However, even someone with a superficial awareness of Marilyn Manson may know how he got his name: by combining the first name of a pop icon (Marilyn Monroe) with the last name of a notorious counterculture personality (Charles Manson). Last month, a blog I enjoy — Yesterday’s Faces Today, a LiveJournal community blog that specializes in showing how well or how badly the stars of the 80s and 90s have aged — featured an up-to-date photo for Jeordie White, who, it turns out, performed in Manson’s band under the stage name “Twiggy Ramirez.” Like Manson’s name, it draws from a pop high and a criminal low: the model Twiggy and Richard Ramirez, the Night Stalker. Has a ring to it, I guess.
I ended up on Wikipedia looking into who else appeared in Manson’s band under a similarly patterned stage name, just to see whose was clever and whose wasn’t. My results:
- Ginger Fish: a drummer, who apparently has also performed with Paul Anka and Barry Manilow. His name combines Ginger Rogers with Albert Fish, a particularly vile serial killer. He’s not as well known as others, but what this name lacks in infamy in makes up for with the fact that “Ginger Fish” sounds like some sort of candy. Which, given the context, is just wrong. My grade: A– for making me feel uncomfortable.
- Madonna Wayne Gacy, a keyboardist. The sources of the name are too obvious, and something irks me about using the first name of a personality who lacks a last name. My grade: D. Please don’t murder or sing to me, Madonna Wayne Gacy.
- Daisy Berkowitz, a guitarist. I’m not sure exactly how I feel about this one. It seems somehow seems like cheating to pick the first name of a fictional character, Daisy Duke from The Dukes of Hazard, rather than a real-life icon. On the other hand, “Daisy” slides just as well into “Berkowitz” as “David” does. If “Daisy Berkowitz” didn’t sound like the name of some irritating, unfortunate girl with coke bottle glasses that sat at the back of my freshman English class, I’d call it even. My grade: C–.
- Gidget Gein: a bassist. I give points for alliteration even more for making a bunch of goth kids aware of who Gidget was. My grade: B+.
- Olivia Newtown Bundy, a bassist. Not bad, I guess, though I wonder if Olivia Newton John really deserves to be on the same list as the rest of referenced pop icons. Ted Bundy certainly belongs on the list of serial killers, though. My grade: B, possibly because “Olivia Newton Bundy” calls to mind more some obscure Married… With Children character than the contrast the band members seem to be going for.
- Zsa Zsa Speck, another keyboardist. I’m so-so on this one. Most people don’t know who Richard Speck is, I’d wager. And was Zsa Zsa Gabor ever such a big deal? Nonetheless, “Zsa Zsa Speck” kind of sounds like a character from a Tom Robbins novel, so I have to like that. My grade: C.
- The absolute winner of this pop-murder-mishmash contest has to be Sara Lee Lucas. Again, I’m troubled somewhat by the use of a fictional pop reference — cooking mascot Sara Lee — but the idea to blend it into Henry Lee Lucas just works too well, what with their shared middle name. My grade: A–, only because I don’t feel like the grade of grader who gives out A’s too easily.
Names, recently, here on this blog: