Recycled band monikers -- Hammer, Widowmaker, and Copperhead are among the many band names to be reused

By Dave DiMartino
Updated January 15, 1993 at 05:00 AM EST

Put enough monkeys in a room filled with typewriters, and sure, they’ll give your band a handle. Maybe Toad the Wet Sprocket, maybe Nine Inch Nails, maybe Rage Against the Machine — or maybe one somebody used 20 years ago. Bad enough that most of this music sounds recycled — can’t anyone even come up with an original name anymore?

Then: Rock band featuring keyboardist Norman Landsberg, who went on to play with the Pointer Sisters; one album, 1971. Then again: Guitarless ”rock group” put together by jazz-bo Jan Hammer, whose second album cover was so offensive to women it was swiftly changed; two albums, 1979. Now: Multimillion-selling, formerly famous rapper who built an entire career around Rick James’ ”Super Freak.”

Then: Adventurous, bluesy Irish rock trio featuring future guitar star Gary Moore; two albums, 1970-71. Now: Clodhopping New York dufuses who cover Kiss, Judas Priest, and Rush between haircuts.

Then: Wham-bam British pre-metal trio that had an underground radio hit with the pounding ”Race With the Devil”; two albums, 1968-69. Now: Mildly diverting U.K. hard-rock quintet offering nothing new in the slightest. Could use a silencer.

Then: Better-than-average Brit hard-rockers with dueling oddball guitarists; two albums, 1976-77. Now: Former Twisted Sister singer Dee Snider’s new band. As horrifying as it sounds.

Then: Band formed by psychedelic guitar legend John Cipollina after he left Quicksilver Messenger Service; one album, 1973. Now: Dorky Southern rockers, recently signed to a major label. Can someone explain why?

Then: Late-’60s British group that would evolve into Vinegar Joe and launch Robert Palmer’s career; one album, 1970. Now: Moderately appealing L.A. alternative group that would not enjoy linkage to Robert Palmer in any way.

Then: Noisy hard-rock trio formed by Bob Welch when he split from Fleetwood Mac; two albums, 1976. Now: Dreary gangsta rapper whose controversial ”Bush Killa” was more bush than killa.

Then: Cutesy British pop band that released five albums between 1967 and 1972. Now: Seattle band whose lead singer wears dresses on stage. Famous.

Finally, there is no truth to rumors that Axl Rose planned to name his band Guns and Butter (one album, 1972) until he saw Last Tango in Paris.