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As Jerry Seinfeld might say: What's the deal with all these crazy names for musician fan bases, like Lady Gaga's “Little Monsters” and Justin Bieber's “Beliebers”?
It's all wrapped up in the tradition of fan clubs, which have been around at least since 1960 musical Bye Bye Birdie coupled an Elvis-inspired heart throb with a swooning contest winner. But it probably wasn't until the 1970s that fans of a particular artist were given their own special names; it seems to go back a mailing list shouted out on the sleeve of the 1971 eponymous Grateful Dead live album referring to the faithful as “Dead Freaks.” A “Dead Heads” newsletter followed, and thus we now have something to call the uncles of young people who like Phish.
But the more recent, and more ludicrous, onslaught of fan base names took off in the late aughts, and if this Wikipedia entry on the Beliebers is any indication, they mean business: “Many beliebers [sic] strictly defend and support Bieber and may resort to extreme methods to protect him against anything they deem as a threat, such as issuing death threats to women connected to Bieber.”
And that's just the tip of the iceberg. Below are five even more preposterous fan base monikers.
5. Artist: Iggy Azalea
Fan base name: Azaleans
Iggy Azalea, statuesque Australian rapper, mused about what to christen her fans after she landed on the cover of XXL's Freshman issue. She decided on “Azaleans” in part because she wanted to de-emphasize her Australian-ness, or something. Now, her Twitter bio calls her an “Azalean Queen” and her fans promise to get new passports to reflect their new nationalities. None of it makes much sense, but “All hail Queen Iggy,” we suppose.
4. Artist: Nicki Minaj
Fan base name: Barbz
(Male version: Ken Barbz
One of Nicki Minaj's first alter-egos was “Harajuku Barbie,” which inspired nicknames “Barbz” for her female supporters and “Ken Barbz” for the dudes. The Barbz are an incredibly loyal bunch, attacking anyone who throws any, um, barbs at her. And she shouts them out, too, in songs like 2 Chainz's “I Love Dem Strippers.”
3. Artist: Katy Perry
Fan base name: Katycats
Despite being best known for shooting whipped cream out her boobs, Katy Perry is oddly relatable. That's why her fans' nickname is just too much. “Katycat”? It's precious and condescending and a little bit slutty all at the same time. We'd like to cancel our subscription, please.
2. Artist: Amber Rose
Fan base name: Rosebuds
(Male version: Rosestuds)
Amber Rose is a video vixen, former girlfriend of Kanye West, and wannabe music star. She somehow amassed a giant worldwide following. Her relationship with her followers is a bit odd; she calls them “Rosebuds” and “Rosestuds” and refers to herself as “Muva” (mother) and her fiancé Wiz Khalifa as “Fava” (father) to these blossoms.
1. Artist: White Stripes
Fan base name: Candy Cane Children
Jack and Meg White of the White Stripes had a song called “Candy Cane Children” and they also dressed in red and white. So it makes sense. But calling yourself a Candy Cane Child is a prescription for a life of therapy. The band broke up, so it's probably time for these perpetual adolescents to become the Sons and Daughters of Mumford, or something.