Seven Best Fake Names in Punk Rock

The Ramones' 1976 debut album laid down the mu...

The Ramones’ 1976 debut album. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What is it about punk rock that continues to attract legions of young, middle class, American WASP fans? That’s a blog theme for another day. Today, I’m only interested in the best fake names in one of my favorite musical genres.

For reasons totally unbeknownst to me, punk rock has a plethora of colorful (usually black and blue) characters who decided that their given names weren’t hardcore enough for their edgy onstage personas. Here are the seven best fake names in all of punk rock.

1) Johnny Rotten

Johnny Rotten
Image via HiLobrow.

Johnny Rotten brought Anarchy back to the UK. He is mostly recognized as lead singer of The Sex Pistols, arguably the best punk group ever.

2) Rat Scabies

Rat Scabies
Image via Last.fm.

Maybe a name like Christopher Millar wasn’t dark enough to be a member of early British punk pioneers The Damned. I don’t really know if Rat Scabies was an attempt at humor or some disgusting ailment suffered by the former Millar.

3) Pat Smear

Pat Smear
Image via Billboard.

Before he was fighting Foo or touring with Nirvana, Smear was a member of highly influential Germs. Say what you will about Smear, but he had a great sense of humor. I can’t think of his name without thinking of Leslie Nielsen’s classic Naked Gun movies. “I must kill Pat Smear … ”

4) Sid Vicious

Sid Vicious
Image via Coolspotters.

Sid was bandmates with the aforementioned Johnny Rotten in the Sex Pistols. The story of Sid’s life and mutually destructive relationship with Nancy Spungen is a cautionary rock and roll fable. Drugs and humans—especially psychotic humans—don’t mix.

5) Lee Ving

Lee Ving as Mr. Body
Image via Avelyman.

Not only was Ving the front man of the hardcore punk band Fear, but he was also the first guy to get whacked in my favorite movie based on a board game; 1985’s Clue.

6) Jello Biafra

Jello Biafra
Image via ipass.net.

I remember drawing Dead Kennedys logos on my Pee Chee folders long before I knew anything about the band or their outrageous lead singer. This guy’s name is just plain whacky. I’m not sure what he was sniffing when he came up with it, but any guy who can pens lyrics about Star-Bellied Sneetches and rails against the atrocities committed by the Khmer Rouge is alright in my book.

7) Every Single Member of The Ramones

The Ramones
Image via Max’s Kansas City.

Consisting of Dee Dee, Joey, Johnny and a revolving cast of other guys (Tommy, Marky, Richie, Elvis, and CJ) whose last name was not really Ramone, the Ramones are often credited as the first punk rock group.

They proved that you don’t need to master more than three chords, write songs lasting longer than two minutes, or use your real name to be punk.

In the words of Cheech Marin:

“[it’s] just punk rock. You don’t have to know how to play. All you just got to do is be a punk.”

Are there any other great punk rock pseudonyms out there? Sound off in the comments below.

16 thoughts on “Seven Best Fake Names in Punk Rock

    1. AustinDM

      If you’re talking about Screeching Weasel, either homage or parody. I’m speaking of course of “bam bam bam bam bam bam bam bam bam, I wanna be naked.”

    2. Ammon Post author

      I never got into Screeching Weasel am I missing something? Where would be the best starting point?

  1. AustinDM

    Kudos on listing Jello Biafra, but you could name any of the Dead Kennedys, Klaus Fluoride, D.H. Peligro, East Bay Ray, 6025, …Ted.

    My favorite punk names not mentioned are the members of NOFX: Fat Mike, El Hefe, etc.

    1. Ammon Post author

      Fat Mike is a neo-punk legend in his own right, but his given name is actually Michael–disqualifying him for inclusion on this list. Now if his name was really Bill, or Jeff, or Cumberbun etc. and he went by Fat Mike I’d consider him, but not as such.

    2. Ammon Post author

      Sorry, El Hefe didn’t make my list. I also had to cut Captain Sensible–another great fake name courtesy of the Damned.

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