The Worst Band Fan Names of All Time
"Juggalos" are now 20 years old.
Photo: Nate "Igor" Smith
Lorde may only be 17, but this week she revealed herself to be wise beyond her years. In a recent interview with Look magazine, the songstress behind the No. 2 Pazz & Jop single "Royals" responded to a question about attempting to give her fans a cutesy name.
"I find it grating to lump everyone into a really awkward, pun-centric name," she said to the magazine. "People joke about it on Twitter, 'You should call us The Disciples.' Never!"
MTV News found she's been consistent on this, noting a tweet from April of last year.
i will NEVER name my fans, promise.. that shit is icky
— Lorde (@lordemusic) April 1, 2013
That's good, of course. The last thing the world needs is another cheesy band fan name.
See also: The Welcome Contradictions of Lorde
It didn't always used to be this way: The obsessive, manic fans of Franz Liszt were diagnosed with Lisztomania, not termed Lisztomaniacs. Similarly, "Beatlemania" was deemed an obsession of girls, but "Beatlemaniacs" was more of a Beatles cover band name than an identifier for fans. (The Apple scruffs, die hard fans who waited outside Apple studios, came late in the band's run.)
Fans having a collective name makes sense, if the other option is for the mass media (or at least German poet/journalist Heinrich Heine) to accuse you of insanity. But too often the whole fanbase name thing seems like an exercise in branding. The Atlantic investigated the issue in 2012:
Nina Beckhardt, the founder of The Naming Group, which has developed brand naming strategies for corporations like Sony, Capital One, and Chevrolet, said that fans calling themselves by variations of an artist's name, "that shows immense brand support." She added that monikers like "KatyCats" and "Taylors" (the name for die-hard fans of the rapper Wiz Khalifa) are examples of sophisticated branding that evokes a set of meanings about the artists--Perry loves cats, and Khalifa's favorite shoes are his Chuck Taylors.
That's right. When we think "sophisticated branding," we think "KatyCats." Don't laugh: It's only a small step from calling your fans KatyCats to getting them to spend $170 on a limited edition Meow! perfume gift set--and, one can assume, Katy Perry cat collars and toys and iPhone apps eventually. (Maybe even a Katy Perry KatyCat Shelter, where you can adopt KatyKittens!)
In 2014, everything has to be branded, and these band fan names aren't going away--despite Lorde's best efforts. We might as well decide how to live with them. We decided to evaluate some of the worst (and so-bad-they're-good) band fan names throughout history.
Katy Perry: KatyCats Oh! Like KatyCats like kitty cats. I get it now.
One Direction: Directioners The Atlantic article's source for the claim that One Direction fans created this name themselves is One Direction's publicist, but the name is so simple it's plausible enough. We won't mock Directioners too hard as, according to The Guardian, "Directioners and Team Breezy are turning fandom into a trolling war." (Yes, the very same Guardian that published Edward Snowden's leaks.)
Chris Brown: Team Breezy Being a rabid Chris Brown fan is bad enough. But Team Breezy sounds like a WWE tag team--making it even worse.
Jimmy Buffett: Parrot Heads Timothy B. Schmit--best known as the bassist for the Eagles--is who we can blame for this term. "They look like deadheads in tropical suits," an essay on the Parrot Heads of North Carolina site quotes Schmit as saying at a Cincinnati concert in 1985. "They're like PARROT HEADS!" According to that same site, "through his music and writings, Parrot Heads vicariously experience Jimmy's lifestyle."
The Grateful Dead: Deadheads The rhyming and the better word makes this take on drug slang much less stupid-sounding that Parrot Heads. Though both of these group names are eerily accurate at describing the differences between the two groups of fans, stereotypically.
Phish: Phans Imagine how much better Phish would be if they were called Fish and their fans were called fans. (None. Not any better at all.) Justin Bieber: Beliebers Mildly clever, but a little too cult-y sounding. Then again, based on these tweets after Bieber allegedly egged a house, perhaps it's directly on the nose.
Savage Garden: Savage Gardeners OK, made this one up.
Lady Gaga: Little Monsters Of all the artists on this list, Lady Gaga's choice of Little Monsters for her fans makes her the most likely to be peppering her songs with subliminal messages, biding her time until her fans can rise up in revolt against all of us.
Barry Manilow: Fanilows It's like Barry Manilow fans were like, "Hey, how can we make people who like metal, hip-hop, etc., laugh at us more? Got it!"
KISS: The KISS Army The KISS Army website "KISS Kulture" section is basically a way to sell the increasingly large pool of KISS merchandise to fans. Truly, KISS is a band ahead of its time.
Insane Clown Possse: Juggalo/Jugalette We must simply just quote the Juggalo Wikipedia page here:
The term originated during a 1994 live performance by Insane Clown Posse. During the song "The Juggla," Violent J addressed the audience as Juggalos, and the positive response resulted in Bruce and Shaggy 2 Dope using the word thereafter to refer to themselves and their friends, family, and fans, including other Psychopathic Records artists.
This excerpt reminds us that the juggalo term is now 20 years old. One more year 'til juggalos can drink!
Clay Aiken: Claymates Almost seven years ago, Clay Aiken played Philadelphia and a local photographer attended. He was savaged in the comments for his slightly negative recap, but what was more important is the photos he took in the parking lot: There were not one, but two, customized Clay Aiken license plates. One car had a "I'd rather be at a Clay Aiken concert." These, truly, are the most dedicated fans.
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