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IT’S LIKE THAT: Bands With the Same Name

IT’S LIKE THAT:  Bands With the Same Name (photo)

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A couple weeks ago–without much fanfare or explanation–Santogold changed her stage name to Santigold. Turns out the performer Santo Gold filed an injunction last year to keep the name all for himself. I’m not sure if the case went to court, or if Santigold just didn’t want to deal with the hassle. Long story short, Santo Gold got his wish and is now the only Santo Gold on the block. (Don’t worry, I don’t know who he is either.)

(left: Oh no! They took my stage name!)

This isn’t the first time a musical act has had to tweak their name. Early 90’s college-rock faves, The Charlatans UK, had to add that extra UK to the tail end of their name, because a 1960’s psychedelic rock group from San Francisco had it before they did.

Before Death From Above 1979 split up a couple years ago, they had to add Sebastien Grainger’s birth year to the end of their name, because the production duo DFA (Death From Above) had first dibs, acronym or not.

Blink 182? Yup, they started out as Blink. Want to take a wild guess at what happened? An Irish pop/rock group laid claim to the moniker first.

Bands don’t always have to tack on a number or abbreviation to a pre-existing name. In the late 60’s when the band the Earth was getting confused with another band called Earth, they just decided to change their name to Black Sabbath. You’ve heard of these guys, right?

Black Sabbath eventually inspired a group of guys from the Pacific Northwest to form a band called Skid Row–not the Skid Row you’re thinking about. After going through various name changes, the band finally settled on, Nirvana.

Oops, turns out there was a 1960’s rock group from the UK called Nirvana. The original Nirvana slapped Kurt Cobain’s Nirvana with a lawsuit in 1992. Luckily, Nirvana had hit pay dirt with their Nevermind album the year before and settled the case out of court by slapping down $100,000 to keep their name. The other Nirvana also got to keep their name–and all that money.

I can feel the pain of the artists’ above, because I’ve also been in bands named after pre-existing bands and been in groups whose names were taken by other groups. It’s a bummer being on both sides.

For example, earlier this year I came across a rapper on the internet called OJ Da Juiceman. Why was this of interest to me? Well, ever since I started playing music in the early 90’s, my stage name has been Juiceman. I know what you’re thinking: There already is a Juiceman. True, but he makes juicers, not music. I was actually inspired to call myself Juiceman while walking to the bus stop one morning in high school and noticing a Juiceman Juicer box sitting atop of someone’s trash pile.

It’s not uncommon in music to name yourself after an existing product. Q-Tip anyone? It’s also not uncommon to have to change your name–inspired by an existing product–because someone else already has it. Why do you think no one calls T.I. “Tip” anymore?

(above: We thought we were the only Milkweed.)

The first time I experienced the same-named-band phenomenon was when I started a group called, Milkweed (1994), with my college roommate Mike. The name was inspired by an inside joke and we both thought it was pretty original. After playing together for a year, our college finally got internet access on campus. In the computer lab our hearts were broken when we discovered that there were a handful of other bands named Milkweed. Later that year, the “rocker” guy on MTV’s Real World (don’t remember what season it was) told his roommates he was in a band called (gulp) Milkweed.

Pre-dating Milkweed, my high school friends and I formed a rap group called the D-Boiz (1992). In the 90’s it was quite common in rap music to substitute a “z” for the letter “s” (remember the movie Boyz n The Hood?). To separate ourselves from the rest of the pack, we even took it a step further and replaced the letter “y” with an “i”. Pretty clever, eh?

For a while we were the only D-Boiz around. There was a group that eventually surfaced called Dem Boyz, but Dem Boyz are no D-Boiz. Every time we browsed the record store racks (not that our music ever made it to a record store rack), we made sure there was no other group called D-Boiz.

(left to right: Juiceman, Prof D, and D-Renzo of the D-Boiz.)

Within the last few years though I’ve come across a D Boyz (pretty close) and then one afternoon while patrolling the internet I found a rap group from Detroit called (nooooo!) D-Boiz (hyphen and all).

There’s also a D-Boiz album on iTunes called Heavy Artillery, but I don’t know if that’s from the Detroit group or another bunch of guys called D-Boiz (or maybe the other members of my group are making albums behind my back?).

Here’s the MySpace bio from the Detroit-based D-Boiz:

We some fly ass dudes, that live by fly ass rules, and occasionally carry fly ass tools. Detroit is our home and the world is our stomping ground. If you on some fly shit too, thats whats up, if you not, get yo weak ass off our page. D-BOIZ BITCH!!!!!!!!!!

If these guys ever make it big, I may take a page out of Santo Gold’s book (or better yet, British Nirvana’s) and file a fly ass lawsuit.

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The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at

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Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

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Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

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