I Set My Friends on Fire are coming to Phoenix next month, and we can't help wondering how these sociopaths aren't incarcerated yet. They're murderous arsonists, for crying out loud. Of course, the name isn't serious (or at least we hope it isn't), but it is demonstrative of an inexplicable and increasingly frequent tendency to label bands with violent monikers. Let's take a closer look at some of the artists that we have to assume you wouldn't want to hang out with backstage, in the tour bus, at the bar, or anywhere for that matter.
I Set My Friends on Fire. Really, dudes? That's not cool. It's also pretty dangerous, unless it's a controlled burn or someone from the fire department supervises. Otherwise, you're I Set My Friends on Fire and Accidentally Burn My Neighborhood Down. These post-hardcore arsonists from Miami may think they've got a cool name — and may even think that they're funny — but their anti-social antics are keeping us from going anywhere near one of their shows — much less backstage.
Fucked Up. Talk about fucked up. This hardcore-punk outfit from Toronto is made up of five dudes and a chick who apparently hate each other. And we mean that: They really hate each other. Onstage blowups are common, and their 300-pound frontman, Damian Abraham — also known as Pink Eyes and Father Damian — likes to quit the band whenever he forgets to take his meds. The name kind of gives you all the warning you need, don't you think?
Circle of Dead Children. Nothing says "friendly and normal" like naming your Pittsburgh death-grind band Circle of Dead Children. Even better is telling people you called yourselves that after a collective vision of a circle of flags from various countries of the world — each, get this, depicting the image of a dead and mutilated child of that nationality. Yep, nothing weird about that.
. . . And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead. You're right, we probably would. You left a trail, which makes it pretty easy to track you. Wouldn't even need a stereotypical Native American to do it. It'd just be, "Hey, look, another dead body. Let's go that way." Then again, that's what makes (deep breath) . . . And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead so freaking dangerous — they don't care if you find them. They'll just take you out, too. Then you'd be another body on their trail that will, er, help, um, identify them. Sigh. It's such a lame name that they almost don't even deserve to have fans.
The Killers. Yeah, these guys sound like a gang of bloodthirsty, homicidal mani . . . um, okay, we really can't go there with a straight face. Not with this troupe of Nancy boys. If you're going to use irony when naming your band — a trick that rarely works — our attitude is, you better be fearless about it — like The Killers. Yes, the name is silly, not to mention a random reference few will get (and, no, we're not talking Hemingway's classic short story), but it's saved by how far they go to embrace the irony. One, the lead singer is named Brandon Flowers. Two, they named their debut Hot Fuss. Wow, that's about as un-masculine as you can get. No killer would listen to an album called Hot Fuss (except maybe the one Michael Caine played in Brian De Palma's Dressed to Kill). Three, the members play the artsy, theatrical card in defiance of their moniker. That's called deliberate irony, kids. Not like calling yourself Queen when your frontman wears a boa and unitard.