The Best Band Aliases And Pseudonyms

28 November 2018, 06:00 | Updated: 28 November 2018, 14:30

Green Day, Arctic Monkeys, Sex Pistols, Biffy Clyro and The Cure
Green Day, Arctic Monkeys, Sex Pistols, Biffy Clyro and The Cure. Picture: Evening Standard/Tim Mosenfelder/Shirlaine Forrest/WireImage/Gie Knaeps/Didier Messens/Redferns/Getty

Coldplay have snuck out a record under the name Los Unidades. Which other bands and artists have masqueraded under different names?

  1. Los Unidades

    Roughly translated, this means “The Units” and was announced by label Parlophone as a “new signing”. But - aha! - fans did some digging and the culprits have turned out to be none other than Coldplay, with a guest appearance from Pharrell Williams.

  2. RPA & The United Nations Of Sound

    Between his third solo album, Keys To The World in 2006 and the smash hit These People ten years later, Richard Ashcroft released an album under this obscure moniker, spawning the single Are You Ready? The US didn’t stand for any of this nonsense and released the record under the Ashcroft name. Spoilsports!

  3. Foxboro Hot Tubs

    A side project of Green Day featuring, well, all of Green Day. They play garage punk and the trio (plus a couple of other musicians) released an album under the name in 2008, titled Stop Drop And Roll!!!

  4. Bingo Hand Job

    When R.E.M. released their massive hit Out Of Time, they didn’t want to bother with a huge tour, so just played one-off shows. When they planned a gig at London’s tiny Borderline club in March 1991, it was announced under the brilliant fake name Bingo Hand Job. Another great pseudonym used by The Rems was Hornets Attack Victor Mature, a name taken from a genuine newspaper headline.

  5. Cult Hero

    Back in The Cure’s early days in Crawley, Robert Smith and co were friends with a local postman called Frank Bell, who would stalk the local pubs wearing a t-shirt saying “I’m A Cult Hero”. Smith got Frank into the studio at the end of 1979 and recorded a stupid disco song under the name Cult Hero. It didn’t chart, but the b-side, I Dig You, mysteriously became an indie club hit in Canada.

  6. Passengers

    U2 were working with Brian Eno on their Zooropa album in 1993 when the band decided to loosen up and write some music outside of their usual remit. The result was an album of “imaginary film soundtracks” that saw Italian tenor Luciano Pavarotti appear on the song Miss Sarajevo.

  7. Jaggy Snake

    There’s No Such Thing As A Jaggy Snake was a track from Biffy Clyro’s 2004 album Infinity Land, and became a pseudonym for the Scottish trio when they played secret shows. Because, of course, there’s no such thing as a band called Jaggy Snake.

  8. The Death Ramps

    Whenever Arctic Monkeys play with Miles Kane or Sheffield superstar Richard Hawley, the “Death Ramps” moniker comes into play. A limited edition single was released in 2007, with label Domino saying: “We’re not allowed to tell you the true identity of the Death Ramps but needless to say they're a band with A Certain Romance (wink, wink).” The name comes from the days when Alex Turner used to ride his BMX up and down steep hills that looked like mountains to a six-year-old.

  9. The Holy Shits!

    A rather brilliant band name used by Dave Grohl and friends whenever Foo Fighters have a secret, low-key show to play.

  10. S.P.O.T.S.

    In the summer of 1977, the Sex Pistols found themselves genuine public enemies, leading many councils to ban the burgeoning menace that was punk rock at live venues. To try and get around the controversy, the band booked a series of dates under the name S.P.O.T.S. - that’s “Sex Pistols On Tour Secretly”. They still managed to cause a ruckus several times despite changing their name for each show, including a billing as “A Mystery Band of International Repute”.