12. Wicked Lester
Final name: Kiss
Two years before they formed Kiss, Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley played in a rather generic New York rock band bearing the certainly not generic, if totally ridiculous, name Wicked Lester. "There were all these three-part harmonies that sounded like Doobie Brothers," Simmons wrote in his memoir Kiss and Make-Up. "And there wasn't nearly enough guitar." Determined to create a more unique and bombastic band, Simmons and Stanley split from their bandmates and looked in the Rolling Stones classified ads to find new drummer, which is where they found Peter Criss. He mentioned he was once in a band called Lips, inspiring Stanley to propose they start calling themselves Kiss. "Get the fuck out of here," Criss complained. "That's a terrible pansy name." As would happen many times in the future of the group, things did not go the way the drummer wanted, though he learned to live with Kiss. "Good kissing makes for good laying," he wrote in his memoir Makeup to Breakup. "It's sexual, it's cool." And it's infinitely better than Wicked Lester.