Not Blink-183? Why 10 Bands Chose The Numbers In Their Names

Senior Pop Culture Editor
03.19.13 11 Comments

The reasoning behind most titular numbers aren’t as self-evident as you’d think. For instance, Movie 43, it must be called that because there are 43 sketches in the film or because there were 43 actors desperate for a quick paycheck. It turns, however, the movie’s called the way it is because director Peter Farrelly heard his son and friends talking about a mysterious “Movie 43,” which didn’t actually exist. Well, now it does (unfortunately).

But what about Blink-182? Or 311? Or U2? Why did they chose the number(s) that they did? Let’s find out.

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Band: 311
Reason: Well, it has nothing to do with the KKK, which is how all sentences should begin. Many idiots have accused 311 of being KKK supporters because “K” is the 11th letter of the album, therefore three K’s equals KKK. Make sense? Nope. After a school banned all 311 merchandise because of that misinterpretation, the band issued a press release regarding their name, writing, “The name of our band originally comes from an Omaha police citation for indecent exposure. We thought it was funny at the time.” That statement never ends well.

Band: Sum 41
Reason: Sum 41 switched from “Kaspir,” a NOFX cover band, to “Sum 41” on September 28, 1996, the 41st day of summer.

Band: Blink-182 (blink-182 for the purists)
Reason: Originally, the Mark, Tom, and Travis show went by BLINK, which stood for “Boys Lusting Incredibly Nude Kids,” at least according to Tom when he wanted to be a dick to the media. (Let the words “boys lusting,” “nude,” and “dick” never appear in the same UPROXX post again.) But there was an Irish techno group called “Blink,” too, so the pop-punk band added “182,” or the number of times Al Pacino said “f*ck” in Scarface, to avoid legal dispute.

Band: Nine Inch Nails
Reason: There are two possible options. First, the interesting one: the nails that were used to hang Jesus from the cross were nine inches long. More likely, though, it’s Trent Reznor’s boring interpretation, in that Nine Inch Nails “looked great in print and could be abbreviated easily.” He added, “It seemed kind of frightening,” with a cackle.

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Band: 30 Seconds to Mars
Reason: According to Jared Leto, “It is a name that works on several different levels. Most importantly, it is a good representation of our sound. It’s a phrase that is lyrical, suggestive, cinematic, and filled with immediacy. It has some sense of otherness to it,” whatever the hell that means.

Band: Matchbox Twenty (originally matchbox 20)
Reason: The band name dates back to when drummer Paul Douchette was waiting tables in Florida, long before Rob Thomas pushed you around ’cause he will. One day, he said, a customer walked into his restaurant and “he had a big number twenty on a softball shirt…a bunch of patches all over it, and the only word that I saw from the patches was the word ‘matchbox.'” Someone should start a reality TV show where famous people track down their mysterious inspirations, beginning with Matchbox’s Softball Lesbian, I mean, Softball Man.

Band: U2
Reason: In the late 1970s, Bono & Co. went by the Hype, but they weren’t satisfied with the moniker. So they asked their now-art director Steve Averill for help. In an interview with Hot Press, Averill said, “Adam [Clayton] liked names like XTC, which were short and crisp and could mean a lot or mean very little. So I made a list of ten and I put U2 on the bottom. I thought it was strong graphically and it had a variety of connotations without meaning something specific. It was short and stood out from the band names common at the time.” That’s a lot less obnoxious of a reason than it could have been.

Band: Old 97’s
Reason: The band liked Johnny Cash’s “Wreck of the Old 97,” thus, Old 97’s.

Band: 10,000 Maniacs
Reason: THESE ARE THE DAYS to know that 10,000 Maniacs was chosen because the band enjoyed the 1964 splatter film Two Thousand Maniacs!, the second installment in the famed “Blood Trilogy.”

Band: Jackson 5
Reason: No idea.

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