In 1978 I joined Rock Against Racism and, as many of us with previous radical backgrounds did in the era of COINTELPRO, I did not put my real name on the membership list.
My girlfriend at the time (my first punk gf) and had a game where we would make up “punk rock” names. I think she put down the name of that skinny Irish girl, “Anne O’Rexia.”
I had recently seen generic Stannous Fluoride toothpaste at Safeway and since we had just watched Dr Strangelove and, playing on Sterling Hayden’s great whole ‘precious bodily fluids’ riff as Col. Jack D Ripper I picked “Stan S. Flouride” while intending to use my real name (Kevin) in person.
But one of the founders was Kevin Sweet and there was a Stan Szaf-something (i.e. ‘Stan S). So I became “Stannous Flouride” (recognizing the second time I wrote it down that I was misspelling fluoride.*)
Not long after I was published in DAMAGE magazine under that name, got into Herb Caen’s column, and pretty quickly many more people knew me as Stan than as Kevin.
*Coincidentally Klaus Flouride of the Dead Kennedys started using that stage name and misspelling it the same way at about that time. Leading us to create the tale that we were identical twins.
Syd Shelton pictures of Rock Against Racism take us back to when the National Front marched with confidence and racism was rife.
Syd Shelton has a great collection of photos here: Rock Against Racism: Photographs Of The Music Revolution |