Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Great Rock Star Names

What's inna name? A rose by NE other name would smell as sweet? (But what about The Flowers Of Romance?)
...Ah, not so fast. Rock&Roll is FULL of singers & musicians w/ way-larger-than-life personalities, whose Ntire personas can B conjured-up inna 2nd just by the use of their names -- this is what science-fiction writer Rudy Rucker 1nce called "an example of efficient encoding."
It Cms impossible (4 me at least) 2 separate the following names from the people & personalities they're attached 2:
Johnny Rotten
Sid Vicious
Ted Nugent
Buddy Holly
Keith Moon (w/ a name like that, did he have NE choice but 2 B a loon?)
Joe Strummer
Jah Wobble
Bob Dylan (Bob Zimmerman just wouldn't have the same zing)
Frank Zappa
Ringo Starr

...& Bsides, some rock star names just SOUND way cool:
Cheetah Chrome
Rat Scabies
Darby Crash
Mick Jagger
Joey, Johnny, Marky, Tommy, Dee Dee, ... Dino, Desi & Billy -- The Ramones!
Jello Biafra
Billy Zoom
Captain Sensible
Grace Slick
Joan Jett
Mitch Ryder

Speaking of conjuring, don't the following names just sum these people up? U get an immediate, clear, vivid picture:
Richard Hell
Johnny Thunders
Geezer Butler
Boz Burrell

Then there's the Working Class Division. Guys w/ names like this U wouldn't wanna mess w/:
Paul Cook
Steve Jones
Mick Jones
Keith Richards

...Waddy Wachtel sounds like he otta B "workin" in porn films.
So does Mike Love.
Ditto Joe Cocker.
Perhaps Bruce Cockburn...?
Kate Bush, 2 (sorry).
& The J. Geils Band's Magic Dick.
& The Dictators' Handsome Dick Manitoba.
...& how 'bout Dime Bag Darrell?

Some names just don't Cm right somehow 4 the sometimes-brutal world of Rock&Roll:
Van Dyke Parks could B the name of a vast multi-use recreational complex in the Hollywood Hills somewhere....
Tupper Saussy should be a high-strung neurotic French chef somewhere.
Terry Jacks should B hosting Sat morn kids' shows somewhere (& mayB is, 4 all I know).
Robert Fripp certainly sounds like the name of an acoustic-guitar instructor living somewhere in south-central England....
Tandyn Almer sounds like he should B playing concert piano somewhere....
Tom Rapp should B a poet (which he was), or possibly a rapper....

I almost 4got some of the Best Xamples EVER: Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band -- Zoot Horn Rollo, Winged Eel Fingerling, Ed Marimba, Drumbo & Art Tripp, all given new stage names by The Captain, who clearly knew something about The Power Of Names.
Frank Zappa's backing band always had some great names (& musicians) in it: I think Chad Wackerman is a great name 4 a drummer. & Scott Thunes is a pretty cool name 4 a bassist.

& then there's probly my fave Rock&Roll nom-de-plume of all time:
Pugwash Gotobed

The more U think of, the more there R. There R probly 100's more I've missed or 4got10. Feel free 2 toss in yr own suggestions below, especially if they're vivid or funny or jarringly inappropriate -- especially since this list Cms 2 basically cut-off around 1979....)

...2 B Continued...?


drewzepmeister said...

I personally like the Screamin' Cheetah Wheelies.

tad said...

That's a new 1 on me, Drew....

rastronomicals said...

Always liked how Gordon Sumner gave himself the single nominative Sting and made it stick.

I guess Paul Hewson and Björk Guðmundsdóttir managed something like it too.

I suppose Dave Evans qualifies too, since I had to look up the name Dave Evans, but everybody knows The Edge.

Savvy Twink, the singer from the English psych band Tomorrow?

Seems like first wave punk and hardcore groups were most likely to take stage names, The Clash and The Pistols, and their ilk, and then The Germs and their ilk.

Don't forget:

Poly Styrene from X Ray Spex
Pat Smear from the Germs and the Foo Fighters
Derf Scratch from Fear

Perhaps the best band of all for stage names was X, who had John Doe (who always said rock needs a John Doe), Billy
Zoom (who played a silverflake Gretsch that looked like his stage name sounded), singer Exene, and drummer DJ Bonebrake.

Oh, and don't forget Iggy Pop. Just (please) don't call him Iggy Stooge.

tad said...

Thanx, R. Iggy suddenly Popped in2 my head 2nite while I was workin....
DJ Bonebreak IS a great name 4 a drummer. & I knew about John Doe & Exene, but 4got about them. I don't think I've ever actually HEARD X....
Knew about Poly Styrene -- shoulda added her -- but Pat Smear's a great name....
& I hava correction & addition:
In Beefheart's Magic Band, Ed Marimba was really the stage name of Art Tripp -- w/ a name like that U gotta wonder why The Captain would wanna change it.... 1 of the other bandmembers was named Rockette Morton....
Thanx 4 playing.... -- TAD.

rastronomicals said...

If at all interested in X, I would recommend Under The Big Black Sun to anyone, even to those souls skeptical of punk.

I owe it a debt coz it was the first punk record I ever bought--I guess it's a gateway drug in that sense--but just as crucial to the band's sound is rockabilly.

No list of great albums from the '80's would be complete without UTBBS. Plus, it's got an awesome cover, reminds me of anisette and Spain in the 1930's.


Matt said...

The Band had some good names in my opinion: Levon Helm, Robbie Robertson, Rick Danko.

And hey, Geezer Butler may have the BEST name in Black Sabbath, but the rest of them are no slouches! Ozzy Osbourne, Tony Iommi, Ronnie James Dio.

Skunk Baxter of Steely Dan/Doobie Brothers/Star Wars missile defense (not a band!) fame.

John Cougar Mellencamp had some cool names but probably too many for one person (wikipedia lists four combinations he's used)

Mick Fleetwood, Thom Yorke, Gene and Dean Ween, Prince, BO DIDDLEY

Jethro Tull had some good luck with names... Barriemore Barlow, Jeffrey Hammond-Hammond, Mick Abrahams, Martin Barre, Clive Bunker.

Butthole Surfers: Gibby Haynes, Teresa Nervosa, King Coffey

Geez I think I've gone on long enough, but my last one is... Dave Davies.