Says the band’s publicist, Ryan Cunningham, “For the past four years I’ve only used that. Their manager, Oskar Ekman, advised me from day one to never write the actual band name in an email. During an album campaign, I check my spam as regularly as my inbox.”
Adds Ekman, over email, with a distinct air of resignation, “People make weird assumptions when you have a dumb name like Viagra Boys. I’ve had to turn down hundreds of shows with different crotch rock bands over the years. I think the intellectual side of VB often gets overlooked or misunderstood.”
Maybe there’s something depressing here, the self-imposed, nonsensical constriction. But there’s something admirable about it, too. The workaday nature of it all. The hard graft. It sounds funny on the surface, but this is these people’s jobs. They promote a great band that they love, and the name of that band is Viagra Boys.
For the band itself, the secret to success with a name like that seems to be not caring too much. They all still work intermittent day jobs. (Said jobs include tattooing, carpentry, janitoring, and cooking.) As far as their internet presence, they’re happily ignorant. Murphy says he checks the act’s Instagram but never Googles the band. (WIRED did and received no ads for pills, just links to Viagra Boys’ music and social media profiles. Their SEO is strong.) All in all, he admits, “I haven’t really thought about it that much.” The conversation we’re having, though, does remind him of their set at Coachella earlier this year. Playing that festival can be a career-defining moment for a lot of bands—and, in a roundabout way, it was for Viagra Boys, too. “It felt like there were 20 people there that knew who we were,” Murphy says.
So naturally, “the other 1,500 teenagers” must have been there because of the name. Online, being called Viagra Boys might not make a lick of sense. But in person, there it was: human connection. Which makes Murphy quite happy. “If I was younger and I walked by some poster and it said ‘Viagra Boys’—I would definitely check that out.”
As for what other names were kicked around on that long-ago day at Blecktornskällaren—what other paths these eternal Viagra Boys may well have traveled—Murphy laughs. “I can’t tell you,” he says, “I’m sorry. Not a chance.”
On one item, though, we do have some closure. The Viagra-reliant buddy? The one who came up with the name? “He’s not using it anymore. It was just a short-term thing. Due to his use of amphetamines.”