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Wednesday, May 18, 2005

The Germs - Birth of Hardcore?

GERMS, originally uploaded by Theresa K.

The Germs practice in Pat Smear's garage, just for the camera.

Back when this was taken, Darby Crash was just starting to call himself Bobby Pyn, for you see, the Germs had just formed. Later, a photo from this session would become the cover of their 7" single, "Forming."

I met Paul who you know as Darby, camping out for tickets to see David Bowie at the Forum in Los Angeles. I had my parents' credit card on me, and he didn't have quite enough money to buy a ticket and get himself a snack. I offered to front him the difference - a couple dollars - and luckily for us, an additional show went on sale just as we arrived at the ticket window, so we had much better seats than we anticipated. We repeated this experience to see Queen as well.

Lorna Doom laughing here at the festivities of this "band practice," was a girl I knew from high school days. Actually, I knew her as Belinda Kurczeski's friend. Of course, you know Belinda as "Carlisle." They went to neighboring Newbury Park High School, and I saw Belinda at the same extracurricular activities. I was on my school's debate team. Belinda was on the speech team as well, but she did Dramatic Interpretation. Did you know what geeks we were in the 70s? Now you do.

Pat Smear I knew through Pleasant, who may or may not have been his girlfriend, but they were really close friends nonetheless. George, as we knew him at the time, had a sister who worked in the photo portrait department at Sear's and I remember seeing the portraits she did of her brother and Pleasant. Truly ironic art. I wonder if Pat or Pleasant have ever done anything with those.

Can't say that I knew drummer Donna Rhia at all beyond saying "hi" at shows and such.

What I remember of the Germs was chaos and noise. Darby often hung out with me and my other punk rock compadre in the dorms at UCLA. Hedrick Hall boasted its share of past and future luminaries and infamous names. Christopher Knight, the actor who played "Peter Brady" on the Brady Bunch lived on my floor at Hedrick Hall. Shirley Babashoff, the Olympic Gold Medalist in Diving for the USA also lived on my floor. I believe she's won more Olympic Gold than any other woman on a USA team. Jonathan Dayton, whose name means nothing to most civilians, unless you read credits on documentaries - also lived in Hedrick. Dayton has produced and directed nearly all of Janet Jackson's music videos, quite a few for Smashing Pumpkins, including one that won an MTV Video Music Award, REM, including one of their tour documentaries, and most important, at least to me, produced MTV & IRS Records collaboration, The Cutting Edge, a fantastic television show hosted by Fleshtones frontman, Peter Zaremba.

If anyone on my floor - 3 North (our floor mascot was Patty Hearst whose face we proudly wore on t-shirts) remembers Darby hanging around and their current friends and peers think they're lying about him or our other bold face name dorm-mates, just ask me!

There was only one other punk rock fan on the floor. Everyone else was always listening to the Eagles or Lynrd Skynrd. Seriously. She and I went to a ton of concerts together, mostly in clubs. She was a glam fan, and we trekked all over the Western States, together, as well as separately seeing the likes of Bowie and Queen.

Anyway, Paul/Bobby/Darby would hang out with us in the dorms, deface the walls and watch TV with us in the lounge. Together we watched when Iggy made his appearance on the Dinah Shore Show with Bowie in his band.

Obvious to all, Paul/Bobby/Darby was hugely influenced by Iggy. I think the Germs contribution to the legacy of music was that the hardcore scene seemed to be inpsired and influenced by the Germs, and as a result and extension of the Germs, you have a lot of the SST stuff and even eventual hitmakers like Red Hot Chili Peppers, who were just skate punks as I recall.

Darby Crash 1977

One thing I also remember about Paul/Bobby/Darby was his sense of isolation, even amid the in-crowd that accepted him. More than anyone else I'd ever met, this young man felt truly outcast. I think everything he wrote and sang was organic. This man was no poseur. While his life was short, he did find a way to express himself and leave a legacy that is crystal clear.

PS. Saints fans... go HERE - for more info on WHO is in the band and their upcoming long weekend in NYC.

special thanks and hello to Dave Swanson.

1 comment:

lully said...

Great Germs stories here!
Also - this picture is my fave Darby´s pix!