Lifelong punk-rockers getting ready to settle into parenthood need baby names that go well beyond the basic. Taking inspiration from some of punk rock’s greatest icons when naming your little rebel is a fun way to go, especially if you’re hoping baby will follow in your headbanging footsteps.
Ready to rock out?
Male punk names
Inspired by: Johnny Ramone, the Ramones
Meaning: A diminutive form of the Hebrew male name John, meaning ‘God is gracious’
Ranked by Time, Spin, and Rolling Stone as one of the greatest guitarists of all time, the man born as John William Cummings was a founding member of the Ramones, widely regarded as one of the first true punk bands. Though the band’s members adopted stage names which shared the surname ‘Ramone’, they were not actually brothers. An avid Yankees fan and collector of movie posters and baseball cards, Cummings died of prostate cancer in 2004.
Inspired by: Sid Vicious, the Sex Pistols
Meaning: A diminutive form of the French male name Sidney, meaning ‘wide meadow’ or ‘contraction of St. Denys’
The tumultuous life of Sex Pistols bassist Sid Vicious, born John Simon Ritchie, is perhaps most remembered in connection to the stabbing death of girlfriend Nancy Spungeon at New York’s Chelsea Hotel in 1978. While released on bail and after undergoing detox at Riker’s Island, Vicious died of a heroin overdose just short of four months later. Though he is one of the band’s most well-remembered performers, hospitalization for hepatitis prevented him from contributing to all but one song on Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols, which was the band’s only studio release.
Inspired by: Iggy Pop, the Stooges
Meaning: An English name meaning ‘fiery one’
The recipient of the title “Godfather of Punk”, James Newell Osterberg Jr. rose to the level of punk icon as the lyricist and vocalist of groundbreaking proto-punk band The Stooges. Though widely regarded for controversial and drug-fueled performances, Osterberg’s vocal and multi-instrumental talents combined with his refusal to limit himself to a single musical style have led many punk contemporaries to refer to the performer as a musical genius.
Inspired by: The Reverend Horton Heat
Meaning: An English name meaning ‘from the farm on muddy soil’
Texas-based American performer Jim Heath adopted the name ‘The Reverend Horton Heat’ as both a stage moniker and the name of his psychobilly trio. Listing punk, surf, swing, and big band among the trio’s influences, the uniquely raucous tunes produced by Heath and his bandmates have often found homes in cartoons and video games, a significant source of mainstream exposure.
Inspired by: Ian Curtis, Joy Division
Meaning: A Scottish variation of the name John, meaning ‘God is gracious’
During his short life, Joy Division singer and lyricist Ian Curtis’ work began to shift the definition of ‘punk music’, introducing an emotive and melancholy sound that contrasted against the louder, angrier offerings of the time. Suffering from epilepsy and depression, Curtis tragically lived to enjoy little of the band’s success, taking his life on the eve of the band’s first American tour at only 23.
Inspired by: Joe Strummer, the Clash
Meaning: A diminutive form of the Hebrew male name Joseph, meaning ‘God will increase’
Born John Graham Mellor, the lyricist, co-lead vocalist, co-founder, and rhythm guitarist of UK-based punk band the Clash found international success with the band’s 1979 album London Calling. Inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2003, Mellor also performed with the Pogues, Latino Rockabilly War, the Mescaleros, and engaged in solo work.
Inspired by: Henry Rollins, Black Flag
Meaning: A German name meaning ‘ruler of the home’
Former Black Flag frontman Henry Rollins, born Henry Lawrence Garfield, is well-known not only for his music but for his outspoken persona. Now the host of a weekly radio program on California’s KCRW and a columnist for Rolling Stone Australia, the musician, comedian, and activist spends much of his spare time campaigning for causes including hunger relief, LGBT rights, and anti-war organizations.
Inspired by: Greg Graffin, Bad Religion
Meaning: A diminutive form of the Greek male name Gregory, meaning ‘vigilant’ or ‘watchful’
As the co-founder, songwriter and lead vocalist of Bad Religion, Greg Graffin has remained the band’s only consistent member since its inception in 1979. The oft-noted intelligence and articulation in the band’s lyrics is unsurprising, as Graffin is a PhD-educated evolutionary biologist, author, and occasional professor in addition to a musician.
Inspired by: Dexter Holland, the Offspring
Meaning: An English name meaning ‘dyer of clothes’
Dexter Holland graduated at the top of his Garden Grove, CA high school class in 1984, forming the band that would become the Offspring that same year. As he continued to pursue musical success, with the band ultimately signing with Epitaph Records in 1991, Holland also continued his education; though he suspended studies at the height of the band’s success, he later returned to school, eventually receiving a PhD in molecular biology from USC in 2017.
Inspired by: Glenn Danzig, Misfits, Danzig
Meaning: An Scottish gender-neutral name meaning ‘from the wooded valley’
As the founder of The Misfits, a New Jersey-based group often acknowledged as the founders of the ‘horror punk’ musical genre, Glenn Danzig initially experienced little success and much frustration with the capabilities of his bandmates. Finding more mainstream success with the eponymous Danzig, he later branched out into solo work, including a classical music album which debuted at number 1 on the Billboard classical music chart.
Female punk names
Inspired by: Joan Jett, the Runaways, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts
Meaning: The feminine version of the Hebrew male name John, meaning ‘God is gracious’
Long considered one of the queens of punk rock and rock and roll, Joan Marie Larkin began playing the guitar at the age of 13. After becoming a founding member of the Runaways in 1977, the band rose to success as an opening act touring with other punk acts, including the Ramones and Cheap Trick. Her subsequent successful career as a solo artist and with Joan Jett and the Blackhearts persists today, and Larkin was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2015 with her Blackhearts bandmates.
12. Siouxsie (Suzie)
Inspired by: Siouxsie Sioux, Siouxsie and the Banshees
Meaning: The term ‘Sioux’ may be used to refer to a member of the Sioux Native American tribe; as an alternate spelling for Susie or Susan, a Hebrew name meaning ‘lily flower’
One of the most recognizable female punk artists of the 1970s and 80s, Siouxsie Sioux (pronounced Suzie) of Siouxsie and the Banshees was known for her gothic, highly decorated appearance and stage presence. After a successful international career including collaborations with Robert Smith and Tim Burton, among others, the artist born as Susan Janet Ballion continues to enjoy a solo career, last releasing music in 2015.
Inspired by: Patti Smith, Patti Smith Group
Meaning: A diminutive form of the English female name Patricia, meaning ‘noble’
Sometimes referred to as the “punk poet laureate”, New-York based solo artist Patricia Lee Smith enjoyed tremendous success as a solo artist, with the Patti Smith Group, and as a collaborative songwriter. A poet and lyricist as much as a singer and performer, one of Smith’s most memorable achievements is co-writing the song “Because The Night” with Bruce Springsteen, a Billboard hit both as an original and as covered by the group 10,000 Maniacs.
Inspired by: Debbie Harry, Blondie
Meaning: A diminutive form of the Hebrew female name Deborah, meaning ‘bee’
Born Angela Trimble, the beautiful blonde chanteuse known to fans as Debbie Harry pursued success through secretarial work, dancing, and even time spent as a Playboy Bunny before ultimately achieving musical success with Blondie in 1976. As a co-founder of the group, Trimble and bandmates were praised for their cross-genre musical style, which incorporated punk, new wave, hip hop, and disco.
Inspired by: famed New York punk landmark, the Chelsea Hotel
Meaning: An English name meaning ‘port for chalk or limestone’
While it is often called the Chelsea Hotel, or shortened to ‘the Chelsea’, the official name of one of the most famous landmarks in the history of New York celebrity is the Hotel Chelsea. There, 2001: A Space Odyssey was written by author Arthur C. Clarke, beat poets like Dylan Thomas, Alan Ginsberg, and Jack Kerouac roamed the hallways as residents, and Nancy Spungeon, girlfriend of Sex Pistols bassist Sid Vicious, was famously murdered.
Inspired by: Kim Gordon, Sonic Youth
Meaning: An English gender-neutral name meaning ‘from the meadow of the royal fortress’
After co-founding New York-based post-punk outfit with then-partner Thurston Moore in 1981, Kim Gordon enjoyed musical success as the band’s guitarist, bassist, and vocalist. Though the band dissolved in 2011 along with Gordon and Moore’s marriage, she continues to pursue work as a record producer, fashion designer, actress, and visual artist. She also published a memoir, Girl in a Band, in 2015.
Inspired by: Kathleen Hanna, Bikini Kill
Meaning: An Irish name meaning ‘pure’
Often considered an icon in the feminist punk subgenre known as the riot grrrl movement, Kathleen Hanna of Bikini Kill and Le Tigre has long been an activist for women’s rights and female involvement in the punk music scene. The wife of Beastie Boys frontman Ad-Rock (Adam Horovitz), Hanna’s life and career were detailed in a 2013 Sini Anderson documentary film called The Punk Singer.
Inspired by: Carrie Brownstein, Sleater-Kinney
Meaning: A diminutive form of the Latin female name Caroline, meaning ‘free and beautiful woman’
Though comedian, actress, and singer Carrie Brownstein might be most recognizable for the many roles she tackled on the IFC sketch series Portlandia alongside SNL wunderkind Fred Armisen, punk music fans will recognize her as one of the founding members of all-girl punk trio Sleater-Kinney. Though the guitarist and vocalist took a long hiatus from the band while working on the show, Sleater-Kinney had reunited and was touring again as of 2015.
Inspired by: Corin Tucker, Sleater-Kinney
Meaning: An English gender-neutral name meaning ‘spear’
A founding member of punk trio Sleater-Kinney, guitarist, vocalist, and songwriter Corin Tucker has also performed with the indie riot grrrl band Heavens to Betsey. After the split of the aforementioned band, Tucker formed Sleater-Kinney with then-girlfriend Carrie Brownstein and friend Lora McFarlane. During the band’s nine-year hiatus between 2006-2015, Tucker performed with side act Cadallaca and founded the Corin Tucker Band.
Inspired by: Nancy Spungen, girlfriend of Sid Vicious who was famously murdered at the Chelsea Hotel
Meaning: An English name meaning ‘Grace’
The short, tragic life of Nancy Spungen is punctuated by her relationship with Sex Pistols bassist Sid Vicious, whose money and influence enabled the girl’s fast, dangerous lifestyle and intravenous drug use until her untimely death. Ultimately an iconic representation of the transgressive behaviors associated with punk life, Spungen died of a single stab wound to the stomach at New York’s Hotel Chelsea in 1978, aged 20. Boyfriend Vicious was charged with murder, but overdosed on heroin just short of four months later while out on bail. It has been speculated that Spungen’s murder was the act of a visiting drug dealer rather than of Vicious, despite their known history of domestic violence.