Knowing the origin stories behind most band names makes for good party trivia and guarantees you some cool points. But there’s a rare subset of musicians with names so nerdy that knowing anything about their origins will put you in the negative numbers — unless you’re at Comic Con. With that in mind, Hive presents five of the nerdiest musician names.
1. Fall Out Boy
Fall Out Boy first appeared in a second season episode of The Simpsons, where Bart attends a comic book convention and covets the popular action hero comic book Radioactive Man. Since that character was based on Batman, he needed a sidekick: Fallout Boy. The pair have since appeared in real comic books and a few subsequent Simpsons episodes. Also geeky, in a different way, is Fall Out Boy’s name that they secretly toured under in 2006: Saved Latin. That’s from a line in Rushmore (“I saved Latin. What did you ever do?”). Late in their career, Fall Out Boy did a special version of The Simpsons’ end credits theme in 2009. Later that year they announced their indefinite hiatus. Coincidence? Probably.
As controversial as Burzum is (he just put out an album after spending 16 years in jail for a murder and church-burning conviction) his love of Lord of the Rings can’t be denied. His band was originally called Uru-Kai, the race of mutated orcs in the trilogy but he settled on Burzum, named for the words written around the one true ring, specifically, the word for “darkness” written in Black Speech, a language invented by Sauron himself.
IDM musician Ryan Lee West goes by the name Rival Consoles. It’s not a reference to one single video game, but to the rivalry that started when Sega Genesis began competing with the Super Nintendo, all the way to the current Xbox vs Playstation battle. If you’re looking for a more video-game-specific band name, Rival Schools (who sometimes get confused with Rival Consoles) is named after a fighting game Capcom introduced in arcades back in 1997.
4. David Banner
Actor and rapper Lavell Crump needed a tougher name to start his rap career, so he chose David Banner, the mild-mannered alter-ego of the hulk in The Incredible Hulk TV series. Interestingly, the original comic book series, the same character goes by Bruce Banner. Show producer Kenneth Johnson decided to change the name to make sure people knew that the TV show was not a recreation of the comic book series. Take one look at David Banner’s biceps, and you’ll wonder why he didn’t name himself after the Hulk instead.
The British quintet, who released their third LP in 2010, take nerdy band names to a newer, deeper level. Not content to name themselves after a character or video game, the band named themselves for Ryu and several other characters’ special move in the Street Fighter series. The Japanese neologism Hadouken translates to “surge fist” in English, but a more accurate translation is “nerdlinger.”