Crazy True Stories behind Some of Most Famous Stage Names in Music

Alice Cooper. Photo by Brandon Nagy/Shutterstock (10343128u)

Coming up with a stage name is one of the most important steps in the process of being a world-famous musician. Whether you are starting a band or launching a solo career, adopting a stage name can be a make-or-break moment for aspiring musicians. 

As history shows it, the best way to get a name is to look for inspiration in pop culture or in your surroundings. But, sometimes, it doesn’t hurt to think outside the box as well. The music world is full of music acts who came up with their stage names in really unusual ways and stories about how they got there can be really crazy and amusing.

This is why we decided to do some digging and present you with crazy true stories behind some of the most famous stage names in music. So let’s check them out.

The Commodores

When in need of words, just turn to the dictionary. This is what the members of The Commodores did when they wanted to name their band. They just took a dictionary and pointed to a random word. According to founder William King, they were lucky as they almost became The Commodes.


Skrillex is now one of the most recognizable names in EDM, but how did American DJ and producer Sonny John Moore come up with it? Well, he just decided to use his AOL Instant Messenger username. If you ask us, it turned out better than expected.


English reggae/pop band UB40 was formed in 1978 by a group of friends who just finished high school. As they were all jobless at the moment, they were receiving unemployment benefits from the Department of Employment. This is how they ended up getting the inspiration for the name as UB40 is short for Unemployment Benefit, Form 40.

Post Malone

Austin Richard Post couldn’t think of a proper name at the start of his rap career, so he decided to turn to the internet. He used a random rap name generator and ended up with now-famous Post Malone moniker.

Foo Fighters

Dave Grohl decided to go back to history and use World War II terminology when he was starting his band. Foo Fighters was a name that WWII servicemen gave to unidentified flying objects.

Daft Punk

Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo originally had a group named Darlin’, and have contributed two songs to one British compilation under that name in 1993. After one music critic described their music as “a bunch of daft punk,” they knew that they discovered a stage name for success.

Lynyrd Skynyrd

Boys from Lynyrd Skynyrd decided to name their band in honor of their P.E. teacher Leonard Skinner. Naturally, you would think that this is because they loved Skinner. Well, it’s quite the opposite, as Skinner didn’t like boys with long hair and often picked on them.


Richard Melville Hall didn’t have to look further than his family tree to find a proper stage name. Hall’s great-great-great-uncle is Moby-Dick author Herman Melville, so he though naming himself Moby would be fitting.  We can’t say he was wrong.

Alice Cooper

Although Alice Cooper is now almost solely recognized as the stage name of American singer/songwriter Vincent Damon Furnier, the name was originally given to Furnier’s band. According to the legend, Alice Cooper was a result of Furnier engaging in a late-night session with an Ouija board.