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Tuesday, March 01, 2005

The Germs - Forming

This is perhaps the most well-known of my photographs. The Germs rehearsing in Pat Smear's garage. It ended up as the cover of this seminal punk rock recording. I don't know how to express how astounded I am every single day that I had the great fortune to have been born when and where I was born and to have grown up in Southern California when I did.

Yes, I knew we were in the middle of something historic. I was a super geeky student of art and culture (Comparative Literature major at UCLA) and because I actually paid attention in class, I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that I was living in one of those times that would go down in history as a pivotal moment in popular culture.

The Germs were again, simply people I knew from hanging out. Lorna Doom was Terry Ryan from Newbury Park, California - a nifty enclave of Thousand Oaks. After graduation, Lorna and Belinda Carlisle had been spending long weekends in Los Angeles, and finally bit the bullet and moved there. I knew Belinda from high school extracurricular activities. She and I were members of our respective high school forensic speaking clubs. I was a debate dork and Belinda did dramatic interpretation. Because our names begin with the letter "K," we were often called for attendance and such one after the other. My name is Kereakes - Belinda's is Kurczeski. If you're from a European background such as I am, these ethnic names are not so difficult. However, if you are the average bear, you are going to trip over our names, and in so doing, associate Kereakes and Kurczeski as some kind of pair. And we were paired up for a moment. In 1977-1978, Belinda and Terry/Lorna bolted from their groovy Holloway Drive apartment and ended up as my roommates on Franklin Avenue (which would later be known as the Lobotomy Apartment) while they looked for a new place. Their apartment on Holloway Drive was next door to the site where the actor Sal Mineo recently had been murdered. There had been a break-in or something similar and Lorna and Belinda were spooked because of the circumstances. (I sent Jenny Lens a full version of this story, so click it and see!)

But I've digressed. I've already told you about meeting Darby Crash. But did I tell you about what they were like live? The Germs were raw and unpredictable. You just never knew what Darby was going to do. There was the peanut butter he smeared all over himself a la Iggy. There was screaming and yelling and transcendence. I can't remember specifics because it was always dangerous and transcendent for me to witness The Germs live.

I had no idea just how influential they would become. I'm proud of them. I am so sad that Darby is gone. I have so many memories of honest and emotion baring chats with him at my dorm room at UCLA. Once he came over to watch Iggy's appearance on the Dinah Shore Show. When we gathered around the small television set in the Hedrick Hall 3North lounge, I could see in Darby's eyes that the torch was being passed from Iggy to Darby. I remember my roommate's little sister having the biggest crush on him. I remember a deep and tormented man who spoke volumes through his punk lyrics. I am proud to be associated with The Germs and proud to be able to provide this small token to Darby's legacy.

1 comment:

MrBaliHai said...

I also remember Darby flinging a mixture of vegetable oil and peanut butter at the audience when they played at the Whisky.