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Offensive Band Names
Ian Kime
October 8, 2021

Offensive Band Names


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I think we got another one right, you guys.

This fun lesson focuses on politically incorrect band names in both the past and the present.
Don’t worry – we are not talking about inappropriate band names like Whitesnake or Limp Bizkit… Gross.
However, it must be said that there is mention of the holocaust and prostitution.
So, let’s say 18+ for this one.

The Warm Up

It’s not necessary… but I recommend it anyway. Let your students watch this live version of Joy Division’s “She’s Lost Control”
It will make sense later to them as the song is referenced in the podcast.

Put it on, go pour a coffee, and ask for their opinions afterwards.
They should be a pretty mixed bag…

With that out of the way, ask your students the following question:
What do you think Joy Division means or refers to?

After everyone shares their thoughts, let them know the mystery will soon be solved…

Page 1

Display the first page with the band names. Have your students answer the question at the top of the page. Do this as a group or put them in pairs. Share the responses with the class. Not sure what they refer to? Here’s a list of their references!

  • British Sea Power – British imperialism / colonialism
  • Franz Ferdinand – World War I
  • Lady Antebellum – the period of time before the American Civil War
  • Sex Pistols – inappropriate things you shouldn’t mention on the radio!
  • Warsaw – the city
  • Dead Kennedys – the members of the Kennedy family who were assassinated
  • The Black Madonna – an African version of the mother of Jesus Christ
  • Anita White – no reference, just a name!
  • The Decemberists – a failed Russian rebellion
  • Joy Division – refers to a fictional book in which the joy division is a group of women captured by Nazis forced into prostitution (18+)
  • Viet Cong – the Communist guerrilla movement in Vietnam
  • The Dixie Chicks – women living in the southern part of the united states (south of the original Mason-Dixie line which was the divider between the North and the South during the American Civil War
  • Preoccupations – I have no idea but I believe it refers to precolonial times on the North American continent

Now, listen to the extract from the podcast below. You will listen twice. The first time ask your students if the presenters are neutral, for, or against the subject of the podcast. Ask for examples or explanations.

Page 2

Now time for the vocabulary! The vocabulary we are focused on in this lesson has to do with tastes and references. Students will draw lines connecting the dots from vocabulary word to definition. Or, have students do each word one by one together while you draw the line yourself.

Back to Page 1

Listen a second time. Have your students circle the names of the bands they hear in the podcast. Have them make notes as to which bands changed their names and why. Get the explanations one by one. Discuss as a group. Were these changes a good idea? necessary? unnecessary?

Page 4

Yes, page 4…

On page 4 there is a set of phrases to which your students must agree or disagree. Go one by one as a group, put your students in pairs, or organize them in groups to complete this discussion portion. Listen and take notes for a delayed correction section at the end of class.

Page 3

Do you have more time? Wow, you’re fast!

Page 3 will be a fun activity for your students. On here there are some example historic situations along with 4 empty boxes for your own ideas. As I live and teach in Warsaw and we have many Polish subscribers, there are some Polish references! Feel free to add any that match your current location.

Give your students time individually, in pairs, or in groups to come up with band names referring to these events. Once they finish, have the students present their band names one by one while the other students try to guess which event they are referring to.

Ian Kime

Ian Kime

I have been teaching English abroad since receiving my CELTA certificate in Poland in 2018. I enjoy tracking my individual students’ development but love having lessons with big groups! Now that I teach online, I am accompanied by my sidekicks Olaf, Mała, Pirate and Bandit on a regular basis.


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