The List: Bands/artists named for animals

Jim Fischer
Columbus Alive
Old Crow Medicine Show

A cardinal rule when writing for a music publication is to never ask a band where it got its name — it results in bad answers and short, unrevealing conversations. So, we need, every so often, to come up with reasons to write about band names, which are still interesting, just not in the context of an interview.

With the Mountain Goats on its way to town, here is a list, unranked, of some of the best animal-related band/artist names.

Blue Oyster Cult

The world needs more cowbell.

Old Crow Medicine Show

Slightly edging the Black Crowes, Counting Crows and Sheryl Crow.

Stray Cats

Points deducted for self-referential song title.


To name yourself after an animal, you'd have to be … a little crazy.

Them Crooked Vultures

Sounds like a random conversation that ended with, “That'd be a good band name.”

Frightened Rabbit

Decent Scottish band, but the name just clicks with me for some reason.

Eagles of Death Metal

Not actually a death metal band.


Actually a death metal band.

Snoop Dogg

Kept the animal, dropped the redundancy.

Fleet Foxes

Foxes are just cool and there's nothing you can say that will change my mind.

Bear Hands

It's, like, a double-meaning.

Leftover Salmon

Probably named more after food, but…


Tragic end, but a name that conjures a sort of shimmering beauty.

Pedro the Lion

Pedro singer/songwriter David Bazan is set to play Rumba Cafe later this month.


Could also be a cartoon title.

Dixie Chicks

I suppose it's not really referencing baby chickens.

Def Leppard

Points deducted for speeling.

Toad the Wet Sprocket

Monty Python, FTW.

Flock of Seagulls

“And I raaan…”

Reel Big Fish

Ska band gets points for double-meaning.

Buffalo Springfield

Technically, they're called bison.

Deer Tick

Club owner for its first show: “Come on, guys. I need a name for the poster.”

Cage the Elephant

Is this a zoo reference or the name of an elephant?

The Animals

Why choose?