A Brief History of Celebrity-Inspired, Publicity-Courting Band Names

We recently got a press release from Cassettes Won’t Listen (a.k.a. Jason Drake), proclaiming that he’d had to change the name of his album Kevin Spacey to Evinspacey after getting a cease-and-desist letter from the famously press-shy actor. As far as publicity stunts go, it was a pretty shameless one – but it worked, didn’t it? After all, here we are writing about it. Anyway, the whole thing got us thinking about other bands who’ve “borrowed” the names of celebrities and other prominent people for their music over the years, generally with the inevitable legal denouement. Here’s our selection of ten of the most amusing/offensive/potentially libelous such instances.

Dead Kennedys

Jello Biafra’s unparalleled ability to rub people the wrong way found its manifestation in everything from his song titles to his whiny voice, but his most enduringly controversial statement remains the name of his band. It started attracting attention pretty much as soon as the Dead Kennedys started playing gigs, and while it never got them sued, it ensured their enduring status as a thorn in the side of the West Coast establishment – it’s hard to think that they mightn’t have endured their notorious and ridiculous 1985 obscenity trial if they’d been called The Pretty Flowers or somesuch.