#Rocktober Guest Post from Jessica Topper

Posted: October 5, 2015 in Guest Poster, Rocktober
Tags: , , ,

Rocktober3

You all know we love Jessica Topper over here. So of course we’re thrilled to host her today to add to our series of how our fictional rockers got their names.

Jess… take it away!

Rocktober – Name That Rocker!
Jessica Topper

I’ve got a dirty little secret to admit. I cannot name all the U.S. Presidents. Nope. Not in order, not in this lifetime. My brain just can’t seem to retain such information. But give me a rock band and I will name not only its entire current lineup, but also past members, nicknames – hell, maybe even their pets’ names. Talk about a trivial pursuit! Heaven help me if I ever end up on Jeopardy. They’d better have a “Rock Star Etymology” category, or I’m in big trouble.

Now that I write rock fiction, you can only imagine the field day I have with creating fake bands and their infamous members. It’s like being able to take that useless fountain of knowledge and create my own spectacular demented light and water show.

I love to play with words and I love double meanings, so it was no surprise my very first rocker character in Louder Than Love ended up with the name of Douglas Graves. Innocent and ordinary enough…until you start to think about it. He wisely chooses to use his middle name, Adrian, and explains his dilemma to Kat, the heroine in the story:

“You can imagine the delight the lads had in taking the piss out of me in school, with a name like Doug Graves.” He continued, smirking. “Go ahead, you can laugh.”

I shook my head and declined in polite protest, but couldn’t help myself when he admitted he had married a girl named Robyn. “Ah yes, Robyn Graves. It’s true, I’m afraid.” He laughed along with me. “Half the reason she probably divorced me, in the end.”

Adrian – also known as Digger – Graves is the illustrious lead guitarist for the defunct doom metal band, Corroded Corpse. (Hell, I know I will never have the talent or the cojones to be in my own metal band, but dammit, I’m going to have fun creating ludicrous names to rival some of the most popular groups to spring from the 80s heavy metal insurgence.)

At the helm of Corroded Corpse is front man Riff Rotten, who we meet briefly in Louder Than Love, but who grows to larger-than-life, rock star proportions in my latest novel, Softer Than Steel. Born Richard Rottenberg into a wealthy, educated Jewish family, he was re-born as Riff as soon as he learned to shred on the guitar – much to his family’s dismay. In Riff’s case, I was able to put my real rock name knowledge to use, in Adrian’s explanation of how the band’s manager came up a new last name for his up-and-coming client:

“It was Wren who suggested Rick shorten his somewhat ‘ethnic’ surname to Rotten. When we moaned that it sounded like a blatant rip-off of the Sex Pistols’ Johnny Rotten, Wren pointed out, ‘Do you really think Chaim Witz would have gotten very far leading KISS?’

In their heyday, Digger Graves and Riff Rotten were like the Lennon/McCartney of the metal world, riding the wave of 80s British Heavy Metal like conquering heroes. But due to gross mismanagement and trademark issues, the band is no longer able to use its name when they finally (spoiler alert!) reunite by the end of Louder Than Love. So they begin to play stealth shows under a new moniker, The Rotten Graves Project. It makes total sense, as where else would you find a corroded corpse? In a rotten grave, of course.

Let the band play on!
Happy Rocktober!

I have to confess that I like Rotten Graves Project better than Corroded Corpse… as Jessica says, it’s awfully similar to that early-90s thrash band, Cannibal Corpse, and man, does that interfere with one’s reading!

Here’s Jessica’s website. As always, pick up her books. Read them. Leave reviews and tell your friends. They’re good things, so don’t miss out!

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Comments
  1. jesstopper says:

    Thanks for hosting me this ROCKtober! And yeah, I think the name Corroded Corpse was born out of a blending of Cannibal Corpse and Corrosion of Conformity, honestly. 🙂

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