Mick Jagger threw his name into the running for what may become the biggest supergroup of 2011, joining Dave Stewart of Eurythmics, Damien Marley, Joss Stone, and A.R. Rahman, composer of the Slumdog Millionaire soundtrack, for what promises to be an eclectic (and hopefully not too terrible) mix of rock, reggae, soul, and as Stewart tells Rolling Stone, "Indian orchestras."
Unfortunately, the name chosen for the project -- based on a vocal freestyle by Damien Marley -- is Super Heavy, which joins the long list of embarrassing supergroup names plaguing rock history. It's as if musicians who have achieved fame through other groups will thoughtlessly abandon all dignity in christening their newfound supergroup, and ending up with school-age Battle of the Bands monikers such as Asia, Chickenfoot, Oysterhead, or Broken Bells. Here's a list of some of the most embarrassingly titled supergroups ever formed.
This might not actually count as a supergroup, as the collab among Soundgarden's Chris Cornell and future Pearl Jammers Stone Gossard, Eddie Vedder, and Mike McCready predated the fame of more than half of the members of the band. However, a name as embarrassing as Temple of the Dog can never escape from any list of all-time terrible band names. And yes, we get that Dog is God spelled backwards. You'd have to be as stupid as Sebastian Bach (see below) to think that was clever. If only they'd switched the rest of the letters around and called themselves Ghetto Elf Moped.
Hindu Love Gods
This one-off collaboration between R.E.M. and Warren Zevon was the result of a drunken night of covering blues standards, and, presumably, choosing a name.
Monsters of Folk
The first response to hearing a name like Monsters of Folk is that it had to have been deeply steeped in irony. But a quick glance at hyperserious members Conor Oberst and Mike Mogis (Bright Eyes), Jim James (My Morning Jacket), and M. Ward leads us to believe they might have been serious. There's nothing wrong with new sincerity per se, but coupled with the pomposity and egoism of the band name, it makes us yearn for the days of the '90s when a supergroup of serious indie-rockers might call themselves something a bit more self-effacing, like, say, the Monsters of Suck.
If we needed more proof that Chris Cornell shouldn't be allowed to name bands, he claims that the name for his stint with the musicians of Rage Against the Machine came to him in a dream. Not surprisingly, the anticlever activists of Rage signed off on the famously terrible name. Bad story, bad name, bad band.
Named after the flying glove from the Beatles' Yellow Submarine film (though, really, it could be any glove), the Glove was a one-album collaboration by Robert Smith of the Cure and Steven Severin of Siouxsie and the Banshees. This is a case where any adjective (might we suggest ... "flying"?), or even a plural would improve on this cryptically boring name.
Them Crooked Vultures
The classic supergroup story: three bona fide rock heavies (Josh Homme, Dave Grohl, and John Paul Jones) decide that if they all play together, it'd be so awesome, the name wouldn't matter. Really, though, it's proof that supergroups are more about rock star vanity than they are about the band itself. In the pre-Internet days, every show poster and venue marquee would have listed the three members under the band's name as the only way to get people in the door. Instead, every news story, blog post, album review, and press release lists them within the first two sentences. It's the only way you can make people care about a band called Them Crooked Vultures.
With a line-up nearly as nonsensical as Jagger's new group (Adam Schlesinger of Fountains of Wayne, James Iha of Smashing Pumpkins, Taylor Hanson of Hanson, and Bun E. Carlos of Cheap Trick), this powerpop group seemingly got its name by playing a game of "say-what-you-see" while stuck in traffic on the way to the recording studio. I guess they're lucky that they didn't pick "Unnecessary Spoiler," "Slug-Bug," or "20-Inch Wheels." Actually, we're not so sure about that.
A name this terrible could only come from reality television. The name chosen by the cast of VH1 Supergroup (Ted Nugent, Sebastian Bach, Scott Ian, Jason Bonham, and Evan Seinfeld) wasn't the band's first pick. Such other brilliant names as FIST ('cause, man, it's like all five of us, man, coming together, like, like a fist, man), Savage Animal, Godwar ("Rawdog" backwards -- Sebastian Bach didn't get it), and Hunting Deer with a Bow and Arrow (guess who suggested that one) were in the running before they picked Damnocracy. Sebastian Bach claims he thought of the name when Scott Ian complained about how hard picking a band name was in a "goddamn democracy." Much to the dismay of seventh graders busy thinking up similarly creative names in the back of pre-algebra class, Damnocracy was off the market forever. At least the most embarrassing supergroup name of all time thankfully belongs to the most embarrassing supergroup of all time.