Every state has that band that they’re so proud of and they brag about constantly. They become the unspoken representative of their home state. Then there are the others. They’re the ones you wish you didn’t have to claim. Now, just note that some of these bands, musicians, and rappers are on here because of their music, others are because of personal issues, and some are just plain bad all around. If you’re unhappy with your state’s pick, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Just look at the other states and be happy you don’t have some of their nightmare representatives.
ALABAMA: BO BICE
It’s nice when anyone finds success from an unorthodox path, but American Idol has been responsible for some truly terrible careers. You might remember Bo Bice from American Idol and maybe a state fair. That’s about it.
Jewel captured our hearts with her incredible story and heartbreaking debut album…then she followed it up with an absolutely atrocious pop album that became the theme song for the Schick Intuition Razor’s commercial.
ARIZONA: MR. MISTER
They were great songwriters and worked with some of the biggest acts, but then they started making melodramatic pop songs that inevitably led to some of us being made in the back of our dad’s Camaros.
ARKANSAS: KRIS ALLEN
If you win American Idol, you clearly already have a huge fan base because millions of people voted for you. Kris Allen took that honor and did a couple of cover songs. That’s basically it until he showed up at the American Idol finale reunion show.
CALIFORNIA: MAROON 5
It takes a lot to be the most embarrassing band from California, considering the massive amount of groups that were born there, but Adam Levine and his never-ending collection of plain white t-shirts separates them from the pack. Imagine going to a Maroon 5 concert because you want to and not because you lost a bet or something.
COLORADO: THE FLOBOTS
The Flobots did that “Handlebars” song that was kind of rock, kind or rap, and kind of nothing and it got a lot of attention. Ok it got some attention. But after that it was just a bunch of subpar music we all collectively decided to ignore.
CONNECTICUT: SUGAR RAY
Mark McGrath went from the frontman of a hardcore band then they turned into a Top 40 pop band and then one of the most annoying TV hosts outside of Mario Lopez. Imagine if you were a fan of their original music, went into a coma, and woke up to see McGrath hosting Killer Karaoke.
DELAWARE: GEORGE THOROGOOD
If we never have to hear “Bad to the Bone” again, it’ll be way too soon. Has anyone ever listened it to for more than 16 seconds? No. No they have not.
If Limp Bizkit originated from literally any other state they’d be the obvious pick, but Creed is just next level embarrassing. They’re almost on the level of Nickelback where they get made fun of so much it’s almost tiresome to mock them.
GEORGIA: CONFEDERATE RAILROAD
They’re like the official band of getting in a drunken fistfight behind a Burger King. I mean, the most success they’ve ever seen is a song about liking really trashy women. That’s not an assumption. It’s called “Trashy Women.”
HAWAII: ISRAEL KAMAKAWIWO'OLE
You cannot escape his “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” cover if you’re in Hawaii. It’s like the monster on “It Follows” that’s constantly tracking you down. No one in the state ever wants to hear that song again, but tourists won’t let it go away.
IDAHO: PAUL REVERE & THE RAIDERS
Idaho doesn’t have a lot of bands, but they did have a group of guys that dressed like Revolutionary War generals and sang songs about Indian reservations. That’s probably not on the tourism highlight reel.
ILLINOIS: SOULJA BOY
I blame us as a society for letting Soulja Boy become a thing. He gave us one dance and we rewarded him with unlimited money for cranking out some of the worst tracks hip-hop has ever been subjected to.
INDIANA: THE JACKSON 5
Ok let me explain. Michael Jackson is one of the greatest musicians in history, but no musical group has personified a parent pushing their child into the entertainment industry and using them for their own benefit than the Jackson 5. It’s truly tragic.
Honestly I would also wear a mask if I were part of Slipknot. Their live shows are great combinations of music and every rejected character from Blumhouse horror movies for the last 20 years.
I don’t mind their music, but here’s what’s really annoying about them: They’re called Kansas. That means anytime you try and look them up, or you try to look up other bands from Kansas, it turns into this awful digital Abbott and Costello bit.
KENTUCKY: BILLY RAY CYRUS
No one has ever lived that mullet life harder than Billy Ray Cyrus. The best part is that he followed up that awful Achy Breaky Heart song with a track about soldiers dying during service. That’s definitely a seamless transition.
LOUISIANA: JIMMY SWAGGART
The disgraced televangelist also had a music career that would certainly be the biggest black eye of his life if it weren’t for all those other things.
MAINE: JOHN TRAVOLTA
Did they see his moves on Saturday Night Fever and think, “Hey, that guy would make a fantastic spokesman for us Scientologists!” It’s hard to remember that the cool guy from Grease is now a human that looks like really good CGI.
MARYLAND: GOOD CHARLOTTE
Good Charlotte is the reason your 12-year-old niece wanted to go to Warped Tour and the reason you wanted to avoid that particular stage during Warped Tour.
MASSACHUSETTS: MARKY MARK AND THE FUNKY BUNCH
Ah yes, the terrible 90s band that relied solely on Mark Wahlberg never wearing a shirt. Also what sort of terrible marketing guru suggested he call himself Marky Mark?
MICHIGAN: KID ROCK
It’s embarrassing enough that the “Bawitdaba” artist travels the world representing America, so I can’t imagine what it’s like for the poor people of Michigan to know he’s often their musical ambassador.
MINNESOTA: SOUL ASYLUM
Nothing quite like a downer of a rock song that flashes up pictures of missing children to really bring down the mood. It’s shocking they didn’t have more follow up hits after “Runaway Train” isn’t it?
He should probably add, “I was going to make some more songs that people might actually like” to his list of things that he blew off because he got high.
MISSOURI: PUDDLE OF MUDD
Frontman Wes Scantlin certainly isn’t doing the band any favors with his reputation of being high out of his mind during shows and even an arrest in the middle of a performance.
MONTANA: JOHN MAYER (SORT OF)
Montana has very little music coming out of it, but John Mayer did fall in love with it and bought a house there, so we’ll give them Mayer as an adopted son. It’s really impressive that Mayer could be so talented and yet so terrible in every other way.
Of all the rock/rap bands from the 90s, the one that holds up the least has to be 311. Shoutout to all those guys out there who have to wake up every morning and see that regrettable 311 tattoo they got when they were 17.
NEVADA: THE KILLERS
Even if you think you like The Killers, you don’t really like The Killers. No band has ever written more ridiculously terrible lyrics that no one seemed to notice. Thanks a lot, Nevada.
NEW HAMPSHIRE: SUPER SECRET PROJECT
New Hampshire doesn’t have a lot of music coming from it, so I went searching. Super Secret Project got the pick because no one knows who they are, but I’m pretty sure they went in to Wikipedia and added a sentence about a parody song they made. Nice move, guys.
NEW JERSEY: THE JONAS BROTHERS
Do you really think they avoided sex for all those years while being one of the biggest pop bands in the world? And if so, can you imagine what it was like when they finally gave in?
NEW MEXICO: THE SHINS
The official band for every girl that ever broke up with you and refused to give back any of your old hoodies.
NEW YORK: THE SPIN DOCTORS
Ah yes, the band that put themselves on the map by asking a girl to buy them flowers. They were one hit wonders that just wouldn’t go away even though they weren’t making any quality songs. ‘Two Princes’ infects your brain and haunts you like a poltergeist.
NORTH CAROLINA: DAUGHTRY
Your mom likes Daughtry and that’s pretty much it.
NORTH DAKOTA: WIZ KHALIFA
It’s not that Wiz is necessarily a bad rapper. It’s just that you really don’t want the most recognizable and well-known musician from your state to be arrested in an airport for refusing to get off his hoverboard.
OHIO: LIL BOW WOW
Oh my apologies. When he became of age he dropped the Lil and is now just Bow Wow. That’s much more respectable, so please forgive me for misspeaking. It’s Bow Wow.
Hinder seemed like an obvious choice because of their, well, music, but the dishonor has to go to the Christian band Raze. Ja’Marc Davis, one of their founding members, was arrested after a show for the sexual assault of a 13-year-old girl. Obviously that was the end of the band.
OREGON: CHERRY POPPIN’ DADDIES
Being a swing band is bad enough, but choosing a name that sounds like creepy fathers that make love to their children is baffling. Imagine trying to tell your friends you’re going to see the Cherry Poppin’ Daddies and maintaining a straight face the whole time.
PENNSYLVANIA: CHRIS KIRKPATRICK
Will Smith redeemed himself with a movie career to make us forget about the Willennium, but even that isn’t enough to dethrone the one member of N’Sync that found a way to do absolutely nothing after they disbanded. Everyone else capitalized and Chris Kirkpatrick bought more goggles.
RHODE ISLAND: DR. LUKE
He may not be a musician, but the producer that tried to single-handedly destroy Kesha’s career after an alleged history of sexually abusing her definitely makes the list of individuals states don’t want to claim.
SOUTH CAROLINA: HOOTIE AND THE BLOWFISH
For the record, I love Hootie and the Blowfish and it constantly bums me out that they’re not on Spotify. But I’m not blinded by my own preferences enough to ignore that they released a steady flow of terrible albums and also that they chose to call themselves Hootie and the Blowfish.
SOUTH DAKOTA: YOU DON’T HAVE ANY
A shockingly small number of bands and musicians have come out of South Dakota, so it’s nearly impossible to pick the best band, let alone the worst. They did give us Shawn Colvin, so thanks for that.
TENNESSEE: PLUS ONE
Boy bands singing about their love of other teen girls is exhausting enough, but a Christian boy band that sings about taking a girl to the big dance one minute then how much they love the lord the next minute is a treat for pretty much no one.
TEXAS: BUTTHOLE SURFERS
I hope every member of the Butthole Surfers has a tattoo on their body that says Butthole Surfers. That’s all I want in life.
UTAH: THE OSMONDS
The creepiness of Donny Osmond and his band of misfit siblings all originated in Utah. Something about that makes perfect sense and, at the same time, no sense whatsoever.
No one is sort of a fan of Phish. You either don’t listen to them at all, or you’re covered in Phish fan gear rambling on about the last time you saw them live and how you can’t wait to see them again. Every Phish fan needs to take a deep breath and settle down.
VIRGINIA: CHRIS BROWN
He may be the most despicable man in music, so it was a lock for whatever state he calls home. Unfortunately that dishonor belongs to Virginia. I feel sorry for them for having to know the land they live on was the first ground he stepped on.
So many great bands came from Washington, but somehow Macklemore has become the state flag. He’s at every event, every game, and I’m pretty sure you have to exchange your US Currency for Macklemore Bucks when you enter the state.
WASHINGTON, D.C.: VERTICAL HORIZON
Vertical Horizon is like a softer version of Hoobastank, which is certainly not a compliment by any means. They have multiple singles, but you wouldn’t know it by listening to them because they all sound exactly the same. My favorite is the one that says, “I’m everything you want and need, but for some reason I don’t mean anything to you.” Aww, poor guy. Sorry you think you’re the best for her and she doesn’t aww.
WEST VIRGINIA: BRAD PAISLEY
If you’ve ever heard the song “Crushin’ It” then this makes perfect sense to you. If not, go listen to that song if you want to completely ruin your day.
WISCONSON: BON IVER
I’m sure he’s a nice guy, but good lord is he a bummer. It’s like the soundtrack to every bout of depression you’ve ever experienced. Is a Bon Iver concert just a bunch of people lying on bathroom tile and sobbing uncontrollably?
WYOMING: YOU DON’T HAVE ANY
You might think it’s a good thing to not have any terrible bands, but the problem with Wyoming is that they don’t really have any bands. Go make some music! What else are you possibly doing instead?