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The Boomtown Rats: In 1975 they began rehearsals as Mark Skid and The Y Fronts. (Cf The Skids.) Leader Bob Geldof thought the name juvenile and offensive. He explained that he wanted something which was "dark and brooding ... People have to respond to everything, including the name. It must be exciting."
He rejected Traction (too heavy metal); Darker Days (like a The Doors out-take) and Nightlife Thugs. This last was liked because it could be shortened to just 'The Thugs', in the same way The Rolling Stones were often called 'The Stones'.
Then Geldof read folk singer Woody Guthrie's autobiographical 1943 book Bound For Glory.
The character Colonel refers to a gang he disapproves of: "yore pack of mangy curs! Boom town rats!" The rats were youths who arrived in Oklahoma after oilfields were found.
The phrase came into the singer's mind in the interval of the first gig. They played the rest after the promoter announced - to everyone's amusement - the sudden name change to The Boomtown Rats.
The Rats then tried many individual names - Max Volume, Max Headroom, the Van Rentl Brothers Hertz and Avis, Cup O'Tea, Ray Di Ator among them. Only two names stuck. Johnnie Moylet became Johnny Fingers: it was obvious for a keyboardist. Bassist Pat Cusack became Pete Briquette. They thought his name was very Irish so made it more so: a pun on Irish fuel cakes made from peat.
The Boomtown Rats were fired by Woody Guthrie. His guitar inspired This Machine Kills.
Their records include a greatest-hits compilation cunningly/punningly/atrociously entitled Ratrospective.
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