Rock Star Baby Names: The Nameberry 9
Over the past week soccer player Gabriel Zakuani named his son Trendy and actor Dylan Walsh welcomed a daughter called Amelie Belle. Both were newsworthy. Trendy has already grabbed a few headlines, and seems likely to appear on year-end lists of the wackiest baby names of 2011, while the French Amelie has met with applause.
November also marks the nationwide opening of rockumentary The Other F Word, a tale of punk rock parenting told from the perspectives of the dads. All of the fathers started out as young and rebellious. A few of them, including former Pennywise frontman and movie developer Jim Lindberg decline to share their kids’ names, but most do reveal what an anarchist names his baby.
For the most part, the names are stylish but far from outlandish – more Amelie than Trendy. None of them are as outrageous as, say, Frank Zappa’s Moon Unit and Dweezil. Some of the names might feel almost ordinary by today’s standards, but half of these kids are in their teens and twenties, putting them ahead of the curve.
Nine of the most intriguing picks from the flick are:
Darla – NOFX frontman Fat Mike gave his only child this spunky, retro Little Rascals name. Darla was also a villainous vampire on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Today the name feels gently antique – and not so different than popular choices like Clara and Ruby.
Nico – One rocker gave the name to a boy, brother to Mia and Dario. Another has a daughter called Nico Moon Celeste. Nico is catching on for boys, a few hundred spots behind Leo, but comfortably ahead of Arlo. The name was also worn by 1960s German chanteuse Nico, a friend of Andy Warhol, known for her work with The Velvet Underground. Her legacy makes the name an option for girls, too.
Chess and Chessa – Skateboarder turned U.S. Bombs singer Duane Peters named his son Chelsea, but called him Chess. Another dad from the documentary is Joe Sib, father to Chessa. It could be a short form of the lovely Francesca, or maybe it is her creative parents’ invention.
Clash – Duane Peters is also dad to a much younger son named Clash. It must be a nod to British punk band The Clash and their legendary frontman Joe Strummer. The equally musical and rebellious Cash has gone mainstream for boys in recent years, but Clash still feels awfully antagonistic.
Margaret – From the extreme to the impeccably classic, Devo co-founder Mark Mothersbaugh has a daughter called Margaret, and another named Hope. Mothersbaugh also has a segment on Yo Gabba Gabba, proof that not only do rockers grow up, they can sometimes channel their creativity in ways that appeal to all ages. A similar, but slightly edgier sibset is Blythe and Scarlet, daughters of Tim McIlrath of Rise Against.
Kenter – Did Rick Thorne and his wife pick this name from the German automobile? Or from the canyon outside of L.A.? Either way, Kenter could be one of those names that a few future parents hear in the film and embrace. He’s surprising enough to be a punk rock pick, but wouldn’t be out of place on a suburban schoolyard.
Soren – He’s a Scandinavian heritage choice with a philosophical edge. Soren was also a heroic owlet in Kathryn Lasky’s Guardians of Ga’Hoole series, adapted for the big screen in 2010. He ranked #728 in theUS last year.
Annabella – Everclear’s Art Alexakis named his daughter Annabella Rose more than twenty years ago. Today her sound is lacy and ladylike – somewhere between #1 favorite Isabella and Ivanka Trump’s Arabella. But twenty years ago, Annabella would have been rare, and probably felt almost Goth. Alexakis is also dad to a much younger daughter named Arizona.
Sunny – As upbeat and optimistic a name can get, the almost hippy-chic nature name is worn by the younger daughter of the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Flea. Flea and wife Frankie Rayder gave Sunny the jazzy middle name Bebop.
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on November 14th, 2011 at 11:17 am
No real surprises, but lots of loves. I really like Soren. It’s a very cute name. I also love Annabella, which is so close to what I named my daughter. I love Darla and Nico. I think that my favorite would be Chessa if it were actually Jessa. Otherwise, I’m forever in love with Annabella 🙂
Also, as tame as Margaret might be, it’s still not a super common name and so it feels like it fits in better as a rock star child’s name. Kenter is pretty cool to, but I wouldn’t ever consider it. Sunny, on the other hand, is really cute. I love it on a girl, particularly as a nn for Alison.
on November 14th, 2011 at 11:55 am
I am a huge fan of Mothersbaugh, his naming does not disappoint. Another reason to be a fan! 😀
The rest, for the most part don’t surprise or dismay me; except for poor, poor Sunny Bebop… Sheesh, that makes me weep. Big time. Sunny’s fine, I suppose but Bebop? Goodness, I’m making her Sunny Amelia in my head. She needs something grown up feeling somewhere in there!
on November 14th, 2011 at 1:12 pm
this doc looks super cute. flea made me a little misty in the preview! a lot of cute names- as for chessa. i know that chessa/chezza is short for chezzarina/chessarina (really don’t know how to spell it, i’ve only heard it spoken!) which is a somewhat common italian name.
on November 14th, 2011 at 2:07 pm
Yes, I am slightly surprised at the names. Margaret, Hope, Annabella, Georgia, Jack and Violet – all wonderful, classic names!. Darla, Nico, Chelsea (which I’ll come back to in a minute, but is included in this second set because of it’s unusual use as a masculine name), Chessa, Blythe, Scarlet, Soren, Arizona and Sunny – also wonderful names, but slightly more exotic or uncommon or dated.
Clash and Kenter were really the only two names that meshed with my expectation. And while the first doesn’t do anything for me, I find that the second might actually grow on me. I expected to see examples like Darwin… on a girl (example from my son’s preschool class a few years back). Overall, a very happy group of names 😀
– And now back to Chelsea as a masculine name –
From my own personal standpoint, it seems odd that Chelsea wasn’t ever a masculine name. Chelsea feels much like Courtney, Meredith, Jocelyn or Shannon – all names that were once exclusively masculine. How this name started out feminine when so many others didn’t confuses me some. In doing a little research on the name Chelsea, I did find a jazz musician named Chelsea Quealey (born May 6, 1905)… so maybe there have always been a sprinkling of masculine Chelseas about…
on November 14th, 2011 at 10:55 pm
I grew up with a Chessa. As far as I know, it wasn’t short for anything.
on November 15th, 2011 at 6:32 am
@klcalder2 – Nice point about Margaret. And I do love Margaret. Why don’t we hear that name more?
@Taz – I think it would be Cesarina. Not sure how common she is, but she’s definitely in use over the centuries, so that might be it.
And I agree that Chelsea fits that group, Nyx!
LOL, Lola, at Sunny Amelia – I know what you mean. 🙂
on November 17th, 2011 at 12:53 am
Abby, as a male Chelsea I appreciate you finding an example of another male Chelsea. As it is an unusual name for a guy though I am always curious to know if there is a story behind the name. As for Chess as a nickname, I like it, and someone has suggested it to me once as a possible nickname although I never grew up with that. I like Chessa even more as a name for a girl though.
More of Your Questions on Unisex Names Answered « Waltzing More Than Matilda Said
on June 24th, 2012 at 3:56 am
[…] There’s really nothing especially feminine about the place name Chelsea, which means “chalk wharf” and is the name of a football club, so by meaning and association this name seems unisex, and it has been occasionally given as a male name. In fact, the blogger at The Name Agender is a man named Chelsea, and he has written an article about growing up as a boy named Chelsea, as well as an interesting article on several men and boys named Chelsea, including a celebrity baby from last year. […]
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