The real names of your favourite rock stars

20 October 2019, 09:00 | Updated: 20 October 2019, 09:01

Flea of Red Hot Chili Peppers performs on stage at the Aragon Ballroom in Chicago, Illinois, December 6, 1991
Flea of Red Hot Chili Peppers performs on stage at the Aragon Ballroom in Chicago, Illinois, December 6, 1991. Picture: Paul Natkin/Getty Images

Will you please welcome to the stage... Michael Balzary! Doesn't have the same ring does it? Let's take a look at some of the pseudonyms.

  1. Marilyn Manson’s real name is Brian Warner

    Middle America will not quake in horror at an Antichrist Superstar called Brian. No, he needs to be called Marilyn.

    Marilyn Manson in 1996
    Marilyn Manson in 1996. Picture: Mick Hutson/Redferns/Getty Images
  2. The Edge’s real name is Dave Evans

    You're one of the most acclaimed guitarists of the past 30 years. You can't call yourself Dave Evans, why not transform yourself into The Edge?

    U2 in October 1980: Bono, The Edge, Adam Clayton, Larry Mullen Jnr
    U2 in October 1980: Bono, The Edge, Adam Clayton, Larry Mullen Jnr. Picture: Virginia Turbett/Redfern/Getty Images
  3. Slash’s real name is Saul Hudson

    Saul's a pretty cool name, but you need something more rock and roll, why not Slash?

    Axl Rose and Slash of the rock band Guns n' Roses performst at Radio City on October 31, 1985
    Axl Rose and Slash of the rock band Guns n' Roses performst at Radio City on October 31, 1985. Picture: Marc S Canter/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
  4. Bez’s real name is Mark Berry

    "Mark Berry" doesn't really sum up the mystery that is Bez.

    Bez of the Happy Mondays live at the Free Trade Hall, Manchester, November 1989
    Bez of the Happy Mondays live at the Free Trade Hall, Manchester, November 1989. Picture: PYMCA/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
  5. Axl Rose’s real name is William Rose

    William may not cut it for a rock and roll hell-raising singer. Let Bill become Axl.

    Axl Rose on stage with Guns N'Roses
    Axl Rose on stage with Guns N'Roses. Picture: Kevin Mazur/WireImage/Getty Images
  6. Freddie Mercury’s real name is Farrokh Bulsara

    A famous one - this young singer from Zanzibar took on the name of the fleet-footed messenger of the gods.

    Freddie Mercury of Queen poses in London, England in 1973
    Freddie Mercury of Queen poses in London, England in 1973. Picture: Michael Putland/Getty Images
  7. Gene Simmons’ real name is Chaim Witz

    First: change your name to something more "rock". Next: cover your face in make-up and lo, you are Gene Simmons!

    Gene Simmons of the rock band KISS
    Gene Simmons of the rock band KISS. Picture: Hulton Archive/Getty Images
  8. Nikki Sixx’s real name is Frank Feranna Jr

    Frank isn’t a very glam rock name. If you’re playing bass in Mötley Crüe, you need something more “it”.

    Bassist Nikki Sixx, lead singer Vince Neil, lead guitarist Mick Mars and drummer Tommy Lee of the American hard rock band Motley Crue, 1984
    Bassist Nikki Sixx, lead singer Vince Neil, lead guitarist Mick Mars and drummer Tommy Lee of the American hard rock band Motley Crue, 1984. Picture: Ross Marino/Getty Images
  9. Mani’s real name is Gary Mounfield

    This Mancunian musician adapted a nickname as his stage persona.

    The Stone Roses in July 1989: Ian Brown, John Squire, Mani and Reni
    The Stone Roses in July 1989: Ian Brown, John Squire, Mani and Reni. Picture: Joe Dilworth/Photoshot/Getty Images
  10. Joe Strummer’s real name is John Mellor

    The leader of this legendary punk band needed a more heroic moniker, so he switched.

    Joe Strummer  The Clash, backstage at a concert at the Royal College of Art, London, 5 November 1976
    Joe Strummer The Clash, backstage at a concert at the Royal College of Art, London, 5 November 1976. Picture: Julian Yewdall/Getty Images
  11. Flea’s real name is Michael Balzary

    Balzary wasn’t funky enough for the Red Hot Chili Peppers, so it was a time for a change.

    Flea of Red Hot Chili Peppers in August 1992, New York City
    Flea of Red Hot Chili Peppers in August 1992, New York City. Picture: Catherine McGann/Getty Images
  12. Bono’s real name is Paul Hewson

    This singer took his stage persona from the name of a hearing aid shop to become Bono Vox.

    Bono onstage with U2 in Dublin in May 1986
    Bono onstage with U2 in Dublin in May 1986. Picture: Ilpo Musto/Shutterstock
  13. Iggy Pop’s real name is James Osterberg Jr

    This legendary frontman took the name of his first band The Iguanas to reinvent himself.

    Iggy Pop onstage at the Rainbow in 1977
    Iggy Pop onstage at the Rainbow in 1977. Picture: Ian Dickson/Shutterstock
  14. David Bowie’s real name is David Jones

    Mr Jones of Bromley, Kent became a wild-eyed alien, better known as Bowie.

    David Bowie in 1977
    David Bowie in 1977. Picture: ITV/Shutterstock
  15. Alice Cooper’s real name is Vince Furnier

    The name Alice Cooper was originally applied to the band, but was later taken on by the frontman.

    Alice Cooper onstage in 1973
    Alice Cooper onstage in 1973. Picture: Globe Photos/Shutterstock