Just how insane can the name of your act be? Join us as we count down 15 funny band names that took ridiculous to a new level.
Disclaimer: This list is by no means definitive, accurate, numerical or at all relevant to anything. We hold no responsibility for any barneys or blues that may erupt over the ensuing discussions brought on by this piece.
Since we last checked there was a whole bunch of people living on planet earth, most of them with a cracking sense of humour. We’re simply trying to shed some light on a few pearlers of funny band names. Enjoy.
Suss Cunts are a self-described ‘suss’ band from Melbourne. This delightfully raucous all-female trio are here to laugh in the face of male domination while having a rollicking good time.
The name sparked from a running joke between bassist Helena and guitarist/singer Nina from their years in hospitality. With songs like Get Laid, Sweater Vest and Anaemic Boyfriend they are the loud voice for anyone who’s met a Suss Cunt.
Let’s Get Out Of This Terrible Sandwich Shop
Let’s face it, we’ve all had this experience. The one where you’re on a road trip and you begin to get a hunger on, you’re fangin’ down the Pacific Highway somewhere near Telegraph Point and you spot a little milko, bakery or… a sandwich shop. Hunger pangs subside at the thought of the imminent delivery of food.
Inside there’s some tomato, soggy lettuce, cheese slices and an ecstatic colony of flies hovering around the Mrs Mac’s pie oven. You grab a strawberry OAK and hightail it out of there because what else can you do? We can only assume that this Chicago based band is dedicated to all of us who never got the sandwich of their dreams.
Kiss The Anus Of A Black Cat
Well, um, sure? Based in Ghent, Belgium you’ll generally find this band in the darkwave, gothic or neo-folk sections of your record store.
They’ve been actively releasing music since 2005, gaining a growing level of popularity with their well-composed and eccentric tunes, even if their name does remind you of the translated version of that one thing that guy yelled at you while crossing the road in Brussels you didn’t understand but knew was an insult.
The Birds Are Spies, They Report To The Trees
Formed in Oslo/Trondheim in Norway, they gave us only three short years from 2004-2007, though they seem to have an oddly active, if sporadic Facebook page. What we are thankful for is they gave us a name that encompasses humankind’s greatest fear that we are being watched, that nature knows too much.
Seems fitting this all-encompassing paranoia should arrive in the affectionate genre of emocore.
There’s something about this name. Maybe it’s the visual aspect; maybe it’s the connotation that it’s not in fact a small person giving a hand job but, rather, a short-lived sensual experience. Or maybe it’s the fact that they had some punk credentials to their name through member Keith Morris (ex-Black Flag and Circle Jerks).
All we know is they dropped just one album in 2000 called Midnight Snack Break At The Poodle Factory and that’s it for us.
Rainbow Butt Monkeys
Hailing from Canada, they released one album Letters From Chutney as a collective with a penchant for technicolour primates. The winds of a name change flew through after new management took over and they became Finger Eleven, a successful rock band, most notably for their song Paralyzer.
Some have even said they took music seriously.
Satan’s Almighty Penis
1999, Cedar Rapids, USA. Satan stopped by Syntax A and Lord Sardonyxs’ rehearsal. The two at the time were budding black metal ragers without a name. Satan felt the two were just the right messengers to reveal to the world that he was in fact stacked.
Alternatively, a statement on the band’s website reads:
“Our band name has no history or meaning. Its purpose is to offend and shock so that it remains burnt into the memory of anyone who encounters it. We believe that it represents our insidious music perfectly.”
Up Up Down Down Left Right Left Right B A Start
For all the old school Konami gaming fans out there this might be a contentious reveal. Konami programmers would often hide ‘cheat codes’ to help make gameplay easier, the above sequence was a common reoccurrence so it was bequeathed the title of ‘The Konami Code’ (which is actually not a bad band name).
This possibly says a lot about the New Jersey band that was last active in 2008, though they were a self-deprecating and aware bunch, releasing an album in 2007 titled Worst Band Name Ever.
This Is Serious Mum (TISM) are what some might call a band, others might call an iconic Australian watermark. This ragtag group of seven anonymous, loveable weirdos formed in 1982 and since then have delivered such gems as (He’ll Never Be An) Old Man River, Everyone Else Has Had More Sex Than Me, Honk If You Love Fred Durst, Greg! The Stop Sign!! and who could forget Would The Last Person To Leave Please Turn Out The Enlightenment.
The band’s renegade antics and general disinterest in the music industry proved that music should be for oneself and to be enjoyed wildly. Or something like that.
Machine Gun Fellatio
A much loved Australian band formed way back in 1997 that was all about nudity, light bondage gear and implied sexual activity. We’re guessing that due to the lack of guns in Australia, the reference was related to a rapid-fire aural experience.
Filled with the likes of Chit Chat Von Loopin Stab, Bryan Ferrysexual, Feyonce, LoveShark and Pinky Beecroft, the band pushed the envelope of taste with catchy songs while ultimately making us laugh along the way. Dearly departed in 2005, we will miss thee, but their funny band name lives on.
The story goes that this band was consistently changing their name but they had a song called Butthole Surfer. At an early concert, the person introducing them forgot their name and improvised The Butthole Surfers. The rest is, as they say, possibly unconfirmed history.
Forming in San Antonio, Texas in the late ‘70s they’ve been around in one form or another ever since, aside from a current hiatus. One of the few bands on the list that went on to achieve successful longevity, garnering a loyal following and touring the world. Ultimately though it comes down to that name and the exceedingly visual implications that follow after saying it out loud.
Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Abnormally Premature Aardvarks
Not a whole lot can be found out on this band except that they released at least one record. It was 1967 and the serious question arose one totally sober night as to why no one was thinking of the Aardvarks, particularly the potentially lacklustre, abnormally premature ones.
As far as funny band names go this might be the pinnacle.
While the name is more ridiculous than funny, this lager-swilling band did give us Tubthumping. In 2012 after a three-decade career they got knocked down, hung up the guitars and haven’t got back up again.
Don’t even try, really, lest you want to appear like THAT person muttering obscenities at your screen. It’s apparently a made-up word relating to some strange disease that contaminates carcasses, making them explode whilst killing everything within a two-kilometre radius.
The band? Well, they’re a goregrind band from Mexico of course. The sleeves of their records are apparently banned almost everywhere except Mexico (no we will not be showing any).
Really? I mean really? At what point do you sit down with your band and unanimously decide on Hoobastank if you plan on making anything other than comedy music. The urban legend goes that the name stems from a high school in-joke revolving around a street sign and the mispronunciation of said street sign.
This means that the band have been laughing at the world as we try and figure out exactly what a stinky hooba smells like. In fairness, while the music is not exactly to our tastes we can admit to their radio-friendly nature and tightly composed songs and yes we all remember THAT song. If you don’t here it is:
The First Person To See An Elephant
Congratulations on Your Decision to Become a Pilot
Thirty Odd Foot Of Grunts
Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly
I Can Lick Any Sonofabitch In The House
Seagull Screaming Kiss Her Kiss Her
Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin
Stick Men With Ray Guns
Tiger! Shit! Tiger! Tiger!
Unprovoked Moose Attack
Goo Goo Dolls
Natalie Portman’s Shaved Head
The Tony Danza Tapdance Extravaganza
Top 10 Most Popular Mariachi Songs
Vihuelas, trumpets, guitarróns, and violins. Traje de charros, rancheras, and huapangos. These are but a few of the ingredients which make up the unique sound of Mexico: mariachi. We’re only missing one thing—the songs!
Ranging all the way from traditional tunes to modern pop covers, we’ve chosen the top 10 mariachi songs guaranteed to brighten any fiesta.
Mariachi bands can also roam around while performing. This capacity to play ‘unplugged’ makes them the perfect choice for socially-distanced gatherings—providing a COVID-safe performance that is manageable and also lots of fun.
Chances are that if you’re reading this, you’re thinking about booking a mariachi band at some point in the future. And while the videos and songs below will have you humming along in no time, they are nothing compared to the real thing. The excitement and joy of seeing a live mariachi band performance is something that can’t be captured by a camera.
On Encore, we’re lucky enough to have many wonderful mariachi bands based all over the UK. So whether you’re in Manchester or Maidstone, the music of Mexico can bring your event to life!
Browse all Mariachi Bands→
Why not listen along to our Top 10 Mariachi Songs playlist below…
About Mariachi songs
Many traditional and modern mariachi tunes have intriguing backstories, and we’ve added some of those to give you a taste of the rich history and traditions of mariachi music. As a musical style, mariachi is constantly evolving. Now, and especially outside of Mexico, mariachi groups can cover an amazingly wide range of music. This includes everything from 70s rock, to modern pop, to various genres from Latin America (like cumbia from Colombia, or guajira from Cuba). Whether you want to hear the jaunty rhythms of “El Son de la Negra” or a mariachi-styled cover of “Happy” by Pharrell Williams, mariachi bands can do it all.
The traditional music of Mexico is magical in and of itself, as anyone who has been there will tell you. But now that talented mariachi musicians can be found all over the world, and are able to perform a vast array of genres, they have become a favourite for all kinds of events—from weddings, to birthday parties, to corporate functions. Simply put, a talented mariachi band can transform a good event into an unforgettable event.
What are some traditional songs for mariachi bands?
El Son de la Negra
Also known as “Le Negra,” this folk tune is easily one of the most famous mariachi songs. Immortalised in 1940 by the composer Blas Gilando, it has become synonymous with Mexican culture and identity. Due to its immense popularity, “La Negra” is even often referred to as Mexico’s second national anthem. The music—an upbeat, lively style known as son jalisciense—is usually accompanied by a dance called the zapateado. The footwork of zapateado dancers flows with the music, striking their heels against the ground in rhythm with the ensemble (a little like tap dancing). And although the lyrics have a melancholy tinge (a worker waits for his lover to return), the exuberance of the tune has ensured its timelessness.
Mariachi bands come in duos too! Mariachi Los Soneros performing a crowd favourite, ‘El Son de la Negra’
Not to be confused with the tango sharing the same name, ‘Volver Volver’ is a ranchera-style piece led by a crooning vocal melody and lilting trumpets. It is a classic love song about desiring an old flame, and the impossibility of turning back the clock. Made famous by Vicente Fernández, also known as the ‘The King of Ranchera Music’, ‘Volver Volver’ has all the hallmarks of the greatest ranchera songs: deeply emotional refrains, poignant verse, and that rawness one finds in the best folk music.
México Lindo y Querido
Another trait ranchera music is well-known for is its patriotism and evocation of nature. There is no better example of this than “México Lindo y Querido.” Written in a waltz-style with sudden tempo changes, bubbly melodies, and stunning a cappella-style harmonies, this is a must-hear for those new to mariachi music. The lyrics celebrate the natural beauty of Mexico, express an undying love for home, and the ability of music to capture those emotions: “The voice of my guitar / wants to sing its joy / to my Mexican homeland / when the morning wakes up.” It’s no wonder mariachi bands hold this tune in high esteem.
Cinema lovers need look no further. “Malagueña Salerosa”—a huapango-style song similar to son jalisciense tunes with their alternating rhythms and zapateado dancers—was used by Quentin Tarantino in his film, Kill Bill: Vol. 2 (performed by Chingon, a band started by director Robert Rodriguez). When it comes to music, Tarantino is known for his good taste. This is certainly no exception. The song has also been covered by over two-hundred artists, from perhaps the most famous mariachi band, Mariachi Vargas De Tecalitlán, to the American heavy metal band, Avenged Sevenfold. Written back in the 1940s, “Malagueña Salerosa” remains to this day a gem of the mariachi canon.
As the only song included in Rolling Stone’s list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time not sung in English, as well as the number-one single on the US & UK charts in 1987, “La Bamba” is probably the most recognisable of the tunes on this list (and also the only one from East Mexico rather than West Mexico). Another huapango-style song, it is often played at weddings and other celebrations where dancing is the focus. It’s the ideal party-starter—100% energy and 100% fun!
Rubén Fuentes, a violinist of the legendary ensemble Mariachi Vargas De Tecalitlán, wrote “La Bikina” in 1964, along with numerous other Mexican music standards. It has since grown in fame enormously since then, mainly due to Luis Miguel—one of the best-selling Latin music artists of all time. Miguel’s renditions of the song are usually accompanied by a large mariachi orchestra, which lifts the already impassioned melody to a fever pitch. Pared-down versions of “La Bikina” can work just as effectively. Smaller mariachi bands lend an intimacy to the song that is sometimes lost on larger ensembles. This versatility is what makes it one of the best mariachi songs out there.
While not exactly a ‘traditional’ mariachi song, “Guantanamera” has been taken up wholesale by mariachi bands all over the world. Very similar in form to “La Bamba,” this Cuban guajira-style song works perfectly for mariachi bands, with its focus on tight vocal harmonies, an easy-going attitude, and patriotic lyrics. And that melody? Hard to beat. (Hard to get out of your head as well!)
Mariachi Ole—available to book on Encore—performing a festive ‘Guantanamera’
What are some cover songs for mariachi bands?
Happy by Pharrell Williams
Like all pop sensations, “Happy” is a song that lends itself well to covers. Possibly the most well-known songs of the mid-2010s, it’s difficult to remember a time when hearing it felt like hearing something new and fresh. But reinvented and performed by a mariachi band, the novelty piles back on—a familiar song spiced up by a shiny new pair of charro boots, a rip-roaring trumpet, and a sombrero!
Despacito by Luis Fonsi
Despacito is often credited with popularising Spanish-language pop music for a new generation. It’s no surprise it works perfectly in a mariachi style—fitting in seamlessly with more traditional tunes, and breathing new life into a song that is tailor-made for events where group sing-alongs are expected.
¿Quién será? by Pablo Beltrán Ruiz (also known as Sway)
If “Sway” hadn’t become so popular, we could have included it in the traditional section. Written for his own orchestra in 1953, the Mexican composer Pablo Beltrán could hardly have imagined how huge his song would become. Originally titled “¿Quién será?,” but since anglicised as “Sway,” this jazz/pop standard has been covered hundreds of times, in every imaginable genre by artists as diverse as Dean Martin, The Pussycat Dolls, and George Clinton of Funkadelic. The song itself has its roots in bolero, mambo, and cha-cha-chá. In other words, this song is a mariachi band’s bread and butter.
How much do mariachi bands cost?
On average, you should expect to pay around £200 to £250 for each member of a mariachi band. Most mariachi bands have a set amount of musicians, but many can offer larger or smaller ensembles based on your budget or venue size.
As a rough guide, the price of booking a mariachi band is as follows:
- 3 musicians: £500–£700
- 4 musicians: £650–£850
- 5 musicians: £750–£1000
- 6+ musicians: £800–£2000
When it comes to mariachi band repertoire, this is really only the tip of the iceberg. There are hundreds of fantastic tunes that’ve been left out of this list. But fear not! If you get in touch with any one of our mariachi bands, they’ll be able to show you their sizeable song lists, replete with all the best mariachi music and pop covers. They can also point out which songs would be well-suited to your event (emotive ballads for a wedding; chilled rancheras for a summer party). Many mariachi bands can also prepare pop cover requests for you too. (But give them plenty of notice!)
See all Mariachi Bands →
If you’ve already organised a mariachi band for your event, but need more entertainment for later in the day or for a different event, we have plenty of musicians who would love to serenade you and your guests! Why not take a look at some of those brilliant wedding acts—we’ve got everything from Ceilidh bands, to Jazz duos, to singing ukulele players.
Jonny is Encore's Head of Artist Relations.
He's responsible for supporting and helping musicians on the platform and writes most of the musician-facing articles on the blog. He can usually be found singing in choirs, drumming in bands, or nodding meaningfully to particularly good chords in London's jazz bars.
Known for their snazzy charro uniforms and seemingly endless number of bandmembers, the best Mariachi bands are some of the most well known musicians in Mexico. Once you look past their outfits, Mariachi artists are actually Mexican folk musicians. Originally called Mariachi bands due to their presence at weddings, the best Mariachi music groups actually don't have a single traditional lead singer. Instead, they rely the expertise of their fellow musicians. When you think of traditional Mexican music, generally, Mariachi bands are the first to come to mind. All of this being said, there are numerous talented Mariachi vocalists without a massive ensemble, such as Luis Miguel, Pedro Infante, and Yolanda del Río, who've all taken the classic genre to new heights.
So, what are the best Mariachi bands? When thinking about Mariachi, perhaps some of the first names that come to mind are Vicente Fernandez, Jose Alfredo Jimenez, Rocio Durcal and Pepe Aguilar. These are some of the biggest names in Mariachi, and in the case of Fernandez, it has translated into international success and sold out arenas. The best Mariachi bands are able to get people to dance along to their music, in one of the many dances associated with the genre.
That said, it's up to you to determine what the best Mariachi bands are. This list answers the questions "who are the best mariachi bands of all time?" and "who is the greatest mariachi musician ever?" If you know enough about the genre, please vote based on the quality of the band's music instead of just voting for the most popular mariachi artists whom you simply might've heard of.
Band funny names mariachi
.El Jarabe Tapatio-The Mexican Hat Dance
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