Remember when plumbers and other manual laborers would name their companies AAA-something because when you let our fingers do the walking through the Yellow Pages, you’d start at A? (This was pre-internet for you Millennials scoring at home.) Well, that never worked with music (just ask ZZ Top). That’s probably just a small reason why you’ve never heard of the band A, the alt-rock group from the U.K. with two brothers and a guitarist with the same name as John Lennon’s murderer. Their lamest claim to fame may be that they named a live album Exit Stage Right, an unfunny play on Rush’s much superior live album Exit… Stage Left.
D is an all-girl goth-metal troupe from Japan, all of which is strange enough on its own. Stranger is some of their songs have simple, English song titles like “Alice” and “Snow White” (we think “Malice” and “Snow Black” would be more goth, but we digress), and some that only those fluent in Japanese would understand. They’ve been kickin’ around since 2003, so catch them at a Budokan near you!
The guy in the Eels goes by E, but he’s no band. This E, however, is and was formed in the former Czechoslovakia in 1984 and features three guys with strange symbols over their names. Strangest is singer Vladimír Kokolia who sounds like Cookie Monster fluent in some Slavic tongue. Alas, you’ll never get to hear them anywhere but YouTube as they disbanded in 1997.
This Norwegian thrash-metal outfit formed in 2006, but has but one album to its credit and has only played only one show. (Is it possible they’re 1 and not I?) Perhaps the coolest part of I is their otherworldly aliases, such as frontman Abbath Doom Occulta and drummer Armagedda. And if Motorhead did ever choose to reform Mr. Occulta does a helluva Lemmy.
Only one band on this list had a bona fide hit, and that was M with the 1979 novelty song “Pop Muzik.” “Talk about, pop muzik. Talk about.” You know (some of) the words. M was actually just a solitary guy (Robin Scott), with a solitary hit, and you already know about the solitary letter.
Long before Johnny Depp was making serious bank as a serial swashbuckler, he was in a one-and-done-album band named P, that also featured Butthole Surfer Gibby Haynes. Their 1995 self-titled album featured covers of Abba and Daniel Johnston, plus a bunch of originals. Their lone single “Michael Stipe” not only name-checked the R.E.M. singer, but also the late River Phoenix, who died outside the Viper Room club Depp co-owned.
We mostly know Q as the guy who always hooked James Bond up with cutting-edge ways to kill villains and as the shittiest letter in the alphabet. But did you know that Q was also the name of some no-nothing techno duo that formed in 1982, but somehow couldn’t get MTV airplay when every other mediocre group in planet was? Jon St. James and Stacey Swain later changed their name to Stacey Q, which seemed to do the trick, scoring big with the MTV smash “Two of Hearts.”
V—for the purposes of this completely unmemorable boy band—was the Roman numeral for 5. Why? Because V was comprised of five guys who you’ve never heard of. To be fair, in their native U.K. they did score three hits, but only lasted two years (2004-2005). Three hits, two years…. that’s V!
We’ve heard of bands breaking up because of in-fighting, drug abuse, money issues, musical differences and public indifference, but smoking? This cutesy Japanese girl-pop duo was torn in two when Ali Kago was caught with cancer sticks not once, but twice, while she was still underage. In North Korea we imagine that’s a capital offense.
Easily the most respected mono-letter band on this list, the L.A. punk troupe X has been on, off and on again since 1977, although they haven’t released new music since 1993 (That’s putting the “X” in lax). Co-founder John Doe (born John Nommensen Duchac) has been X’s most prolific member, having released more albums as a solo performer than X ever did; that, plus he’s starred in a shit ton of films and TV Shows, including Boogie Nights, The Good Girl and 18 episodes of Roswell.