Mookie Blaylock" after their favorite basketball player.
PENETRATORS - From the song "Penetration" by The Pyramids.. the first song they learned to play
PENNYWISE - Named after the clown in Stephen King's novel IT.
PERE UBU - The main character in Alfred Jarry's play, Ubu Roi.
PET SHOP BOYS - inspired by friends who worked in pet shops.
PHANTOM TOLLBOOTH - Named after a very cool children's book by Norton Juster. There was also a movie made of the story in the 60's featuring Butch Patrick (Eddie on the Munsters).
PHISH - A play on drummer John Fishman's last name. The altered spelling was influenced by the BEATLES.  The band sometimes claims "PH" reminds them of the sound of a plane taking off... "phhhhsssssss".
PHOBOS - This Dutch band named themselves after one of the moons around planet Mars.  PHOBOS also means fear in Greek.
PIGPEN - This fun, short lived band from New York was named after the dirty kid in Peanuts comics.
PINK FLOYD - Named after Georgia blues musicians Pink Anderson and Floyd Council. They almost named themselves "Anderson Council" and "Megadeath".
THE PIXIES - The band's guitar player was learning English and noticedthe word in a dictionary. They thought it would be funny to have a big guy like Black Francis fronting a band called "The Pixies".
PJ HARVEY - Polly Jean Harvey
PLUG UGLIES - This Chicago band named themselves after a notorious New York street gang from the 1800's.
PM DAWN - Inspired by a Bible quote, "In the darkest hour comes the light."
POCO - they were originally Pogo, but the creater of the comic strip Pogo sued, forcing them to change the name.
THE POGUES - Shortened from "Pogue Mahone", which is a distorted version of Póg Mo hÓn, which is Irish Gaelic for "kiss my ass"
POLICE - For some reason they enjoy using themes related to law enforcement. Consider STING's name and the Stuart Copeland side project Klark Kent. One of Stuart Copeland's brothers used to head I.R.S. Records and another brother ran the FBI Tour Agency.
POOP SHOVEL - named after "Pooper Scoopers".
IGGY POP & THE STOOGES - IGGY  and IGUANA were nicknames since childhood.  POP was inspired by Jim Popp, a local junkie.  The Stooges were originally the PSYCHEDELIC STOOGES.. which combined their love of drugs with "The Three Stooges".  The STOOGES later dropped PSYCHEDELIC to avoid any hippie assumptions.
POP WILL EAT ITSELF -PWEI apparently agreed with an article in NME titled "Will Pop Eat Itself?"
PORNO FOR PYROS - More than one story going..  1- Perry Farrell found a porno magazine wrapped around fireworks in a garbage can on the street.  2- Farrell was reading a fireworks catalog on a tour bus when a pal said the magazine looked like smut for arsonists, or porno for pyros.  3-Farrell realized that watching the L.A. riots on TV was probably Porno for pyros.  
PORTISHEAD - The name of their home town in England.
THE PRETENDERS - Named after the PLATTERS song "The Great Pretender".
PRETTY BOY FLOYD - The name of a notorious Mafia hitman.
THE PRETTY THINGS - After the BO DIDDLEY song "Pretty Thing". They were actually an ugly, loud band.
PRIMAL SCREAM - A psychological best seller by Arthur Janov.
PRIMUS - They called themselves the PRIMATES but heard about another band with the same name, so they evolved into PRIMUS (which means "first" in Latin).  It's probably a coincidence, but PRIMUS is also a rockin' brand of camping stove.
THE PROCOL HARUM - The band's official website debunks the common rumor that PROCOL HARUM is Latin for "beyond those things", which is almost right .. that actually translates to PROCUL HIS.  The band's site is confused about the real story, but contends that it has something to do with the name or pedigree of a cat owned by Guy Stevens. 
THE PRODIGY - Named after the Moog Prodigy, the first synthesizer that Liam Howlett from the band had.
PROJECT-X - This electronic band from Stockholm, Sweden was possibly inspired by the Ayn Rand book "Atlas Shrugged".  In that book, Project X was a device that could destroy huge objects and living things with sound waves.
PROFESSOR LONGHAIR - "professor"was the title given to New Orleans whore house piano players. He had long hair, too..
PROPAGANDHI - This politically active punk band's name is a combination of "Propaganda" and "Ghandi".  The band's official website is one of those rare ones that includes much more than the usual narcissistic self hype.
PROPELLERHEADS - Slang for computer nerds.
PSYCHEDELIA SMITH - A spoof on Delia Smith, who is the most famous TV chef in Britain.
PSYCHEDELIC FURS - They enjoy psychedelic music even though they don't play it. After a night of drinking and toying with names like PSYCHEDELIC SHOES.. SHIRTS... SOCKS, etc.. FURS sounded good.
PSYCHEFUNKAPUS - a character in a FUNKADELIC song.
PSYCHIC TV - Psychic TV and thee Temple Ov Psychick Youth were created by Genesis P. Orridge ov THROBBING GRISTLE. Genesis's theory of magick encourages using all thee technologies currently available (including TV) for psychick purposes. Temple Ov Psychick Youth is a loosely cooperating world wide magickal community. They look cool and actively misspell words, adding "k" at thee end of everything and they write "ov" and "thee" a lot.
PUFF DADDY - A couple (maybe related) stories: 1- Puff Daddy was Sean Combs' nickname in high school.  2- Sean used to puff out his chest to look bigger during sports.
PULP - Originally known as Arabacus Pulp (after a commodity Jarvis Cocker learned about during economics). This was shortened to Pulp because nobody else knew what the full name meant.
PUNK ROCK - It's hard to pinpoint exactly how the term punk rock came about..  Marc Bolan called himself the "Cosmic Punk" in the early 70's. Rock critic Dave Marsh described ? and the Mysterians as having a punk rock attitude in 1970. The Tubes released the song "White Punks on Dope" in 1975, and shortly after that  Malcom McLaren started pimping the SEX PISTOLS as punk rock.. then everything went nuts.
PUSKAS - This Hungarian band from Fleet, on the Hampshire/Surrey border, is named after Hungarian footballing legend Ferenc Puskas.   He was in the first team to beat England at Wembley and is known for wild partying.
PUSSY GALORE - A name with great shock value taken from the sexy character in the James Bond movie "Goldfinger"
PYLON - A William Faulkner novel.
QUEEN - Freddie Mercury liked the name for the transvestite connotation and the glamorous image of Queens in royalty.
QUEERS - named themselves this despite the fact that they are all heterosexual.
RADIOHEAD - Named after a TALKING HEADS song called Radio Head.
RAMMSTEIN - Evidently not named after the German town and airfield called Ramstein.  RAMMSTEIN is old fashioned German for (basically) a big stone door stop.  Some think the name is a German euphanism for penis.
RAMONES - Early in his career, Paul McCartney used to call himself Paul Ramone.
RAPEMAN - This Steve Albini band was named after a violent Japanese comic book character.  There are also Japanese RAPEMAN movies, which are basically comedies about a contract rapist. ... very odd stuff.
RASPUTINA - A twist on Rasputin's name. He was a powerful and rebellious Russian cleric who couldn't keep his dick in his pants, especially around the Czar's wife. He finally died after being poisoned, castrated, shot and drowned all in one night.
REAL MCCOY - Originally called MC Sar & the Real McCoy. MC Sar was dropped to dissociate the band from rap music when they came to the US.
RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS - They were originally called "Tony Flow and the Miraculously Majestic Masters of Mayhem". Anthony Kiedis says he was inspired to change the name to the RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS after seeing "a psychedelic bush with band's name on it".  It may be a coincidence, but the famous pimp and piano player Jelly Roll Morton had a band called RED HOT PEPPERS in the 1920's.
R.E.M. - Michael Stipe closed his eyes and stuck his finger in a dictionary..  R.E.M. (Rapid Eye Movement) is a state of sleep.  Other fun acronyms are: "Righteous Energetic Music", "Really Enjoy Masturbating" and "Rear End Men."
REO SPEEDWAGON - It was the name of a pick-up truck made by Oldsmobile in the 1930's. "REO" is the initials of Ransom Elliot Olds, who was the founder of the Oldsmobile Car Company.
REO SPEED DEALER - Parody of REO SPEEDWAGON, who sued the band.. so the band's name is now SPEED DEALER.
THE REPLACEMENTS - Legend has it that they were given a gig after another band failed to show up one night. When asked who they were, Paul Westerberg quipped "We're the Replacements".
THE RESIDENTS - The band initially had no name. All their rejection letters were addressed to "Resident".
REVOLTING COCKS - Thought up in an all-night drinking/drug binge at the Wax Trax records office.
RIDEL HIGH - The High School in the movie Grease
ROCK AND ROLL - Old slang for sexual intercourse. The Boswell Sisters recorded a song called "Rock and Roll" in 1934.. long before rock music evolved.  Early 50's disc jockey Alan Freed is credited for popularizing the term as we use it today.
ROLLINS BAND - Almost too obvious to bother with ... Henry Rollins started this band after BLACK FLAG broke up.
ROLLING STONES - From the MUDDY WATERS song "Rolling Stone". The name was suggested by Brian Jones.
THE ROOSTERS - This New Jersey band named themselves after the great HOWLIN' WOLF song "Little Red Rooster".
ROSETTA STONE - A famous archeological find. It's an old stone with a message repeated in different languages. It helped Archeologists figure out Egyptian hieroglyphics.
JOHNNY ROTTEN - Named after his rotten teeth
RUN DMC - They originally called themselves ORANGE CRUSH, then changed to RUN DMC after graduating from high school.  "DJ Run" (Joe Simmons) and "DMC" (Darryl McDaniel) combined their monikers for the new name.
RUSH - Two stories:  1- They named themselves after a product called "Rush" that was popular in head shops in the 70's.  "Rush" was similar to "poppers" and gave a quick head rush.  2- They were rushing to think up a name before their first gig, and John Rusty's older brother yelled, "Why don't you call your band RUSH?".  -- A silly Christian rumor says the band name means "Ruled Under Satan's Hand".
SAMBA - This South American dance translates to "rubbing two navels together.  Source = History Channel, January, 2000.
SAMHAIN - The Celtic New Year, which has evolved into Halloween.
SAVAGE GARDEN - From an Ann Rice novel.
SAVE FERRIS - From a sign in the movie FERRIS BUELLER'S DAY OFF.
SCREAMIN' CHEETAH WHEELIES - Inspired by a Far Side cartoon with Cheetahs in it.
SCREAMING TREES - The model of a guitar effects pedal.
SCRITTI POLITTI - The title of political writings by Antonio Gramsci, an Italian Marxist.
SELECTOR - The Selectors in Jamaican and British dancehall culture are the disc jockeys that play records for dancehall rappers.
SEPULTURA - The singer was inspired when translating the Motorhead song "Dancing on your Grave", which is "Dancando Na Sepultura" in Portuguese.
SEX PISTOLS - Malcom Mclaren came up with the name. It was partially inspired by his wive's punk clothing shop called "Sex".
SEVEN MARY THREE - John Baker's call numbers in the old TV show CHIPS. The bandmembers all went to College of William and Mary as well.
SHUDDER TO THINK - One of the band members said "I shudder to think, we'll be another pop band"
SICATA - Inspired by all the cicatas falling out of the trees when they were trying to think up a name.
SIGUE SIGUE SPUTNIK - once the name of a Russian street gang, it means "burn burn Sputnik". (Sputnik is the name of a satellite)
SILVER APPLES - This New York electronic music duo named themselves after a line in the Yeats poem "The Wandering Angus". The line: "... The silver apples of the moon, the golden apples of the sun". Morton Subnotnik was evidently also inspired by this poem when he named a composition "Silver Apples of the Moon" in the early 1960's. The album release of that piece is considered by some to be the earliest album of music created entirely with electronics.
SILVERCHAIR - A mutated combination of "Sliver" by Nirvana and "Berlin Chair" by You Am I. They were requesting the songs from a radio station and the name was inspired by notes a band member made to himself to remember the song titles.
SIMON & GARFUNKLE - PAUL SIMON AND ART GARFUNKLE. They recorded as TOM AND JERRY in the 50's. Their only hit from that period was "Hey School Girl" in 1957.
SIMPLE MINDS - taken from a line in the David Bowie song "Jean Genie".
SIOUXSIE AND THE BANSHEES - Siouxsie volunteered to play a gig at the 100 Club and had one night to think of a name.  They saw the 1970 Vincent Price movie "Cry of the Banshee".  Adam Ant and Sid Vicious were also Banshees for that first gig.
SISTER HAZEL - Named after a Black woman who ran "Sister Hazel's Rescue Mission" in Gainesville, FL in the 70's & 80's.
SISTER MACHINE GUN - From a line in the SKINNY PUPPY song "Tin Omen"
SISTERS OF MERCY - A tribute to the Leonard Cohen song of same name. There is also an order of nuns known as the Sisters of Mercy.
SISTERS OF MURPHY - This Irish band from London spoofed the name Sisters of Mercy.
SKID ROW - Slang for run down inner city neighborhoods where winos, junkies, street criminals and various poor people can afford to live.   Sabo originally liked the name SKIP ROPE, but Jon Bon Jovi convinced him SKID ROW would sound more professional.
SKINNY PUPPY - The basic idea is of an abused, neglected animal that doesn't speak much, but when it does the result is a pain filled yelp.   Piece of trivia: Skinny Puppy has the morbid honor that Jeffrey Dahmer picked up one of his victims at one of their shows.
SKUNK ANANSIE - Anansie is a creature in Jamaican folklore who is half man, half spider, and always a prankster. Skunk refers to either good marijuana or the smelly little black and white animals.
SKYCLAD - Modern pagan term for naked.  A band and a label both use this name.
SLAYER - Inspired by the movie "Dragonslayer". Also.. "Satan Laughs As You Eternally Rot" appears on their Divine Intervention album..
SLEATER-KINNEY - The name of the road their practice space was on in Lacey, Washington.
SLEEPER - The title of a Woody Allen movie.
SLOAN - Two stories: inspired by either Farris Bueller's girlfriend Sloan Peterson or a friend named "Slow One".
SMACK - Slang for heroin. They were an amazing band that had a big influence on GUNS AND ROSES.
SMALL FACES - They were inspired by the WHO song "I'm the FACE". Face is Mod slang for "stylish guy".  They were all SMALL guys as well.  They later shortened the name to FACES when taller guys Rod Stewart and Ron Wood joined.
SMASHING PUMPKINS - A few stories and plenty of BS around this one: Billy Corgan claims Gene Simmons told him in a dream that "Joe Strummer is a pumpkin, drunken and smashed". Corgan has also claimed he meant "smashing" as an adjective, as in "daring pumpkins".   Billy Corgan's home town is known for its pumpkins.  The name is a rumored revenge against his home town an ex-girlfriend who said he would be there for the rest of his life.
THE SMITHEREENS - Inspired by the cartoon character Yosemite Sam's classic line, "I'll blow you varmints to smithereens".
THE SMITHS - They wanted a generic name void of any preconceptions about their style of music.
SNAP KRACKLE DROP - Inspired by the Rice Crispy cereal jingle "Snap, Crackle, Pop".
SNEAKER PIMP - Members of the BEASTIE BOYS pay someone to help them find especially hard-to-get sneakers. He's the "sneaker pimp".
SNFU - This legendary punk band has been around since 1981.  The name stnads for "Society's No Fucking Use"
SOFT BOYS - Combination of two William Burroughs novels, "Soft Machine" and "Wild Boys".
SOFT MACHINE - The name of a William Burroughs novel published in 1961.
SONIC YOUTH - A combination of SONIC RENDEZVOUS ORCHESTRA and BIG YOUTH.. they were local New York bands in the late 70's.
SONNY AND CHER - An improvement over their first stage name, "Caesar and Cleo".
SONS OF MIDNIGHT - Two members are from ELECTRIC HELLFIRE CLUB.  "Sons of Midnight" was a trouble making social club in the 18th century similar to the original "Hellfire Clubs".  Source = MK ULTRA magazine.
SOULFLY -  Max Cavelera was remembering his friend and stepson Dana Wells, who had recently died.  He was also thinking of Dana when he co-wrote the DEFTONES song "Headup" that has the lyric "soulfly fly high so fly fly free"
SOUNDGARDEN - A garden of kinetic sculptures that make music when wind blows through them. There was also a sculpture in Seattle called "Sound Garden".
SOUTHERN CULTURE ON THE SKIDS - Band leader Rick Miller and a friend heard a disc jockey call REM "the sound of the new Southern culture". They decided they'd rather hear Southern culture on the skids.
SPACE ROCK - This is a genre, not a band.. The New York Times described the music of Jimi Hendrix as "space rock" in a review in the late 60's.  This is the earliest reference HeaThen WoRLD has heard of. 
SPACE NEGROES - Who knows?
SPANDAU BALLET - This was a Nazi guard term for the contortions of Jewish prisoners being gassed to death. There was a large gas chamber in the city of Spandau.
SPECIAL AGENTS OF HER MAJESTY'S SECRET CERVIX - This North Carolina band was inspired by the James Bond movie "Her Majesty's Secret Service"
SPEEDBALL - A mix of heroin and cocaine.. John Belushi's fatal drug cocktail.
SPIRIT - Their original name was SPIRITS REBELLIOUS .. the name of a book by Kahlil Gibran.  They later shortened it to SPIRIT.
SPK - Named after a group of German mental patients from the late 60's who formed a violent terrorist group called the "Socialist Patients Kollectiv". Click on the band name for more information. SPK also called themselves "SePuKu" and "Surgical Penis Klinik" on various releases.
SPRING HEEL JACK - Named after a supernatural, Satanic figure that haunted early Victorian Liverpool, spooking horses, leaping over twenty-foot walls and generally scaring the hell out of everyone.
SQUID VICIOUS - It sounded slightly better than SQUID & NANCY, BILLY THE SQUID and SQUID RACER... a parody of SID VICIOUS, actually.
SQUIRREL NUT ZIPPERS - A type of candy the band likes.  The candy was popular in the early 1900's.
SST - This is a label, not a band.  Greg Ginn sold ham radio parts through his company "Solid State Transmitter" (SST) .. then started releasing records as well.
ST. ETIENNE - A French Soccer club and city.
ST. VITUS DANCE - Victims poisoned by a particular fungus hallucinate and their muscles jerk involuntarily in a macabre dance. This was most common in Europe in the Middle Ages. Saint Vitus is the patron saint of people with this infliction.
RINGO STARR - His real name is Richard Starkey. He liked to wear rings, hence RINGO.. and STARR is his last name shortened and modified.
STARSHIP - A a bid to sound updated and keep making money, JEFFERSON AIRPLANE updated their name to JEFFERSON STARSHIP in the 70's, then shortened that to STARSHIIP.
STEELY DAN - A steel dildo in the 1964 William Burroughs novel NAKED LUNCH.  According to the book:  an evil German bulldyke prostitute crushed the first STEELY DAN using her pussy, and the second STEELY DAN is still in use.
STEPPENWOLF - The title of a cool Herman Hesse novel.  The were originally called the SPARROWS.
STEREOLAB - The name of a record label in the 50's and 60's.
STIFF LITTLE FINGERS - This classic late 70's band called themselves THE FAST until they heard about the New York band with the same name.  Band member Jake Burns had to think of a name fast for the sake of a newspaper ad.  He was looking at the new (in 1977) LONDON GIRLS single by the VIBRATORS and saw the song STIFF LITTLE FINGERS on the B-Side.  Source: This 1997 interview with the band.
STING - Gordon Sumner used to wear a yellow/black striped shirt when in a jazz band and he looked like a bee.. The STING nickname grew from that.
STINKING LIZAVETA - This Philadelphia band named themselves after a character in Dostoyevski's "The Brothers Karamazov." The insane drifter character turned out to be the mother of one of the Brothers Karamazov.
STONE ROSES - Similar to their original name, ENGLISH ROSE (which was inspired by a JAM song).
STONE TEMPLE PILOTS - They were originally called Mighty Joe Young, but that's the name of a blues singer. They were fond of STP oil stickers, and thought up Shirley Temple's Pussy, Stereo Temple Pirates, and finally Stone Temple Pilots.
STRAWBERRY TRIP MONSTER - The name of their favorite Odwalla drink: The Strawberry "C" Monster.
STRYPER - From the Bible; Isaiah 53:5- "But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities, upon him was the chastisement that made us whole, and with his stripes we are healed".  HEATHEN WORLD suggests "Foot Washin' Hookers" and "Alter Boy Butthole Surfers" as better Christian heavy metal names.
STYX - After the mythical river Styx that people crossed over to go into Hell.
SUGARCUBES - Dripping liquid LSD on Sugarcubes is a time honored way to "package" LSD.
SUGAR RAY - Named after the boxer Sugar Ray Leonard who named himself after the boxer Sugar Ray Robinson. They used to practice in a studio owned by Sugar Ray Leonard.
SUICIDE MACHINES - inspired by Dr. Kevorkian's"deathmobile" They were originally called "Dr. Kevorkian and the Suicide Machines"
SUPERFRIENDZ - An old cartoon show about DC comic book heros.
SUPERGRASS - They called themselves THEODORE SUPERGRASS for a short time, then dropped THEODORE.  SUPERGRASS is a British term for "a police informer who implicates a large number of people".  Playground slang is also influenced by the word.  English children use phrases like "to grass up" or "to grass on someone" meaning to go and tell the teacher who was bad.
SUPEROPUS - They were originally OPUS (inspired by the cartoon character?) but another band was already using the name.
SUPERTRAMP - Named after a book called "Autobiography Of A Supertramp", written by WH Davies in 1910.  The book seems to be rare and there are several slight variations on the author's name and book's date kicking around the web.
SWANS - Frontman Michael Gira wanted a name that was in total contrast to brutally abrasive music the band was playing in its early days.
SYSTEM OF A DOWN - Guitarist Daren Malakian wrote a poem called "Victims of a Down" .. the band liked it and decided "System" sounded stronger.  Source : the band's website.
SWINGIN' NECKBREAKERS - A truly excellent and devastating wrasslin' move.
TAD - Is the name of a band member.
TALKING HEADS - Video jargon for a camera shot showing only the top of someone's shoulders and their head. Newscasters are usualy doomed to the classic "talking head" shot. Another story is that they were inspired by a military communications experiment at MIT which involved moving mannequin heads.
TARANIS - named after the Celtic God of Thunder. The word means "The Thunderer"
TEARDROP EXPLODES - A line in a Marvel Comic.
TEN YEARS AFTER - "Ten Years After Elvis".. Alvin Lee also fronted a band called TEN YEARS LATER that was 10 Years after TEN YEARS AFTER.
TESLA - In tribute to the brilliant and eccentric inventor Nikola Tesla. Tesla developed alternating current, radio, wireless communications, flourescent lights, X-rays, microwaves, the theories that lead to the Starwars defense system and more.. over 700 patents in all.
TEXAS - this Scottish band thought the movie Paris, Texas was cool. Strangely, another Scottish band was inspired to call themselves TRAVIS because of the same movie.
TEXAS IS THE REASON - taken from a line in the MISFITS song "Bullet", about the Kennedy assasination.
THE VERVE - "The" is in their name to avoid legal hassles with the record label VERVE.  VERVE means talent.
THEY MIGHT BE GIANTS - They took the name from a friend's ventriloquist act, which was named after a film starring George C. Scott, which was inspired by a section of Don Quixote. Don Quixote's trusted servant asks why he is preparing to attack several windmills with his lance. Don Quixote replys "Because they might be giants."
THIN LIZZY - original quitarist Eric Bell was a huge Clapton fan.  When he saw Clapton reading a copy of BEANO comics on a John Mayall album cover he bought a copy.  One of the characters in the comic was TIN LIZZY.  Phil Lynott thought that was a horrible name for a band and suggested THIN LIZZY instead.
THIS MORTAL COIL -  A quote from Shakespeare's Hamlet:  "For in that sleep of death what dreams may come, when we have shuffled off this mortal coil, must give us pause."
THIRD EYE BLIND - Refers to being blind in your third eye of intuition.
THOMSON TWINS - two characters in the Tintin comics by the (now dead) Belgium artist Herge.
THOSE MEDDLING KIDS - This old Phoenix punk outfit was inspired by the phrase from Scooby Doo cartoons.
THREE DOG NIGHT - Inspired by an Australian Aborigine custom of sleeping with three dogs on extremely cold nights.
THROBBING GRISTLE - Yorkshire slang for erection.  They are a very strange and influential band who started the term Industrial music in the 1970's.  Throbbing Gristle broke up in 1981 and split into CHRIS & COSEY, PSYCHIC TV and COIL .. all are fine musical projects in their own right.
TILED CEILING - This diverse band was looking for an outrageous name, and found out that some people actually tile their ceilings.
TLC - from the nicknames of band members: Tionne "T-Boz" Watkins, Lisa "Left Eye" Lopez and originally Crystal, but now Rozonda "Chilli". TLC is also an acronym for "Tender Loving Care".
TO LIVE AND SHAVE IN L.A. - Named after a Ron Jeremy porn film (which was a parody of "To Live and Die in L.A.")
TOAD THE WET SPROCKET - from a Monty Python sketch making fun of silly band names.
TONES ON TAIL - Refers to reference tones put on reel to reel tape in recording studios.
TOTO - This is from TOTO's official website: Jeff suggests the name "TOTO" after having watched The Wizard of Oz on TV, not to name the band after the dog, but as a name that's easy to pronounce and remember. Coincidentally, "toto" in Latin means "all encompassing", so it is an accurate name for a band who wants to do all kinds of musical styles.
TOXIC HOLIDAY - Another dictionary related one: the drummer was looking for a name and read out Toxicology. The bass player thought he said Toxic Holiday.
THE TRAGICALLY HIP - Possibly from the Elvis Costello song "Town Cryer" or taken from a line in a Michael Nesmith skit called "Elephant Parts".
TRAVIS - This Scottish band was inspired by the movie "Paris, Texas".  TRAVIS is the lead character.  Strangely, another Scottish band was inspired to call themselves TEXAS because of the same movie.
THE TROGGS - from the term "troglodyte".
TRU SMOKE DIEZEL - The name of a toy truck.  They were called MONSTER-X but ran into copyright problems.
T.S.O.L.  - This 80's band from California started out a punk band and ended up a cheezy metal band.  The name stands for "True Sounds of Liberty"
TUSCADERO - Pinkie Tuscadero was Fonzie's girlfriend in Happy Days.
U2 - A type of spy plane used by the United States. Bono explained once that U2 grew out of thoughts of interactivity with the audience.. as in "you too."  Bono started calling guitar player David Evans "The Edge" because of the shape of his head.  Source: Reuters
UB40 - Title of the form people in Britian have to fill out to receive public assistance.  The band had time to contemplate the form as they waited in line to fill one out.
UGLY KID JOE - A parody of PRETTY BOY FLOYD.. a band they played a show with early on.
ULTIMATE SPINACH - who knows? Some long forgotten stoned hippie inspiration...
ULTRAVOX - Latin for "the greatest amount of voice"
UNRUH - This grindcore band is named after Charles Unruh.. a Vietnam War vet that went crazy and shot 12 people (after the war).
URGE OVERKILL - This is a cool band from Chicago.  The name is part of a lyric in the PARLIAMENT song "Funkentelechy".
URIAH HEEP - From a character in the Dickens novel "David Copperfield".
URUSEI YATSURA - Japanese animation.
VAN HALEN - Named after Alex (not Eddie) VanHalen
VANILLA FUDGE - This awful name was an improvement over their earlier names, THE ELECTRIC PIGEONS, then shortened to THE PIGEONS.
VELVET UNDERGROUND - The name of an S&M book a band member found on a sidewalk in New York.
VERUCA SALT - Named after a character in the book, "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory", later made into the film "Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory".
EDDIE "CLEANHEAD" VINSON - This great Jump Blues singer and sax player was nicknamed "Cleanhead" because of his shaved head.
VIOLENT FEMMES - Someone early on said they sound like violent femmes.
VNV NATION - from their official website: One of the most frequently asked questions is what the letters VNV stand for. They stand for "Victory not Vengeance". The meaning behind this stylized motto is  that one should strive to achieve, not sit in bitter regret.
VOLUPTUOUS HORROR OF KAREN BLACK - In reference to the Horror film actress Karen Black. This band is sexy, messy, and loads of fun live.
VOODOO GLOW SKULLS - Their name was inspired by plastic "voodoo glow skulls" sold at Disneyland.
WALT MINK - Named after the band's favorite psychology professor.
WAR - Eric Burdon called the band WAR just to attract attention because the hippies were so anti-war.
WARM JETS - Named after the Brian Eno song "Here Come the Warm Jets".
W.A.S.P. - A couple possibilities:  "White Anglo Saxon Protestant", "We Are Sex Perverts" .. their official website doesn't say anything about it.
WEEN - Gene and Dean Ween evidently thought up the name while high one day .. they somewhat combined penis and wanker into WEEN. Source : band interview 
WEEZER - Vocalist/guitarist/frontman Rivers Cuomo had the nickname Weezer in school. He was a bit of a geek and made weezing sounds because of his asthma.
WHAM! - They wanted to make it so big in the music business that they named their duo WHAM! and their debut album "Fantastic". (The kind of deep philosophy that United States commercial radio thrives on)
WHITE CROSS - After "speed" pills of the same name.
WHITE FLAG - Parody of the bandname BLACK FLAG
WHITE ZOMBIE - An old B-movie starring Bela Lugosi.
WHITEHOUSE - This industrial band named themselves after Mary Whitehouse, a well-known British anti-smut campaigner who came to prominence in 1964 and created the "National Viewers and Listeners Association".  Mary Whitehouse died in 2001 at the age of 90.  The irony is that WHITEHOUSE relishes subject matter that no doubt horrified her.
WHITESNAKE - David Coverdale was inspired by his dick.
THE WHO - Their original name was THE HIGH NUMBERS.  After they were announced, the audience reaction was usually "the who?".  
WINGS - Paul McCartney thought of the name while waiting in a hospital wing for Linda to give birth to one of their children.
WISEBLOOD - A fitting title for this project put together by FOETUS..  Flannery O'Connor wrote the book WISE  BLOOD in 1952 about a guy who struggles to start "The Church without Christ."
WOLFSHEIM - This German synth duo named themselves after Meyer Wolfshiem, a character in F. Scott Fitzgerald's book "The Great Gatsby", published in 1925.  Note: they changed the spelling a little.
WOLFMAN JACK - This famous disc jockey was inspired by the Chicago blues singer HOWLIN' WOLF
XTC - They formed in 1976 and first called themselves STAR PARK.  They picked up a new member and switched to HELIUM KIDZ before deciding on XTC.  Among other reasons, XTC showed up much better on posters.  The most common story is that Andy Partridge was inspried by a Jimmy Durante clip when he said "'dats it, I'm in ecstasy!"  Side note : XTC was around before the drug MDMA was called Ecstasy.
YELLOMAN - A nickname somewhat describing the hair and skin color of this albino from Jamaica.
YO LA TENGO - A phrase used by a Hispanic baseball player that the band likes. It translates to "I have it".
ZEPHYR - Greek mythological god of the West wind. Heroin addicted guitarist Tommy Bolin was in this band before joining DEEP PURPLE in the early 70's. Zephyr was also a car.
ZOS KIA - Named after a writing by Austin Osman Spare, who was a witch often compared to Aliester Crowley. The Zos Kia Cultus described "the technique of making the tantric utterance effective, of resounding the depths of cosmic memory and making the sacred alignments". The band ZOS KIA is a side project by Temple of Psychick Youth members.
ZZ TOP - Possibly inspired by ZIG ZAG rolling papers, TOPS rolling papers, and/or Texas Blues man ZZ HILL.

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