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Stage Name Origins

Cat Power, Bono, Gotye
Jason Kempin / Gary Gershoff / Michael Buckner, Getty Images

Earnest indie and alternative rockers aren’t usually known for using stage names — it’s normally pop stars, classic rockers and metal madmen more frequently associated with such fabrications — but that doesn’t mean they don’t exist in the alt rock nation. And behind every stage name is, of course, a story about how it came to be.

Some stage names are childhood nicknames that just stuck, others are alter egos created by an artist as he/she struck out to make it in the music industry. But regardless of their origins, the one thing most stage names have in common is that they help shape the public’s perception of the person behind the name. Would ‘Somebody That I Used to Know’ be as alluring of a tune if it was sung by “Wally” De Backer instead of the more mysterious moniker Gotye? Probably not.

There are probably more stage names used in indie and alternative rock than you realize, but the following selections stand out for the interesting stories behind the names. If you’ve ever wondered why Sting is named Sting, what Gene and Dean Ween’s real names are our how “Wally” became Gotye, click the blue button below.

See Stage Name Origins

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