22 Bands Named After Places

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Being in a band is hard. You have to spend months and months on the road touring and creating innovative material if you really want to make it. But the hardest part of all has to be coming up with a name. Without a catchy name, some of the best bands can often fall under the radar. Musicians draw inspiration from everywhere to pick their monikers, be it high school teachers or random road signs. But, some of the most common influences are locations. Bands love to name themselves after places. Sometimes a musician was inspired by time spent in the locale they got their namesake from, and other times, they may never have even seen the place on the map.

Here’s a list of just a few of the many bands who’ve named themselves after cities, states, countries and other places.

1.The Middle East
The members of this band are not from Egypt, Israel or even Lebanon; they’re Australian, born and raised in Queensland.

2. Balkans
These high school friends formed in Atlanta, far from the Serbian mountain range that is their namesake.

3. Portugal. The Man
Lead singer John Gourley’s relationship with his Alaskan homeland is pretty well known. Why they chose to name their alter ego after the country of Portugal isn’t quite so clear.

4. Of Montreal
These Athens, Ga. rockers allegedly named the band after a woman from Montreal who broke lead singer Kevin Barnes’ heart.

5. Beirut
Balkan-folk-inspired Beirut got their name when frontman Zach Condon was signed to his very first label.

6. What Made Milwaukee Famous
This Austin-based band took their moniker from a Jerry Lee Lewis song based off an old Schlitz beer slogan.

7. I’m From Barcelona

8. Rural Alberta Advantage
Singer Nils Edenloff grew up in rural Alberta and says his experiences there inform a great deal of his songwriting.

9. A Sunny Day in Glasgow
This Philly-based band got its name from a former member who spent some time in the Scottish city.

10. Defiance, Ohio
These Columbus, Ohio natives named their band after nearby town Defiance.

11. Halloween, Alaska
Frontman James Diers came up with this seemingly out-of-the-blue band name before the band even began because he thought the words would direct the band into certain moods and musical textures.

12. Jets to Brazil
Rumor has it drummer Chris Daly picked this moniker because it appeared on a poster in Audrey Hepburn film Breakfast at Tiffany’s.

13. Keep Shelly in Athens

14. Calexico
This band named itself after a town in California that sits astride the borders of Mexico and the United States.

15. Cypress Hill
Before naming themselves after their old block in California, Cypress Hill was called DVX, short for Devastating Vocal Excellence.

16. Portishead
These Bristol-based Brits named themselves after their hometown which producer Geoff Barrow called “really quite horrible” in an interview with Rolling Stone.

17. Sleater-Kinney
These riot grrrls frequently had to to use the Sleater-Kinney off-ramp in Lacey, Wash. to get to one of their early practice spaces.

18. Manchester Orchestra
This group is neither an orchestra nor actually from Manchester. But we love them anyway.

19.Tokyo Police Club
According to an interview with the band’s keyboardist Graham Wright, the band selected their name because according to a study, the words in it appeared most often in the names of successful band.

20. Phoenix
These Frenchmen have little to do with Arizona’s capital city.

21. Over the Rhine
The members of this two-piece titled themselves after the Over-The-Rhine neighborhood in Cincinnati, Ohio where they grew up.

22. Architecture in Helsinki
Lead singer Cameron Bird came up with this band’s creative name by cutting up words out of a newspaper and rearranging them on table until something jumped out at him.

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