The Worst Band Fan Names of All Time
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.
Photo: Nate "Igor" Smith "Juggalos" are now 20 years old.
"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.
Imagine how much better Phish would be if they were called Fish and their fans were called fans. (None. Not any better at all.)