Got a press release from a guy in New York who was offering a lot of money for something really unusual. Instantly, I sprang into action. I called a number in Louisiana.
Me: Hi. Are you Fats Domino's manager?
Reggie Hall: Manager and brother-in-law. Fats is married to my sister.
Me: Okay. Well, I have a proposition. There's a very rich man who wants to become a rock star, but his name is not cool. It's a Jewish name, and Jewish names are not cool. So this guy wants a cool rock star name, and he is willing to pay $25,000 to the person who comes up with the best name for him.
Me: It occurred to me that the coolest music name in the world is Fats Domino.
Reggie: It is!
Me: So, my idea is, maybe Fats will sell this guy his name for $25,000.
Me: I heard Fats lost his house to Hurricane Katrina, so I thought maybe he could use the money.
Reggie: Fats not gonna do that. He's not gonna let nobody use his name. Nuh-uh. No, indeed. Not for no $25,000, he's not. Fats is a legend. Lawd, if he did that, be the dumbest thing he ever done in his life.
Me: So I can take that as a no?
Reggie: Yes, you can. But the man can have my name for one thousand.
Me: Your name?
Reggie: He can have Reggie. Reggie Hall.
Reggie: Okay, you got a better idea for a name?
Me: Well, I was thinking "Franklin Delano Hitler."
Reggie: Who came up with that, you?
Reggie: I thought so.
Reggie: Man get killed, name like that! Someone be killing that man for sure.
Me: Here's another one I thought of. Antowayne "Ice" Jackson.
Me: Antowayne "Ice" Jackson.
Me: Just an idea.
Reggie: Let me tell you something. Ain't the name, it's the person. Ray Charles, Elvis Presley, they're cool names. Their names became cool names because of who they are. Johnny Cash is a cool name. You know what I'm sayin'?
Me: Yeah, but I don't think this guy's cool. How did Fats get his name?
Reggie: Fats? Well he was born Antoine Domino. Antoine Domino isn't cool. This guy named Billy Diamond called him Fats, 'cause at that time he was real fat.
Me: Makes sense.
Reggie: Sure does.
Me: I don't think this guy is fat, though.
Reggie: Okay, I got a name for him.
Reggie: The Rockin' Jew.
Me: That's not bad.
Reggie: What's his first name?
Me: Aaron. Aaron Schwarz.
Reggie: So he could be "Aaron, the Rockin' Jew." That's cool.
Me: I don't know.
Reggie: You tell him, he got to be original. To be cool, you got to be original. I wrote a little song some years ago, maybe you heard of it. It was successful because it had an original, cool name. It was called "You Talk Too Much."
Me: You wrote that song?
Me: I love that song.
Reggie: Still gettin' royalties, since the 1960s.
Me: You talk too much / You worry me to death / You talk too much / You even worry my pet.
Reggie: Cool, right?
Me: Very cool. I'm not feeling very cool right now, talking to you. I came up with some other names for this guy, but now I don't know . . .
Reggie: Go ahead.
Me: Johnny B. Somewhat Disagreeable. Sid Grumpy. Sandy Koufax III.
Reggie: I don't think he needs your help, man. I got to say that.
Aaron Schwarz's Web site is www.givemeaname.com