The Wolf was a barrel-chested six-footer who prowled the stages of '50s Chicago – in the words of biographer Mark Hoffman – like a “feral beast”.
Admittedly, though, that image was compromised somewhat by the revelation that Chester Arthur Burnett got his nom de plume after being terrified by bedtime stories about a wolf that gobbled up naughty children. Aw, diddums.
Raymond Ian Burns was an ordinary boy-next- door – until he adopted milk bottle sunglasses, a crimson beret and a comedy pseudo-hero alias.
“I have to admit that Captain Sensible is a fairly daft name,” reflects the Damned guitarist. “But it has opened certain doors for me over the years.”
Brian Elwin Haner Jr ditched his clunky birthname when inspiration struck during a drunken joyride.
The AX7 guitarist supposedly leaned out of a car window and screamed: “My name is Synyster Gates – and I am awesome!” Maybe so, but we bet his mum still calls him Brian.
When you’re pushing the sonic envelope, you can’t be rocking the kind of name you’d find on the badge of an MFI branch manager.
Plain old Dave Evans was shelved for the U2 man’s futuristic moniker.
When early Offspring producer Thom Wilson pointed out how much time Kevin Wasserman spent pointlessly dicking about on his fretboard, the nickname stuck.
“It just came from noodling on the guitar,” recalls the badger-haired guitarist, “and I kept the name ever since...”
Previously, Bob Deal had touted his services in the LA classifieds as Zorky Charlemagne (“extraterrestrial guitarist available for any other aliens that want to conquer the earth...”).
Hooking up with Mötley Crüe in 1981, he reinvented himself as Mick Mars (although Tommy Lee bestowed a less flattering nickname on him – Cousin Itt).
The punk icon was born John Graham Mellor, switched to Woody in homage to Woody Guthrie, then settled on his enduring pseudonym for The Clash.
As a watertight rhythm man – but a donkey at lead – it was both ice-cool and pretty apt.
At least Steven Wold got something out of a stomach-churning Scandinavian ferry crossing.
“Man, I was sick,” Steve recalls. “I threw up from 12 to seven in the morning. I got off, and they were like, ‘It’s Seasick Steve’. It’s stuck on me like stink!”
Head and Munky
Korn’s James Shaffer’s ability to splay his toes saw him christened Munky, while fellow axeman Brian Welch’s outsized cranium earned his own bonce- based sobriquet.
“Guys said my head looked like it was too big for my body,” the guitarist explained, “and so they started calling me Head.”
Before the release of his autobiography, speculation over the origins of Saul Hudson’s stage name was rife.
Did ‘Slash’ refer to a taste for horror films, a fetish for punctuation marks – or a weak bladder? As it turns out, it was coined by the dad of a childhood friend: “He says it was because I was always in a hurry, hustling whatever it was I was hustling. He just started calling me Slash...”