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10 Musician And Band Names With Dark Unusual Origins

From torture instruments to sex toys, musicians often draw inspiration from the strangest of things.

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What's in a name? When it comes to bands and musicians, fans do not tend to spend much time analysing adopted monikers. After all, many great bands have terrible names (yes, we are referring to Arctic Monkeys), while terrible bands sometimes manage to strike gold when branding themselves. In the end, it doesn’t really matter; it is the music that truly counts.

Nonetheless, exploring the origin of a band's name can often be insightful. Whether that name is sinister, or dull, or utterly bizarre, it is bound to tell you something about the personalities that make up a musical outfit. Likewise, a name can also hint at what a musician is attempting to convey through their sound. After all, there is a reason that Bathtub Shitter and Dying Fetus are void of folk sensibilities.

From exhibitionist uncles to hatchet-wielding prostitutes, let’s now take a look at ten of the weirdest things after which well-known bands and musicians were christened…

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10. Steely Dan Is A Fictional Sex Toy

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Just like Modest Mouse and The Doors, Steely Dan's name was inspired by a piece of literature. It was not, however, the product of Virginia Woolf's modernist musings or Aldous Huxley's search for enlightenment. Instead, Steely Dan's name pays homage to a fictional, steam-powered strap-on.

The piece of literature in question is, of course, William S. Burroughs' 1959 novel Naked Lunch. In one scene, a woman attaches a strap-on dildo to her body and uses it to squirt milk across the room. As it happens, this sex-toy is called "Steely Dan III from Yokohama".

What happened to the first two Steely Dans, you ask? Well, Steely Dan I was "torn in two by a bull dike", while Steely Dan II was "Chewed to bits by a famished candiru in the Upper Baboonasshole". These happenings are simply par for the course in the Naked Lunch universe.

It is clear that the classic rock band's members were huge fans of Beat Generation literature, and Burroughs would continue to influence their work. In fact, Steely Dan's singer and keyboardist Donald Fagen would go on to contribute to Dead City Radio, a 1990 album which featured readings of the author's works over music provided by various artists.

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Alison Traynor hasn't written a bio just yet, but if they had... it would appear here.