How did Vincent Damon Furnier become Alice Cooper? Partially because the other idea — “Husky Baby Sandwich” — didn’t thrill anyone at the band meeting.
Back in 1968, the Alice Cooper Band were known as the Nazz, but Todd Rundgren was already using that name, so the singer suggested a name reminiscent of famous alleged axe murderer Lizzie Borden.
As Cooper explains in his ‘Golf Monster‘ book, the new name “conjured up an image of a little girl with a lollipop in one hand, and a butcher knife in another.”
Modelling his look on Bette Davis’ dark-eyed appearance in the film ‘Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?‘ and the Great Tyrant character from ‘Barbarella,’ Cooper went on to great fame with his new identity.
As the bassist originally known as Frank Carlton Serafino Ferranno told AskMen, the change was symbolic of “a long road battling a guy who walked away from me, named Frank Serafino, who was my father, and me saying “F— you, I am gonna reinvent myself, you weren’t there for me, and I am gonna become a man, called Nikki, (and) create my own family.”
Seeing as how they hid their faces from the public behind their trademark greasepaint, it makes a lot of sense that all four original members of Kiss also used stage names to hide their identities.
Stanley Harvey Eisen moved his last name back a notch to become Paul Stanley, and Chaim Weitz introduced himself to the world as Gene Simmons. Paul Daniel Frehley made a slighter change, adopting his high school nickname “Ace,” while George Peter John Criscuola trimmed a bunch of syllables to become Peter Criss. Future members such as Vinnie Vincent (Vincent John Cusano) and Eric Carr (Paul Charles Caravello) also changed their name before joining the Kiss family.
Steven Tyler may not have taken his family’s last name — Tallarico — with him onstage as he became one of rock’s biggest stars, but he certainly did carry on his father’s musical legacy.
The Aerosmith frontman (and oddly enough, current ‘American Idol’ judge) is the son of Victor Tallarico, a classically trained piano player who made his living as a musician, performing at weddings and parties. The elder Tallarico, who passed away last year at the age of 95, reportedly entertained guests with his music well into his old age. His favorite Aerosmith song, according to a 2010 interview? ‘Dream On.’
His three Led Zeppelin bandmates — Robert Plant, Jimmy Page and John Bonham — all took the stage under their given names, but bassist John Paul Jones was actually born John Baldwin.
While working as a studio session musician prior to joining Zeppelin, a friend suggested Baldwin adopted the new moniker, reportedly inspired by the 1959 movie of the same name about the revolutionary war hero, often credited as the father of our country’s navy.
The new handle certainly brought luck to Jones and his bandmates, who defiantly adopted their own name after a friend suggested their music would go over in public about as well as a lead balloon. Good call, huh?