Since the dawn of music, bands and musicians have taken liberties with spelling in an attempt to call themselves something unique and memorable, just take The Beatles or Limp Bizkit, for example (though admittedly it's rare both are mentioned in the same breath). Though that wasn't enough for some acts and now a number of them have taken to inserting random bits of punctuation in their chosen monikers. Here's ten semi-colon abusers...
? and the Mysterians
Not to be confused with Captain Scarlet's sworn enemies, these guys could well have started the annoying punctuation trend. Led by the enigmatic ?, who claims to be a Martian that once lived with dinosaurs, the group shot to number one in the US with 1966 single 96 Tears.
Panic! At The Disco
P!ATD's exclamation mark caused quite a stir when it was removed from their name for their second album, the itself-overly-punctuated 'Pretty. Odd.' Drummer Spencer Smith claims that they were never asked about the rogue punctuation while it was there, only after they removed it.
Somewhere in their past, the members of now-defunct alt-indie group ¡Forward, Russia! decided that one exclamation mark wasn't enough, so they borrowed an inverted one from Spanish to make their name look more interesting. Slightly confusing when you consider their fondness for Faux Cyrillic Russian typesetting.
Popstress Ke$ha claims that she adopted the dollar sign in her name ironically while struggling to get by as a waitress, before pop superstardom hit. Seems like a legitimate - if grammatically inexcusable - reason. Maybe she should get in touch with fellow singer Alanis Morissette to discuss the meaning of irony.
Not content with intentionally misspelling the word "sponge", British ska-punks [spunge] decided to encapsulate their name in square brackets, purportedly to "stop the letters falling out". Whatever that means.
Says the Black Eyed Pea of his peculiar name: "I noticed my name was a sentence, meaning one who is strong-willed." Whether will.i.am was channelling Dr Seuss or Yoda is yet to be discovered, however someone should at least tell him that full stops go at the end of a sentence - and what about the capital letters?
The American doom metal outfit chose to take their name from the Sunn brand of amplifiers, whose logo features a circle with waves emanating off to the right. With the amp makers now out of business, at least their krazee punctuation lives on.
In 1992, guitarist Andy Cairns revealed that Therapy?'s name was not deep and meaningful as once thought, but actually stems from when he designed their first record sleeve and "started the logo too far to the left." He "just added a question mark to make it fit."
Dance-punk outfit !!! (top) really take the biscuit with their wholly-punctuated moniker. They claim that it is pronounced "chk chk chk", meant to represent the sound of machine gun fire, but that doesn't excuse breaking the golden rule of never using more than one exclamation mark.
Apparently B*Witched are so named as record label execs were entranced by them. The asterisk, they thought, would make the name more iconic. Clearly no one mention to them that US indie band Jonathan Fire*Eater had done it first, making them iconic copycats.
Eoin Smith @eoinsmith
For a bigger investigation of band names, including the various trends that have christened our favourite groups over the years, get Q312 - out now..
10:58 AM | 15/06/2012
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