Rock Against Racism: Whence “Stannous Flouride” Derived

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.

Brick Lane, 1978

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.


I’m wearing a Rock Against Racism button in this picture. It’s almost impossible to see but it’s the same kind shown in the 3 following images

*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.

Anti – Racist Skins , Hoxton, 1978

Militant Entertainment Tour, West Runton Pavilion, Cromer Norfolk,1979

Militant Entertainment Tour, West Runton Pavilion, Cromer, Norfolk,1979

Carnival 2, Brockwell Park, Brixton, 24 September 1978: “Elvis Costello and the Attractions headlined the event. The rest of the line-up included Aswad, Misty in Roots and Stiff Little Fingers. Sham 69 were billed to play but due to death threats in reaction to their anti-racist stance, pulled out. Jimmy Percy, the lead singer, did appear and made a brave, passionate anti-racist speech to the Carnival crowd. I was on stage between Aswad and Elvis Costello’s sets and was reloading my cameras with film when Jimmy charged past me and grabbed the mike. I quickly sorted out my film and he turned away from the stage, his face stressed with emotion, and I hoped I had got the shot. I don’t see myself as a ‘decisive moment’ moment kind of photographer but this was one of those and I was itching to get into the darkroom to see if I had got it.” – Syd Shelton

Syd Shelton has a great collection of photos here: Rock Against Racism: Photographs Of The Music Revolution |

About Stan Flouride

THIS BLOG IS ALWAYS AD-FREE I make stuff and do things.
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2 Responses to Rock Against Racism: Whence “Stannous Flouride” Derived

  1. Herbert Miller says:

    ROFLOL so you’re a kind of toothpaste


  2. I prefer to think of myself as part of “the most dangerous plot to happen in America in its history, the plan to corrupt its essence, its precious bodily fluids.”


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