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The Origins of the ‘00s Biggest Bands’ Curious Names

Adam Young | November 2, 2017
Seven of the biggest bands from the 00's era.
We’ve taken a look at the great bands from the 60's, 70's, 80's, 90's and where they got their sometimes-unusual names. Now we’re moving into the 21st century and looking at some award-winning and influential groups that rose to fame in the 2000’s. Where did these pop and rock bands come from, and how did they get their names?

Maroon 5
Before he was a judge on The Voice, Adam Levine was the lead singer of this multi-platinum pop band, and they went through several monikers, most notably Kara’s Flowers, after they formed in 1994. They settled on Maroon 5 when their record label, Octone, insisted on a name-change to disassociate them from their past recordings. The band has long declined to say why they chose Maroon 5, but there’s a persistent rumor that it refers to the fact that several members attended Five Towns College on Long Island, and that the school’s color is maroon.

The Killers
A true band of the 2000’s, Las Vegas’s The Killers formed in 2001 around singer Brandon Flowers, guitarist Dave Keuning, bassist Mark Stoermer and drummer Ronnie Vannucci, Jr. And there’s no big mystery behind their name. One of their biggest influences was the British dance-rock band New Order, and in one of New Order’s videos, a fictional band called The Killers is featured.

The Black Eyed Peas
The hip-hop megastars The Black Eyed Peas actually formed in 1992, but it wasn’t until they added singer and rapper Fergie to their lineup in 2000 that they became the hitmakers we know today. Their name grew out of an earlier moniker, The Black Eyed Pods, because according to group member Taboo, they thought Black Eyed Peas sounded more soulful, like their music.

Coldplay
Coldplay first got together in 1996 under the regrettable name Pectoralz before changing to the more psychedelic Starfish and then finally Coldplay in 1998, when they released their first EP. The name was suggested by a friend of the band named Tim Crumpton, a fellow musician who’d taken the name from a poem called “Cold Play” by Philip Horky. To this day, Chris Martin and company often give shout-outs to Crumpton’s band, The High Wire, on social media.

Kings of Leon
It might have made sense for the Nashville, Tennessee, alt-rockers Kings of Leon to call themselves The Followills when they formed in 1999. After all, that’s the last name of all four band members: brothers Caleb, Nathan and Jared, and cousin Matthew. But the band looked further back into their family history, naming themselves after their grandfather, Leon.

Paramore
Down the road a bit from Kings of Leon’s birthplace of Nashville is the starting ground for the punk-poppers Paramore, who formed in 2004. The band’s name came from the surname of one of their early bass players. After they discovered that the meaning of the slightly-differently spelled word “paramour” meant “secret lover,” they liked the connotation and decided to keep it, just with their original spelling.

Nickelback
Believe it or not, the name of the 50-million-album selling post-grunge band Nickelback came from a simple, offhand phrase that bassist Michael Kroeger, the brother of singer and guitarist Chad Kroeger, used at his former job as a coffee-shop barista. When giving customers their change, he would say, “Here’s your nickel back.”
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