Marilyn Manson may very well have the most infamous stage name on the planet. As a pioneer of shocking imagery and lyrical content in mainstream music, Manson has been met with much vilification and protest due to the misunderstanding of his creative direction.
Born Brian Hugh Warner, the vocalist came up with the moniker of Marilyn Manson by combining the names of iconic actress Marilyn Monroe and psychotic cult leader Charles Manson.
He chose those two names specifically because he viewed Marilyn Monroe and Charles Manson as the two most iconic figures of the 1960s. Marilyn Manson’s bandmates would also adopt the actress / killer names, such as Ginger Fish (Ginger Rogers / Albert Fish) and Madonna Wayne Gacy (Madonna / John Wayne Gacy).
Avenged Sevenfold all acquired their own from nicknames they possessed from high school. Frontman M. Shadows (born Matthew Charles Sanders), chose the alias because he thought of himself as “the darker character in the group” and did not like the way the name Matthew sounded. Guitarist Zacky Vengeance (b. Zachary James Baker) wanted to get back at those who doubted his potential growing up. He also gifted bassist Johnny Christ (b. Jonathan Lewis Seward) with his nickname, saying that it suited him well.
Guitarist Synyster Gates (b. Brian Elwin Haner Jr.) came up with his name during a drunken drive through a park, where he reportedly screamed, “My name is Synyster Gates and I am awesome!” Gates screamed out the name in the presence of late drummer The Rev (b. James Owen Sullivan), who also made up his own nickname, ‘The Reverend Tholomew Plague.’
How about we find out the origin of Slash‘s nickname from the artist formerly known as Saul Hudson himself?
“My best friend’s dad is an actor named Seymour Cassel,” explained Slash to Metal Hammer. “We used to ditch school and hang out at his house and he used to call me Slash and it was just habitual with him.”
Slash continued, “I was on tour in Europe and I happened to run into him and we went to dinner. He told me that he called me Slash, cause I had to ask him, and he says it was always because I was in a hurry, hustling whatever it was I was hustling at the time and never had time to sit and chat. I was always sort of in passing and he just started calling me Slash.”
The dudes from Korn have some pretty random nicknames. Bassist Reginald Quincy Arvizu was given the name “Fieldy” after a massive real-life game of Chinese whispers.
Fieldy was originally given the name “Gopher” by his bandmates due to his large cheeks. Gopher turned into “Gar,” Gar evolved into “Garfield,” after the famous cartoon cat, and suddenly the entire progression was dropped as the band added a “y” to the end of “Field.” The full version of the bassist’s name is in fact, “Fieldy Snuts.” Zing!
Additionally, James Christian Shaffer was given the name “Munky” due to his ability to spread his toes to resemble a monkey’s hand, and former Korn guitarist Brian Phillip Welch was dubbed “Head” for his massive cranium. “Guys said my head looked like it was too big for my body,” reveals Welch. “And so they started calling me “Head.” I guess it stuck.”