The goth scene and the rap scene actually have a lot in common. We both like skulls on our clothes and jewelry, we both like songs about substance abuse, sex, and death, and we both like to pick absolutely ridiculous nicknames.
Don't worry, if you don't pick one yourself someone will do it for you, as you can tell by my byline. I can't speak for why rappers do it, but goths... actually, I can't explain why goths do it either.
So what's behind all the little monikers that goths choose for themselves? To answer that I summoned the Gothic Council. With us this week is DJ Regen Robinson, author of the Encyclopedia Gothica Liisa Ladouceur, model Scarlett St. Vitus, stylist Carol Simmons, and Toby Rider of the darkwave band Ending the Vicious Cycle.
Regen Robinson: Not sure about the rapper's excuse for this but I think it comes from having such a close knit scene where everyone knows each other at least on some level. Everyone gets a scene name just so people know who you are talking about without having to go into great detail.
I never really got one, but according to this goth name generator my goth name is Kittie Corpse Regen. Fun.
Gothic Council: I keep meaning to ask... is Regen a goth name or just an unconventional spelling of Reagan?
Regen Robinson: No "Regen" is the correct "normal" spelling. The goth version would be Reagan... which was the exorcist.
Liisa Ladouceur: I've known people who've taken to calling themselves Creepy, Panther, Hellbat, Morpheus and the like. So be it. I wasn't born with two Is in my name, so as you wish. Perhaps goth scene names are passed down from example of Andrew "Eldritch?" (Author's note: Born Andrew William Harvey Taylor). And most definitely popularized by the net.goths.
Regardless of origins, I see pseudonyms as another tool in defining one's self, not unlike tattoos and dress. But once it sticks, it doesn't really belong to you anymore, and it's hard to shake it. Ask Puff Daddy. If Andrew really wants to distance himself from the whole Goth thing, he should get a new stage name. Maybe even a rapper one.
I've never used a pen name other than my own, goth or not. Didn't feel the need. That Goth Generator is suggesting Death Dealer. Must say, I'd prefer Lisa Simpson's: Ravencrow Neversmiles.
Scarlett St. Vitus: Scarlett St. Vitus is my modeling name, but I also use it at the club when I don't want to tell someone my real name.
It works out well, because anyone who approaches me and calls me Scarlett is probably someone I met in the past that I didn't really want to talk to in the first place. If someone yells out "Scarlett," I just pretend I didn't hear them.
I chose the name to keep my modeling endeavors and real job endeavors separate. I didn't like the fact that potential employers could Google my real name and find pictures of me all gothed out. I didn't want to ruin my chances of getting hired. Also, my mom wouldn't stop Googling me.
The meaning of the name is kind of multifaceted. Scarlett obviously means red. It also has an association with scarlet fever, which can sometimes lead to the disease St. Vitus Dance, which causes uncontrollable jerking and muscle spasms. Neat!
Also, I chose St. Vitus because I had just been to Prague and visited the St. Vitus cathedral, which is probably the most stunning architecture I've ever visited in person. St. Vitus was an Italian martyr who was boiled in oil by Roman emperors during a period of Christian persecution (around the year 303).
He is the patron saint of dancers, actors, comedians, snake bites, storms, and oversleeping. Also, of course, I love the Bauhaus song "St. Vitus Dance."
I think a good goth name is one that is creative, original, and well thought out. A bad goth name is tired and clichéd, probably containing some designation of royal status (ex: Duke of Everlasting Darkness, Countess of Cacophonous Casualty).
My goth name, according to the generator, is Satanist Bitch. Yay?
Carol Simmons: As a child I was the only Carol, in a sea of Michelles, Stephanies and Nikkis. What is with coonasses and Nikkis? The only other Carols I met were old. When I moved to Texas I tried giving myself nicknames, because it was a clean slate. None of them really worked and none of them stuck.
Fast-forward a few years and I start getting involved in this here internet. I was an early user by "normal standards" starting out on IRC (#efnet holla!). I read a book with a lot of Celtic words and names and adopted "Cadhla." This presented a problem because Americans are stupid and can't handle the idea of a silent D. Thus Caddy was born. Cadhla can mean "comely" or "fighter" depending on the dialect. So yeah, I'm tough and I'm pretty!
Caddy is now a persona. Carol is who I really am. I love the individuality my name offers. I officially made the change back to Carol around 2006 when I realized my mom would call Carol and I wouldn't respond because I was so unused to hearing it.
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I think part of being goth is a desire to be different, the old non-conformist theory. In reality, your parents probably wanted to name you something cool but decided it was not as important as you not getting your ass beat on the playground.
Toby Rider: Darkrider. I've had that moniker since my sophomore year of high school. I used to wear a big long black riding duster jacket that I bought to replace a black trenchcoat that I wore out. My sophomore English teacher noticed the black duster and the fact that I usually wore all black underneath it, so he started calling me "darkrider" because my last name is Rider. It stuck.