What Does Twenty One Pilots Mean? The Band's Name Has A Literary Inspiration

Gustavo Caballero/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

When you tune into the Billboard Music Awards on Sunday, May 21, there is one band name you are going to be hearing a lot of — Twenty One Pilots. With a whopping 17 nominations, the rock duo is in the midst of a breakout year, thanks to their genre-defying album, Blurryface. So there's no better time to find out what Twenty One Pilots means. This is one band that actually put some serious thought into their name.

Band names are tricky things. They have to sound cool, but since the members are going to be asked about them constantly, they also need to be meaningful. Both of these things seemed to be on musician Tyler Joseph's mind when he chose the moniker Twenty One Pilots for his band. In a 2012 video interview with The University of Akron's Lowdown, Joseph revealed the title was inspired by a play he was studying. In the interview, Joseph revealed,

"I was studying a play, and in that play someone made a decision, and they sent out faulty airplane parts during the war, and 21 pilots died because they sent them out. Then that person who sent them out, that was the main character, he tried to justify why he sent those parts out, and he ultimately ended up committing suicide at the end of the play."

It sounds bleak, but ultimately Joseph chose the title so he and his bandmate, Josh Dun, would always be reminded that they had to make the right decisions, even when they weren't the easiest ones to make.

ztvlowdown on YouTube

The play Joseph drew inspiration from is Arthur Miller's All My Sons. It made its Broadway debut in 1987, and has made numerous return trips to both the New York and London stage since then. Fans of Twenty One Pilots are unlikely to be surprised the guys found inspiration from a Miller play. After all, their award-winning songs often start as poems.

Twenty One Pilots is a band bursting with creativity and whose philosophy seems to be grounded in living a purposeful life. That's why it makes so much sense that their unique name comes from a play all about the consequences of a person's actions. This is one band that wants to make sure their pop, alt-rock masterpieces are driven by meaning, and not just catchy hooks.