Wednesday, May 16, 2007
Lorna Doom of the Germs
Lorna Doom of The Germs hanging out in the Licorice Pizza parking lot. Hanging out is something that Lorna knew well. She was one of the queens of it. I'm not being facetious or anything. Hanging out was an art form in the 70s...the era of "See and BE SEEN." Born Terri Ryan, the lady you know as Lorna Doom was the high school best friend of Belinda Kurczeski whom you know as Belinda Carlisle of the Go Go's. They attended Newbury Park High School in the suburban enclave of Thousand Oaks, CA known as Newbury Park. They used to come down to Los Angeles (a 40-minute drive for them) to hang out in the parking lot of the Rainbow Bar n Grill, which is next door to the Roxy... to see the beautiful people, celebrities and local color and to hang with them after closing time at the Rainbow. This was a bonafide activity that many people did, punk rockers, glam rockers, rock star wannabes, groupies, starlets, and actual celebrities alike. The Rainbow had a pretty decent pizza and fun bar...it was a destination of old school Hollywood.
The Sunset Strip was the intersection of everything - and even though the punk rockers ultimately lived and hung out in Hollywood proper, just off Hollywood Blvd., in the very early days of punk, The Masque wasn't there yet, and just about all the action was at the Whisky a Go Go, and so the Licorice Pizza parking lot had its own scene. If you were friends with her, or the friend of a friend, you would also go hang out with Joan Jett, who lived across the street.
When Lorna and Belinda finally stopped the commute and moved to Los Angeles, they had an apartment on Holloway Drive in West Hollywood, walking distance to the Whisky, Roxy, Rainbow and Licorice Pizza. There was one night that some horrible sounding crime happened next door to them.... and they lived right where Sal Mineo had been murdered the year before....they didn't want to go back, and they never did. Instead, they opted to stay at the Famous Lobotomy Apartment. It was just supposed to be for a couple of nights, but it lasted a couple of months (maybe more?). I'm sure that it probably got on my roommate's nerves. We were both attending UCLA, and unlike me, who considered school my job and did all my homework on campus in the library before coming home, my roommate had an actual job and brought her homework home.
Regardless... Belinda and Lorna were bitten by the bug to be in a band and you could see and feel it happening. I had a Wurlitzer Electronic Piano (yes, that's what it says on the face plate), the kind Ian McLagan used in the Faces and I think that looking at it every day gave Belinda the daily reminder to find the girls who would become the Go Go's with her.
I'm pretty sure that Lorna learned how to play bass on-the-job, as it were. The formation of the Germs was so ridiculously organic. A handful of people who knew each other and formed a band because one of them (Darby Crash) was the driving force behind the activity. It seems like the Gun Club had a similar genesis.
This group of punk rockers who are now seminal and legendary to people born after us all hung out in what appears to outsiders to be a kind of Rat Pack. Truth is, we represented just about the total population of people into punk rock; of course we all knew each other! And like high school, there were cliques. Only this group of punk rockers in Hollywood were other-wise rejects in high school. Except Belinda who was a cheerleader and hugely popular. She and I knew each other from competitve speaking extra curricular activities...so rest assured that Belinda had her nerd side!
Above is a never-before-seen photo from the Germs practice in Pat Smear's garage that yielded the photo you know from the "Forming" single. That's a toy gun that Darby has in Lorna's open mouth.
I always liked this photo below much better than the one used as the cover. Lorna is laughing! Because it was all fun, funny and at that point in time, kind of a joke... if they ever learned the songs.