Melbourne’s mad band names: The weird, wild and wicked

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Melbourne’s mad band names: The weird, wild and wicked

best band names
Words by Coco Veldkamp 

“You’re going to see WHO play?” – you turn to your friend, who, without hesitation, tells you they’ve got two tickets. “They’re called WHAT?”

Your friend repeats the name, again, as if it isn’t totally bizarre. In homage to the creative spirits of our beloved Melbourne bands, let’s take a look at some of the most wild, ingenious, and side-splitting band names in our ever-eclectic music scene.

Keep up with the latest music news, features, festivals, interviews and reviews here.

King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard

Melbourne rock band King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard are now such a household name that it almost sounds normal. But – perhaps you’ve tried to say it 10 times quickly or accidentally mixed up the Gizzard with the Wizard. Like their name, their sound is entirely unique, a culmination of sci-fi prog, kaleidoscope garage, thrash metal, jazz-rock, and spaghetti Western soundscapes.

The name came to be after one bandmate wanted to call themselves Gizzard Gizzard, while another campaigned for Lizard King – and so mushed together in healthy compromise – they ingeniously came up with King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard. King Gizzard is probably one of the most efficient and productive bands out there – since 2011, they released 29 albums – each as prolific and distinctive as the next.

Alien Nosejob

Alien Nosejob is the solo home-recording project of Jake Robertson. While playing for several other bands on the side – Robertson has somehow managed to release six genius albums and several singles since starting his project in 2018. His sound – moving from low-fi punk to hardcore – is achieved with Robertson playing all the instruments – a testament to his insane musical talent.

I couldn’t find where the name Alien Nosejob came from anywhere – so I went right to the source and hit up Robertson himself. After warning me that I’d be disappointed, he said “It’s one of the TV specials that Troy McClure from the Simpsons starred in. I just thought the phrase evoked such a bizarre image in your head and thought it would be a funny band name”. This kind of went over my head until I found this clip.  Suffice to say I was not disappointed.

Porpoise Spit – Karl Stefanovic at The Logies Drunk

Signed to Psychic Hysteria in 2023, Melbourne pop rock group Porpoise Spit has carved out a space for themselves in the scene with their heartfelt melodies and instant-classic sound. You may have seen their band posters around – decorated with cute cartoon porpoises. With Mill O Sullivan and Elly Hewitt on vox and guitar, Ivy Craw on bass and vox, and Rory Saba on the drums, the “four porpy pals” have played literally hundreds of shows around Melbourne to adoring fans.

While we are on the topic of weird names – we must give an honourable mention to Porpoise Spit’s 2018 single Karl Stefanovic at The Logies Drunk. The song is dedicated to – you guessed it – Karl, who famously presented the Today Show drunk and in fits of laughter after having a wild night at the Logies in 2009.

Amyl and the Sniffers

Melbourne’s Amyl and the Sniffers are punk-rock icons. At the 2019 ARIA Music Awards, their self-titled debut record won the Best Rock Album category.  They’ve just released their first music since their critically praised 2021 album Comfort To Me – a new single titled U Should Not Be Doing That and its B-Side “Facts”. As for why they are called Amyl and the Sniffers, Front woman Amy Taylor told totally wired mag “In Australia we call poppers Amyl. So, you sniff it, it lasts for 30 seconds and then you have a headache – and that’s what we’re like!”.

Dick Diver 

Perhaps I need to read more because I’ve spent years thinking that indie four-piece Dick Diver’s name was supposed to be some crude reference to erm… enthusiastic promiscuousness. The name is actually quite poetic. It is a reference to the character Dick Diver from F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel Tender Is the Night. Diver goes from being a young, attractive, and ambitious psychiatrist, to a depressed alcoholic – symbolising the failures of the American Dream. Dick Diver formed back in 2008, consisting of Rupert Edwards (guitar), Alistair McKay (guitar), Steph Hughs (drums) and Al Montfort (bass). Their debut EP Arks Up saw them partner up with the legendary producer Mikey Young of Total Control. Since then, they’ve released three albums, all garnering their sentimental, emotional, and nostalgic sound.

Tropical Fuck Storm

Formed in 2017, Tropic Fuck Storm is an experimental rock band that blends elements of blues, psychedelic rock punk, and some elements that I can’t put my finger on. Aptly, the band describes their sound as “weird music for people who are sick of listening to the same old shit”. The name doesn’t have a special meaning – it’s wild and chaotic and fantastic – like the band. The founder and frontman Gareth Liddiard is insanely captivating – it’s something that needs to be seen live.

Cash Savage and The Last Drinks

Melbourne alternative band Cash Savage and the Last Drinks was formed in 2008 by guitarist Cash Savage – and yes, that’s her real name. The band, which is currently made up of Dougal Shaw (guitar), Joe White (guitar), Kat Mear (fiddliest), Rene Mancuso (percussion) and Nick Finch (bass), are adored globally, playing countless shows abroad – as well as a whole lot at home

So there, you have it – some of our much-loved crazy wild stupid smart or silly Melbourne band names. From literary references to a nod to The Simpson, whether thoughtful words or plain absurdity – the music is always great.

Check out 20 underground Melbourne bands you need to know here.